City thrash Cherries to extend perfect record

Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho celebrating after scoring their second goal in the 4-0 Premier League win over Bournemouth yesterday. City sit on top of the table with five wins out of five.
Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho celebrating after scoring their second goal in the 4-0 Premier League win over Bournemouth yesterday. City sit on top of the table with five wins out of five.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Manchester City 4 Bournemouth 0

LONDON • Pep Guardiola has pointed to Manchester City's hard work in winning the ball back as the key to claiming victory over all seven of their opening matches.

Add to that a brilliant ability to counter-attack once they have the ball.

Yesterday, some of the football played by City was scintillating at the Etihad Stadium. The movement, accuracy and crispness of their passing left Bournemouth stunned.

Guardiola's side made it eight wins on the bounce with a 4-0 trouncing of the Cherries and you could see why they are such a potent force to win the Premier League title.

Their second goal exemplified their special abilities.

A headed clearance from the back on 24 minutes quickly turned into a City attack which ended with Kevin de Bruyne sliding a pass through to Raheem Sterling, who squared for Kelechi Iheanacho to sidefoot the ball in. Simply smooth.

Their opener on 15 minutes was another special. They earned a free kick just outside the area and de Bruyne stepped up to take it.

The Belgian weighed up his options before sending an effort under the wall and past goalkeeper Artur Boruc, who stood rooted.

Another counter-attack got City their third goal. De Bruyne was again at the heart of it as he ran at the Bournemouth defence before passing to Iheanacho, who crossed for Sterling to tap in from close range.

De Bruyne had a hand in the fourth goal too, finding Ilkay Gundogan on 66 minutes with a through ball. The German midfielder calmly slotted home for his first City goal.

Eight wins on a trot represents the best start to a season in City's history, surpassing the seven consecutive victories from the 1897-98 campaign, when Darwen, Loughborough and Gainsborough were among their opponents.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 18, 2016, with the headline 'City thrash Cherries to extend perfect record'. Print Edition | Subscribe