LONDON (AFP) - Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Kelechi Iheanacho shone as Manchester City crushed Bournemouth 4-0 on Saturday (Sept 17) to preserve their lead at the Premier League summit.
League debutant Ilkay Gundogan also found the net for Pep Guardiola’s City, who have made their best ever start to a season with eight consecutive wins in all competitions.
Everton climbed to second by beating Middlesbrough, while Islam Slimani scored twice on his first league start as champions Leicester City downed Burnley 3-0 and Arsenal won 4-1 at Hull City.
“Our high pressing was not perfect today. We had problems with controlling the Bournemouth build-up, but we created a lot of counter-attacks,” said City manager Guardiola, who lost Nolito to a late red card.
“We are so lucky that we have Kevin De Bruyne with us. It was a fantastic performance.”
Guardiola made four changes to the team that had outclassed Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Champions League on Wednesday, with Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy, Iheanacho and Nolito coming in.
Jack Wilshere, on loan from Arsenal, made his first Bournemouth start, but it was to prove an afternoon to forget for the England international.
He gave away the free-kick that led to City’s 15th-minute opener, De Bruyne cleverly stroking the set-piece beneath the jumping wall and into the bottom corner.
The Belgian was involved in the hosts’ second goal 10 minutes later, moving Nolito’s pass on to Sterling, who unselfishly teed up Iheanacho – deputising for the suspended Sergio Aguero – to score.
Sterling added a third early in the second half, squeezing a shot over the line after Iheanacho had returned the favour, before De Bruyne set up Gundogan for City’s fourth.
The only disappointment for Guardiola was the late dismissal of Spanish forward Nolito for leaning his head into Adam Smith’s face.
Everton remain two points back in second place after Ronald Koeman’s side came from behind to beat Middlesbrough 3-1 at Goodison Park.
Boro took a 21st-minute lead when Everton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg palmed George Friend’s cross into his own net as he was challenged by Alvaro Negredo.
But Gareth Barry marked his 600th Premier League appearance with an equaliser while Seamus Coleman and Romelu Lukaku completed the comeback before half-time.
Arsenal stand three points below Everton in third place after Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez scored twice and squandered a penalty in their success at Hull.
Sanchez claimed Arsenal’s first goal when Alex Iwobi’s shot flicked off him and into the net, only to then see his spot-kick saved by Eldin Jakupovic after Jake Livermore had been sent off for handball.
After Theo Walcott had chipped in to make it 2-0, Robert Snodgrass reduced the arrears with a 79th-minute penalty following a foul on Hull debutant Dieumerci Mbokani by visiting goalkeeper Petr Cech.
But Sanchez made the game safe four minutes later by lashing home after Jakupovic had saved from Walcott and substitute Granit Xhaka added a stunning late goal from long range.
“I feel overall it was a positive performance after playing away in the Champions League and away again today,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, whose side drew 1-1 at Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.
“We started well, dominated and were fluent.” Arsenal are level on points with Chelsea and Liverpool, who met at Stamford Bridge on Friday, the Merseyside club winning 2-1.
Leicester climbed to ninth place after Slimani put paid to Burnley at the King Power Stadium.
The Algeria striker was making his league debut after his 28 million pounds ($36.4 million, 32.6 million euros) transfer from Sporting Lisbon.
He scored a pair of headers either side of half-time, nodding in a Christian Fuchs free-kick in first-half injury time and then heading home from strike partner Jamie Vardy’s flick.
Ben Mee’s own goal from Riyad Mahrez’s cross completed the scoring in the 78th minute.
“It’s important Slimani continues to score because if he only scores in the first match, we have a problem,” said Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri.
In the day’s remaining match, West Bromwich Albion withstood a late West Ham United fightback to record an entertaining 4-2 win at The Hawthorns.
New signing Nacer Chadli scored twice and helped create goals for Salomon Rondon and James McClean as the hosts raced into a 4-0 lead by the 56th minute.
West Ham replied through Michail Antonio’s header – his fifth goal in four games – and a Manuel Lanzini penalty, but West Brom saw out the rest of the game in relative serenity.