Manchester City 4-0 Bournemouth: Pep Guardiola continues 100 per cent start to the season as Premier League leaders cruise to victory

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We have been here before. Manchester City won the first five games of last season under Manuel Pellegrini. Late summer sunshine and early-season optimism suits this club.

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But this feels different to before and not just because this was the eighth successive victory under Pep Guardiola. There is an authority and structure to City which has been lacking in the past.

And though there has been some sumptuous football played in the Pellegrini and Roberto Mancini eras, there are is a growing sense that they could produce something truly sublime this season if they continue to evolve into the side Guardiola wants them to be.

PLAYER RATINGS, PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE

Manchester City: Bravo, Sagna, Otamendi (Stones 52), Kolarov, Clichy, Fernandinho, Gundogan (Sane 72), Sterling, De Bruyne (Garcia 75), Nolito, Iheanacho

Subs not used: Kompany, Zabaleta, Caballero, Jesus Navas, Sane

Booked: Otamendi

Bournemouth: Boruc, Adam Smith, Francis, Steve Cook, Daniels, Ibe (Wilson 45), Wilshere (Gosling 68), Surman, Arter, Stanislas (Gradel 74), King

Subs not used: Ake, Afobe, Brad Smith, Federici

Referee: Jon Moss

Against Bournemouth, they were simply utterly dominant. Of course, you can point to the difference in the financial muscle between the teams if you wish, but the fact that they did the same against Manchester United, for a half at least, suggests something more substantial is growing at City. And, don’t forget, all this was without David Silva and Sergio Aguero.

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They weren’t missed simply because Kevin De Bruyne is the outstanding player of the moment. Of course he was ably assisted by Raheem Sterling, who was also excellent, Kelechi Iheanacho and Ilkay Gundogan, making a Premier League debut.

But it was the Belgian who bestrode this match, dictating when and where the ball should be played. At times it almost seemed as if he could control precisely when City would score. When he was substituted on 76 minutes, the match long since won, the Etihad rose as one. He had been outstanding.

Bournemouth, with Jack Wilshere in midfield, were simply no match for him. It was an unhappy first start for Wilshere. After some initial energetic forays, he gave ball away and then, in his efforts to retrieve it, gave away the free kick which led to the opening goal.

Thereafter, Wilshere could only chase around like his team-mates with precious little time to spend on the ball, until he was substituted on 68 minutes with the score at 4-0. And he surely must have occasionally reflected ruefully that this is what it feels like for Arsenal’s opponents much of the time.

Except that Manchester City under Guardiola are a much slicker, more incisive and tactically robust passing machine than Arsenal. It was a little too overwhelmingly one-sided at times. The moment Bournemouth gave the ball away from the opening kick-off and De Bruyne powered through the midfield to force a smart save from Artur Boruc, it felt ominous for the Cherries.

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They could have done without conceding the first goal quite so simply from a free kick on 15 minutes. The defensive wall lined up well enough, jumped a foot in the air and De Bruyne drove the ball along the ground, under the wall and into the net. Heads dropped, if not literally then metaphorically.

Two minutes later Nolito should have made it two, Boruc saving well after the Spaniard was played in by De Bruyne. The goalkeeper was on hand again on 23 minutes with a vital second touch to push the ball away from Nolito, Sterling having opened up Bournemouth on this occasion, and it was a truly miserable afternoon for left back Charlie Daniels.

On 25 minutes, City added the second directly from one of Bournemouth’s rare forays into their half, demonstrating that it can be impossible to play against a Guardiola team: sit back and they pass round you, go forward and they simply play through the spaces you leave.

De Bruyne and Iheanacho combined to move the ball 100 yards in a couple of seconds and release Sterling on the right. Instead of shooting, as he might have done, he opted for the Barcelona model of passing the ball into the net, feeding Iheanacho, who obliged from three yards out

Even when Bournemouth attempted to settle and play their way out, their way was blocked. Otamendi was happy to press the ball more than 30 yards inside the Bournemouth half, meaning any meaningful move was strangled at birth.

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There was an Aleksandr Kolaraov shot from 45 yards and another Boruc save from Sterling on 41 minutes which might have extended the lead, but the second half was only three minutes old when, once again, Iheancaho, De Bruyne and Sterling combined to create a sweeping move through the wide spaces afforded them by Bournemouth and score.

De Bruyne fed Iheanacho who rolled the ball in front of Sterling and his shot, tough soft, trickled over the line before it could be cleared.

Wilshere it was who gave away the free kick which led to the fourth goal on 67 minutes, De Bruyne picking the ball up, exchanging passes with Clichy and producing the most exquisite ball through the Bournemouth defence to set up Gundogan to score.

There was time left for Callum Wilson to hit the bar in spirited but fruitless Bournemouth attack and for Nolito to get himself sent off with a headbutt aimed at Adam Smith.

It was rash, not because the game was in jeopardy, but because being suspended from this team could be fatal. It may be some time before he gets back in the team again.

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