|Pep Guardiola kicked off his Manchester City reign with a friendly defeat.|
Telephost - Manchester City 4 Bournemouth 0: Kevin De Bruyne, Kelechi Iheanacho, Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan each scored to secure an eighth successive win for the Catalan's charge.
They kill quickly do Manchester City. This was their fifth straight win in the Premier League under Pep Guardiola and the longest any team has held out before conceding was Stoke’s 27 minutes at the Britannia Stadium.
Here, Bournemouth might have gone behind after nine seconds, they did so after a quarter of an hour and by the end they would have been grateful to have only lost by four. The only stain on the game was Manuel Nolito’s dismissal for needlessly grinding his forehead into Adam Smith’s face when the result was long since decided. The Bournemouth defender retaliated with a shove for which he was shown a yellow card. Nolito’s was red.
This is not by a long way Guardiola’s best start – last season he won his first 10 matches at Bayern Munich. However, for those who are looking to block what already seems a relentless advance, it is extremely ominous.
If Manchester City were to stumble, they appeared likely to do so early on before Guardiola’s squad became used to the intricacies of his tactics. In all competitions, they have won eight straight games and scored 25 times. As a fan of Manchester United, Usain Bolt would not appreciate the comparison, but even he could not have come out of the blocks any more swiftly.
In terms of ego, Kevin de Bruyne, is Bolt’s polar opposite. There is a modesty about him that seems to belong to another age but he and Raheem Sterling, men who returned to Manchester after the a European Championship that was by turns disappointing and disastrous, have responded fabulously to the new regime.
The last time Bournemouth came to the Etihad, they were four down before 45 minutes were up and Sterling had scored three. This time only the alertness and reflexes of Artur Boruc in goal kept it to one.
De Bruyne, facing a defence in full retreat a bare three minutes after the restart, appeared to have delayed his pass a fraction too long but it fell perfectly for Kalechi Iheanacho, who pulled the ball back for Sterling. The second goal had involved precisely these three men and it had finished with the young Nigerian finishing off Sterling’s pass. This time the favour was returned.
Not long afterwards, Sterling might have scored one of the great goals, wriggling past four defenders from one side of the 18-yard box to the other. Only the finish fell short of what had gone before.
De Bruyne was in his way even better. It was his shot that Boruc was forced to save before 10 seconds were up. After Jack Wilshere, making his first league start for Bournemouth, had conceded a foul on the edge of the area, De Bruyne drilled it through the wall to open the scoring. Fifteen minutes had elapsed and for the Bournemouth manager, Eddie Howe, the remaining 75 would have stretched out into the far distance, a desert to be crossed.
For the fourth, De Bruyne delivered another geometrically accurate pass to Ilkay Gundogan, who on his debut strolled towards the ball like a fun runner in the park. His finish was a long way from the standards of the average park.
For Wilshere, this was not an occasion to remember. He lasted longer than Jordon Ibe, who was removed during the interval, but not much longer. However, for those who argued he should have chosen Roma over Dorset, it is hard to imagine he would have endured a sterner test of his ability than this anywhere in Serie A.
Bournemouth continued to attack gamely long after the result was obvious with Callum Wilson striking the crossbar when they were four down. Much earlier, Junior Stanislas had dispossessed Nicolas Otamendi with Claudio Bravo out of position. The opportunity appeared to gape for Joshua King until Fernandinho, captaining the side, swept the ball from the striker’s feet. Everywhere, in defence, in attack, Manchester City were utterly unforgiving.
Manchester City (4-1-4-1): Bravo; Sagna, Otamendi (Stones 52), Kolarov, Clichy; Fernandinho; Sterling, De Bruyne (Garcia 75), Gundogan (Sane 72), Nolito; Iheanacho.
Substitutes not used: Caballero, Kompany, Zabaleta, Navas.
Bournemouth (4-5-1): Boruc; A.Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels; Ibe (Wilson ht), Wilshere (Gosling 68), Arter, Surman, Stanislas (Gradel 74); King.
Subsitutes not used: Federici (g), Ake, Afobe, Gradel, B.Smith.