Manchester City are off to a solid start in their bid to win three consecutive Premier League titles. City defeated West Ham comfortably on the road last time out, and today had an even easier time in the home opener against visiting AFC Bournemouth.
Newly promoted Bournemouth were coming off an opening weekend win home to Aston Villa. The Cherries found the away trip to the Etihad to be a much harder riddle to solve. City were on the visitors from the opening kick. The traffic was one way, and Pep Guardiola’s men might have felt unlucky to be scoreless after 15 minutes. But the goals were coming and City were coming to get them.
The best opportunity of the first quarter hour saw Phil Foden break into the penalty area with 2-v-1 with against Mark Travers with Erling Haaland closing on an open net just to his right. Foden chose to shoot instead of dropping the ball to Haaland for the tap-in. A bad decision with Travers pushing the ball over the end line, and Haaland was visibly frustrated.
The frustration wouldn’t last long however. In the 19th minute, Haaland and Ilkay Gundogan worked a beautiful give-and-go to open the scoring. Gundo pushed the ball to Erling who turned and pushed a lovely ball into Ilkay’s path. A lovely strike from the German international settled in the corner for his 50th goal in a City shirt. City 1-0 Bournemouth.
MCFC continued to dominate the possession and keep the pressure on the Cherries. Pep’s lad's were hunting a second straight away, and they would find it with a marvelous bit of individual brilliance from Kevin De Bruyne. KDB’s inspired 31st minute strike from the right side of the penalty box beat four Bournemouth defenders before gliding past the outstretched glove of Travers and finding the twine.
The 38th minute saw Foden get a bit of redemption. Phil let loose a nice little chip that glanced off Travers and in to settle the affair before the halftime tea talk.
Bournemouth did have the odd chance in the first stanza, but were unable to assert themselves against a far superior Manchester City. City, as is their custom of course, saw the lion’s share of the ball. AT points in the game they were on the attack some 70+% of the time.
The second half saw much of the same, but with the game well in hand City were content to hold the ball in the Cherries end and kill the rest of the clock. The probing did continue however, and Joao Cancelo created a 4th goal in the 79th. Cancelo kept a ball over the top from going over the line, turned around to his left and played a short cross into the 6 yard box. Joao’s ball to the middle glanced of Bournemouth defender Jefferson Lerma’s heal nad into the net for an own goal.
Second half subs included Bernardo Silva, Julian Alvarez who came on for Haaland to make his first Etihad appearance, and 17 year old Rico Lewis. Lewis’ Premier league debut is a momentous occasion for the youngster, and it will be fun to watch his development going forward.
All-in-all it was a leisurely afternoon at home for the Champions. Many bright spots to be sure, and some moments to clean up as well. City have all six available points thus far and boast a +6 differential. Major props to our fearless leader Manc Pete who nailed the final score. Let's do it again next week shall we?