Normally someone with Kevin De Bruyne’s pale skin struggles in the heat, but the Belgian provided another example of why he is one of the world’s elite against Bournemouth. Last season was his most productive Premier League campaign with 15 goals and eight assists, but he is looking forward to the challenge of improving. He was at the heart of City’s dominant performance, scoring and creating a goal in a dynamic display.
Ilkay Gündogan, De Bruyne and Phil Foden ensured that the second half was a procession for City, and this display will put to rest any doubts that Pep Guardiola’s side are the ones to win this season. They spent 90 minutes controlling possession, picking their moments to end Bournemouth’s futile resistance.
From start to finish, City were the dominant force, patiently waiting for the right moment to create chances against a team with 10 men behind the ball. After the opening matchday win against Villa, promoted Bournemouth got to know the rigors of the Premier League. After six minutes, City had taken four dangerous corners and Jack Stacey was booked for a lunge on Riyad Mahrez. Bournemouth had arrived aiming to soak up as much pressure as possible on a scorching day in east Manchester, not that Scott Parker’s cardigan was any indication of the seasonal heat.
Although their coach was not feeling the heat, Bournemouth’s defense was. Foden should have squared Erling Haaland for a tap-in after inadvertently controlling a De Bruyne shot, but he headed in from close range only to see the ball bounce past goalkeeper Mark Travers.
The city was in full control. Bournemouth struggled to break out of their own half in the opening 15 minutes, instead setting up the field on the edge of the box. They were inevitably broken in the 19th minute when Haaland showed his quality by cushioning a back-to-goal pass while under pressure from two players marking him, before turning and sending the ball to Gündogan who fired home he drives Travers into the zone. corner.
When City enjoy so much possession, De Bruyne is always likely to influence proceedings. He took the ball on the half hour 30 meters from the goal. Bournemouth gave him space to run, allowing the Belgian to reach the edge of the box unchallenged. He stopped, took aim with the outside of his right boot and picked out the bottom corner with precision. “When I was in Munich, he was in Wolfsburg and I think he was the best player in the Bundesliga,” Guardiola said. “Kevin was a very good player before our arrival, he is good with us and will be after us. There was no space with that type of shot and it was an incredible goal.”
De Bruyne then cut through the bewildered defense for Foden to score City’s third goal. His run was untracked and he calmly slid his shot into the corner despite the keeper’s efforts. “It was an incredible performance, Phil’s assist was from him,” Guardiola said. “Against Bournemouth it’s difficult to do because they defend the box and hold their line very well.”
Haaland and his City teammates are quickly learning from each other. As his goals at West Ham showed, they know the runs he will make and it was the same against Bournemouth. They made early crosses for him to attack and made passes that split the defense for him to latch onto. He had just eight touches in the game, but still created a goal and earned a standing ovation when he was substituted.
The second half was less intense. City used it as perfect preparation for their upcoming friendly against Barcelona, slowing down the tempo, making numerous substitutions and taking shots on goal from distance to keep the crowd interested in the sun.
Jefferson Lerma turned a cross from João Cancelo into his own goal to further widen the gap between the two sides. This defeat will not define Bournemouth’s season, but it will be a vital learning curve. “We played against a world-class team that can execute at any time,” said their coach, Scott Parker. “The quality shone. I was satisfied [my] the team in terms of the way he stayed in it, good effort, good personality, still brave and brave.”
Guardiola gave 17-year-old Rico Lewis a late debut. It was born more than five-and-a-half years after the Cherries last picked up a point against the hosts. City have won the last 12 games between these two sides and it could be a long time before Bournemouth end that record.
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