A brace from Sergio Aguero and a fine first half strike by the on-fire Raheem Sterling fired Manchester City past Bournemouth, Sunday, at the Vitality Stadium.
Manchester City defeated the Cherries 3-1 to record yet another fine away win, and claiming their ninth win out of nine against their favourite league opponent on David Silva’s milestone day.
On a day David Silva made his 400th appearance for the Citizens, the Spaniard was sensational having a hand in a couple of the goals as Pep Guardiola’s men continue their perfect record against Bournemouth.
It didn’t look like it was going to be a lovely day for the hosts judging by the visitors form on this ground.
Yet optimistic, Eddie Howe made just one change to the Bournemouth team that beat Aston Villa 2-1 last weekend.
Harry Wilson, who scored on his debut in that win, had to settle for a place on the bench as Chris Mepham replaced him in the starting XI.
Pep Guardiola also switched out just one player – midfielder David Silva got the nod to start for his 400th club appearance, replacing summer signing Rodri.
The home side started brightly pressing well and forcing City players, in one instance even the impeccable Kevin De Bruyne, to make mistakes but it was City that created the first big chance. David Silva, at the heart of it, flicking the through to Raheem Sterling on the left side of the box. Sterling’s cut-back was then fired inches wide of the right post by Bernardo Silva.
City were still prone to the odd errors though, their Portuguese goalkeeper the next culprit.
Callum Wilson got away down the left, having beaten the full-back. Ederson, who had sprinted all the way out to the touchline, had to get there first but he didn’t. Instead he ended up taking out Wilson, giving a free-kick away and earning himself a silly yellow card.
But City’s quality was always going to tell at some point and soon, the Citizens were in front with a quarter of an hour gone.
Oleksandr Zinchenko’s low cross into the box from the left was initially miscued by the unmarked Kevin de Bruyne. The ball fell kindly for Sergio Aguero, who was again unmarked, leaving him all the time to control it before poking it past Aaron Ramsdale. Terrible defending from the home side.
That Kevin de Bruyne’s miscued shot which turned out to be an assist, was his 50th Premier League assist in his 123rd appearance in the competition, breaking the record for the quickest player to reach 50 PL assists, set by Mesut Ozil in his 141st match.
From that point it became a back to the wall job for Eddie Howe’s men who should have shipped another goal soon after.
City had plenty of opportunities to put the ball in the box before another Oleksandr Zinchenko cross fell for David Silva. He took a swing at it on the half volley but Aaron Ramsdale did enough to palm it away to his right.
After losing a key man to injury in Charlie Daniels midway through the half, Bournemouth’s luck appeared to have deserted them.
Nicolas Otamendi failed to properly deal with a cross from the right, allowing the ball to run loose. It rested on a plate for Adam Smith from a few yards out but he only managed to blast it over the bar after it took a slight deflection off Ederson’s head. It should have been the equalizer.
Moments later the home side fell further behind.
Once again, David Silva was instrumental. The Spaniard flicked a lovely ball into the path of the in-form Raheem Sterling and the England international did the rest – lifting it beyond Aaron Ramsdale. That strike made it five games in a row in all competitions that he had found the net.
A few minutes before half time, Bournemouth responded.
Harry Wilson, the Liverpool loanee who had been introduced for the injured Daniels, produced the goods and it was a true beauty. From a free kick yards out, he whipped the ball around the wall and curled it beautifully into the top right corner. Ederson had absolutely no chance as the ball rippled the back and the side of the netting.
That was the last meaningful piece if action before the referee brought a close to a really entertaining half of football.
At the start of the second 45, City were back on the front foot but it was Bournemouth that should have scored again.
Harry Wilson, who had almost singlehandedly turned the game on its head, slipped a pass through to Callum Wilson in the box but Ederson made himself big to pull off a crucial save.
City immediately went up the other end and it came to Kevin de Bruyne on the edge. He attempted to curl it into the bottom right corner but the shot missed by inches.
Only 5 minutes in and the game already had an end-to-end feel to it.
City then had a penalty shout checked and cancelled by VAR after David Silva danced his way into the box and went down under contact from Jefferson Lerma.
But the visitors couldn’t be denied their third goal when it arrived.
Again it was that milestone man, David Silva who jinked his way into the box, tip-toeing past a few challenges before the ball popped up for Sergio Aguero.
The Argentine striker was on hand to poke it into the back of the net for his fourth goal of the season.
With his two assists, Manchester City captain David Silva now has 85 assists in the Premier League, surpassing James Milner (83) in seventh place in the Premier League era.
Since Silva’s first season at Manchester City in 2010-11, no other player has more than 60 assists.
Howe had to change something and soon he threw in the duo of Dominic Solanke and Jordon Ibe to replace Callum Wilson and Adam Smith.
But it all counted for nothing as City ran out comfortable winners to rise to second on the Premier League table, two points behind Liverpool.