Manchester City 6-1 Bournemouth. Jeremy Doku scored one goal and was instrumental in four more as Manchester City made light of Erling Haaland’s injury to record their biggest win of the season against struggling Bournemouth and go top of the Premier League.
Bernardo Silva twice profited from inspired passes from the Belgium international, who is vying with Jack Grealish for City’s left-sided attacking berth. Phil Foden was also on target before Nathan Ake’s 88th-minute diving header.
Doku, a £55.4m summer signing from Rennes, was too much for Andoni Iraola’s side, scoring the first of three goals in seven minutes after Bournemouth had kept their opponents at bay for half an hour.
He jinked his way to the byeline to create space for the cut-back that allowed Bernardo to covert his second goal of the season, before providing the inspired through ball that offered the brilliant Portuguese the opportunity to chip Andrei Radu.
Doku’s shot deflected in off Manuel Akanji for the third and he also provided the superb through ball for Foden to score City’s fourth 19 minutes into the second half.
Foden had been introduced at the break for Haaland, who seemed to be struggling with a leg muscle problem as the opening period drew to a close.
Luis Sinisterra pulled one back for Bournemouth, who will drop into the relegation places if Luton avoid defeat against Liverpool on Sunday.
One of the major reasons why Haaland has been able to score so many goals for City is that he has hardly missed a game.
At Dortmund, Haaland had three absences of about a month. Since he came to the Premier League the most he has sat out is a couple of matches.
But it was obvious something was wrong when he failed to make a move towards a low Julian Alvarez cross just before the break.
His reaction was the flex his leg a couple of times and he was moving unusually slowly as he spoke to Alvarez on their way to the tunnel.
Evidently, if there is one side who could weather the loss of someone who has scored 65 times in 68 games, it is reigning champions City.
In beating Bournemouth, they extended their record of winning every home game they have played in all competitions during 2023 to 22. They are now on a run of 14 successive victories against Bournemouth. Their 13 straight league wins against the Cherries is a Premier League record.
Nevertheless, with a trip to Chelsea next weekend and matches against Liverpool, Tottenham and Aston Villa immediately after this month’s international break, Guardiola would prefer the issue to be a short-term one.
Against more limited opponents though, Haaland’s problem was not a factor as Doku took the starring role.
While the Belgian’s goal – a strike from inside the box after a one-two with Rodri – was excellent, arguably his assists were even better.
Foden was quick to pay tribute to the 21-year-old for the way he spotted him in space inside the Bournemouth box and delivered a pass perfectly through a crowd of bodies.
Doku had already tricked his way to the byeline to set Bernardo up once. The sweeping pass that sent the same man running away to brilliantly finish off City’s fifth was sublime.
Bournemouth suffered another significant blow in addition to the damage to their goal difference on a day when even limited pre-match expectations proved beyond them.
Young midfielder Alex Scott only made his debut a fortnight ago after arriving from Bristol City in the summer with an injury.
The 20-year-old, nicknamed the Guernsey Grealish after an impressive performance for his old club in this same stadium last season, appeared to be running off a dead leg when he was confronted by Rodri in the City box.
The block tackle that resulted left Scott on the floor and in obvious pain. There was no chance of him continuing and as the £25m man was helped to the dressing room, Iraola had a consoling word, presumably hoping privately the damage is not as severe as it looked.
Source – BBC