Silky Man City stroll to club-record win as De Bruyne stars
MANCHESTER: Pep Guardiola is already making history at Manchester City.
By beating Bournemouth 4-0 in the English Premier League on Saturday, City opened a season with eight straight wins for the first time in the club's 136-year existence. Five of those have come in the league and the other three in the Champions League.
City is averaging more than three goals a game under Guardiola, who has turned the team into an irresistible attacking unit.
And surely title favorites.
It was a stroll against Bournemouth at Etihad Stadium, with Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho scoring in the first half before Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan added goals in the second. There were audible gasps from City fans relishing the silky passing and buildup play of what's shaping to be the most entertaining team in the club's history.
There's also intelligence behind the excellence. Iheanacho said City noticed in its research for the game that Bournemouth's players jump in the wall at free kicks on the edge of the area. So when De Bruyne got his first chance, he rolled his effort underneath the line of jumping visiting players and into the net.
That got City rolling in the 15th minute — and De Bruyne played a part in the other three goals, too. The Belgium midfielder split Bournemouth's defense with through-balls in the buildup to the goals of Iheanacho and Sterling, before saving his best pass until last.
The timing and weight of his angled pass to the onrushing Gundogan was perfect, and the Germany midfielder marked his Premier League debut by slotting his finish into the corner.
Guardiola said De Bruyne was one of the best players he has managed, adding: "(Lionel) Messi is on a table on his own. Kevin is there with the rest."
City was one of three teams to score four goals as Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion also enjoyed big wins on a high-scoring day in the league.
Here's a look at the other games:
Hull 1, Arsenal 4
It's been a good week for Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.
The Chile international scored a goal in each half to inspire Arsenal's third straight league win, four days after grabbing a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
Having a penalty saved blotted Sanchez's performance against Hull — and manager Arsene Wenger was left wondering why Sanchez took the kick ahead of the usual penalty-taker Santi Cazorla. Arsenal has had four penalties this season, scoring two and missing two.
Theo Walcott and Granit Xhaka scored Arsenal's other goals, with Robert Snodgrass replying for Hull with a penalty that made it 2-1 in the 79th. Hull played more than half the game with 10 men after Jake Livermore was sent off for two bookings, the second for a handball in the area that earned Arsenal a penalty.
Leicester 3, Burnley 0
It was some Premier League debut for Islam Slimani.
The Algeria striker scored twice as Leicester eased past Burnley with a second straight 3-0 win, having beaten Club Brugge by that score in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Slimani is Leicester's record signing after joining from Sporting Lisbon in August for $33.5 million, and looks to have established himself as the first-choice partner for Jamie Vardy.
Ben Mee's own goal rounded off a second league win of the season for the champions.
West Bromwich Albion 4, West Ham 2
West Ham manager Slaven Bilic said he felt "embarrassed" during this third straight loss — and second straight 4-2 defeat — for his team.
West Brom was 3-0 ahead at halftime after goals by Nacer Chadli, Salomon Rondon and James McClean. Chadli added another before Michail Antonio, with his fifth of the season, and Manuel Lanzini pulled goals back for West Ham.
West Ham has lost four of its five games.