Manchester City extended their record-breaking winning run to 17 games with a comfortable win over Bournemouth.
After Raheem Sterling’s goal and assist against Bournemouth, Craig Burley dissects how he continues to improve with Man City.
English Premier League: Raheem Sterling (53′) Man City 2-0 Bournemouth
Another week goes by and Manchester City have another win, breaking more records in the process. With half a season played, Pep Guardiola’s side have dropped just two points — Bournemouth did their best to stem the tide, but they just couldn’t slow down the league leaders’ momentum. It wasn’t a classic performance from the home side, but they were able to set the record for the most Premier League goals in a calendar year and Sergio Aguero took his tally past 100 at the Etihad Stadium.
What more is there to say that hasn’t already been said? City barely got out of second gear and yet still ran the show with quality movement and passing. Guardiola’s side just don’t look fazed by whatever style of play their opponents try and, when faced with a team with the sole objective of avoiding a big defeat, they dished out just that.
There’s not really a lot for City fans to complain about at the moment, such is the level of performance their team has put in. Even with the bar set as high as it is, the supporters are going home happy each week.
Manager rating out of 10
8 — Guardiola didn’t take any risks and named his strongest team, despite a busy fixture list to come, and he got his key players off with time to rest at the end.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ederson Moraes, 7 — A dropped catch aside, the goalkeeper was dominant in controlling his box and alert to race from his goal and clear the danger from behind his defence.
DF Kyle Walker, 7 — Without being too troubled in defence, the full-back was allowed to work in the final third on the right flank more often than not. It was a quiet afternoon, but he was reliable and delivered several good crosses to the middle.
DF Vincent Kompany, 7 — On his return from injury, the captain showed what the side had been missing in his absence. Eliaquim Mangala had deputised well, but there was a bigger air of calmness with Kompany in the position. He tackled well and played out from the back comfortably.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 8 — Tested by the pace of Callum Wilson, the centre-back didn’t panic. He was smart to take up a number of good positions to step out from defence to intercept passes and, one incident aside, stayed on his feet well.
MF Fabian Delph, 9 — It’s a mystery what Guardiola has done to the midfielder, but it’s worked a treat. Still playing out of position at left-back, he’s proved himself to be a consistent performer and it was another afternoon of solid tackling, good passing, and positional awareness.
MF Fernandinho, 7 — A quieter afternoon than in previous weeks, Fernandinho did what was necessary to keep the ball moving on the attack and break up play as Bournemouth tried to counter.
MF David Silva, 7 — The fans were delighted to see the creative midfielder back in the team after his absence and it was a solid, dependable performance. He carried the ball well, opened up space with his passing, but just looked a little leggy at times.
Sergio Aguero scored his 100th and 101st goals at the Etihad for City.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 7 — After a spell where he was notching goals and assists each week, the Belgian decided to let his teammates take some of the glory. There were a number of brilliant crosses from deep into the box, but it was an altogether more subdued performance from De Bruyne.
MF Leroy Sane, 7 — The winger has been excellent at stretching the play this season, but he can find it difficult against a team that’s sitting deep. The win over Bournemouth was a similar case — he got in behind a few times, but didn’t have the same destructive speed and impact City fans have become used to.
MF Raheem Sterling, 8 — It was another game against Bournemouth and another goal for the winger. A lovely finish from Sterling put City in complete control of the match, and it crowned off an excellent display as the England man drifted around the front three positions.
FW Sergio Aguero, 9 — If the striker is struggling with his relationship with the manager, then it’s certainly not showing on the pitch. He ran his backside off, pressing the ball and causing Bournemouth problems — and two brilliant headers
MF Bernardo Silva, 7 — After replacing Sane on 67 minutes, the creative midfielder was always lively and dangerous, grabbing an assist for Aguero, too.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, NR — On to give De Bruyne a little bit of rest after 74 minutes, the midfielder was a reliable option.
DF Danilo, NR — Having been named on the bench, Danilo probably wasn’t expecting to feature, let alone score. He never gave up to grab the fourth goal and his introduction gave Delph the final 10 minutes to put his feet up.
David Mooney is ESPN FC’s Manchester City blogger. Twitter: @DavidMooney