Manchester City has had a phenomenal start to the 2016-17 campaign under new manager Pep Guardiola. City picked up their fifth straight league win on Saturday, beating Bournemouth 4-0 at Etihad Stadium.
The win puts City firmly at the top of the Premier League standings, and it looks like the appointment of Guardiola has injected some new belief into the side.
The 45-year-old Spanish manager has had a distinguished managerial career so far, picking up a slew of titles with Barcelona and German giants Bayern Munich. The hope in the blue side of Manchester is that he will have a similar effect at the Etihad and bring home some silverware.
City are looking to make a push for the Premier League, a trophy they haven’t won since 2013-14, and so far they are off to a great start. Despite being without star striker Sergio Aguero, City comfortably took care of business against Bournemouth.
Kevin De Bruyne opened up the scoring in the 15th minute with a clever free kick that made its way in behind Artur Boruc in the Bournemouth net. Kelechi Iheanacho, who was in for the suspended Aguero, made it 2-0 in the 15th minute after a brilliant counter attack by the home side.
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Raheem Sterling basically killed off the game in the 48th minute when he made it 3-0. Central midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who made his first start for City in the Premier League, rounded off the scoring in the 66th minute with his first goal for his new club.
Guardiola was pleased to keep the good run going, and praised the workrate of his players against Bournemouth.
“The important thing is we won just a few days after a Champions League game,” Guardiola told the club’s official website after the match. “The Champions League is tough mentally so to recover from that is something that makes me happy.
“The quality of our players made the difference. I’m very happy because I know the quality of the team we have beat and that King is a quality striker. I’m happy because people will be so proud when the famous players run without the ball.”
In addition to the fine start in the league, City put down a marker in their Champions League opener, defeating German side Borussia Monchengladbach 4-0. In that game it was all about Aguero, who netted a hat-trick.
Guardiola has the team all pulling in the same direction, as the players wants to show the new manager that they want a spot in the team. Iheanacho has done a great job replacing Aguero in the last two league games, and the 19-year-old Nigerian international also netted a goal against Monchengladbach after being subbed on in second half.
The drama surrounding the goalkeeper situation seems forgotten now as Joe Hart was sent out on loan and Claudio Bravo coming in from Guardiola’s old side Barcelona. Kevin De Bruyne looks even better than he did last season, and he received praise from his manager after the performance against Bournemouth.
“Kevin is a special player,” Guardiola said. Without the ball he’s a fighter and with the ball he’s clear, he sees everything. Everytime he decides the right decision and we are lucky to have him. Hopefully he can keep playing the amazing football.
“Of course he is one of the best there is no doubt about that but to win prizes will depend on the team winning titles.”
The season is still young, but City has already shown that they deserve to be one of the favorites for the title. They opened up with five straight league wins last season as well, before becoming very inconsistent. After the initial good run, they only managed to win two or more games in a row on two occasions. It’s now up to Guardiola and the squad to make sure that doesn’t happen again.