Dazzling De Bruyne: in-form Belgian superb in Manchester City’s 4-0 demolition of Bournemouth
Premier League champions Leicester City get back on track with 3-0 win over Burnley while Arsenal crush Hull City 4-1 and West Brom hand hapless West Ham a 4-2 beating
Pep Guardiola’s dream start to his Manchester City reign continued with an eighth win in eight matches in all competitions, with a scintillating English Premier League 4-0 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday being ignited by Kevin de Bruyne’s ingenuity at the Etihad.
The in-form Belgian scored a cheeky 15th minute free kick, deliberately firing beneath the wall of jumping defenders to set the league leaders on the way to a dazzling win, which preserved their 100 per cent record.
Amid some champagne football, Kelechi Iheanacho finished off a flowing team movement 10 minutes later before repaying Raheem Sterling’s goal assist with the pass that enabled the England international to make it three soon after the break.
Ilkay Gundogan, on his league debut, notched his first goal following more fine work from De Bruyne, who was involved in every goal, but Nolito’s needless late red card for aiming a headbutt at Adam Smith took some of the gloss from Guardiola’s ideal day.
“Our high pressing was not perfect today, we had problems with controlling the Bournemouth build-up, but we created a lot of counter-attacks,” said City manager Guardiola.
“We are so lucky that we have Kevin de Bruyne with us. It was a fantastic performance.”
Leicester City’s record buy Islam Slimani injected new life into the champions’ title defence, marking his Premier League debut with his first two goals for the club in a comprehensive 3-0 win over Burnley.
The prolific Algerian striker, a £29.7 million (HK$300 million) buy from Sporting Lisbon, struck with the last action of the first half and early in the second, his two finishes demonstrating the heading prowess that had attracted manager Claudio Ranieri.
A cross by Riyad Mahrez forced defender Ben Mee to turn an inadvertent third past his own keeper.
Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater said: “We knew we had to come back to the Premier League and had to carry on from where we left off in the Champions League.”
“We have been away for the first time as a club and it was new for us. So it was a relief to come back and not suffer a European hangover. Getting three points was the most important thing.”
Alexis Sanchez scored twice as Arsenal beat 10-man Hull City 4-1, securing a third successive Premier League win for the first time since January.
Sanchez put Arsenal ahead after 17 minutes, deflecting the ball home after a Theo Walcott shot was pushed into the path of Alex Iwobi, before the hosts had Jake Livermore sent off for handball.
Sanchez’s penalty was saved by Eldin Jakupovic, but Walcott doubled the lead 10 minutes into the second half when his effort was headed in by Hull defender Harry Maguire.
Hull’s Robert Snodgrass pulled a goal back from the penalty spot, but Sanchez calmed any jitters in the Arsenal ranks when he rifled high into the net and Granit Xhaka rounded off the scoring
“We started the game very positively,” said Walcott. “The result and performance was key. It was a shame we couldn’t keep the clean sheet but four goals away from home, you are always going to get the win.”
Attacking midfielder Nacer Chadli marked a superb home debut with two goals and two assists for West Bromwich Albion as they beat hapless West Ham United 4-2 at the Hawthorns to hand the Londoners their third straight Premier League defeat.
Chadli slotted home an eighth-minute penalty after Arthur Masuaku handled the ball in the box. He then set up Jose Salomon Rondon half an hour later to double the advantage.
James McClean steered home a ball from Chadli to make it 3-0 before half-time, and the 27-year-old Belgian made it four 11 minutes into the second half when he finished a counter-attack by firing Rondon’s pass into the net.
Dimitri Payet mounted something of a fightback for West Ham, crossing for Michail Antonio to score and winning a penalty which Manuel Lanzini converted, but once again Slaven Bilic’s side came up short as West Brom held on.
“They deserved it. I felt embarrassed at half-time,” said West Ham manager Slaven Bilic. “We were three down and we can say that some of the goals were individual mistakes.”