Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside…
A glorious day for City at the Vitality Stadium as Manuel Pellegrini’s men got back to winning ways with a 4-0 triumph over in-form Bournemouth.
Where was the game won and lost? @markbooth_mcfc picks through the rubble following an explosive show of strength.
1 The Perfect Day
Talk about a well-timed international break.
We wondered in our pre-match Talking Points whether the fortnight pause in Premier League action would give City a chance to reset and refocus minds for the run-in.
Any doubts that this would prove to be the case were roundly dismissed in a devastating opening 20 minutes on the south coast when Pellegrini’s men ran riot on a Bournemouth side who must have wondered what they’d done to deserve such brutal treatment.
This was a completely different-looking City to the one that has failed to find the back of the net for 270 minutes – from the first seconds, we looked dangerous on every single foray into opposition territory, attacking with wit, verve and that all-important clinical, cold-blooded edge.
Like in a 2p coin pusher machine in one of the seaside town’s many arcades, the levy finally broke for City following Fernando’s early well-taken volley, with the goals once again flowing like the waves onto Bournemouth golden beaches.
2 Paris in the Springtime
As if a comfortable win and a clean sheet weren’t enough to make this the perfect day, the luxury of being able to withdraw David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero with time remaining will have given Pellegrini an extra reason to smile on the flight home to Manchester.
The ever-competitive nature of the Premier League and the intensity of the games therein rarely affords the opportunity to stroll through 60 minutes of a game already won but that’s a benefit the Blues enjoyed following that blistering 20-minute spell.
It’s an experience that La Liga’s giants can often reap the benefits of when they enter European competition, this ability to play within themselves and conserve energy in-game ahead of the mid-week Champions League matches.
Let’s hope we see evidence of this bonus freshness factor at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday night.
3 Goal-den Touch
This was the first time City had scored three or more goals in an away Premier League game since the opening day of the season at West Brom.
While the Blues have managed this feat on a couple of occasions in the Champions League, it was cheering to see them rediscover their scoring touch on the road in domestic competition.
Can we string together consecutive wins in the league for the first time since October? Our home meeting with the Baggies next weekend will provide us with a perfect opportunity.
4 The KDB Effect
Kevin De Bruyne didn’t take long to show City supporters just what they’ve been missing since January.
It wasn’t just his quality of Kevin’s passing, his movement or his finishing that made the difference, but the effect his presence had on some of his teammates.
Aguero and Silva were two of the main benefactors, revelling in the increased space De Bruyne’s presence afforded them and the extra interplay available to them courtesy of this fleet-footed third point of a star-studded passing triangle.
5 Goal of the Season?
All four of City’s goals on the south coast are pretty much shoe-ins for April’s Nissan Goal of the Month shortlist but it’ll take something pretty darn special over the next four weeks to stop KDB’s strike from clinching it.
Our second strike was a team goal of the very highest quality, with the ball not touching the floor after Kun’s inspired dink to Silva which was then cushioned into the path of the City no.17 who made no mistake, taking on the strike first-time on his in-step.
Champagne football – have we scored a better goal all season? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter @MCFC.
6 A Cushion
City won’t get carried away with this win and attentions will already be turned to the Champions League but it was a good Saturday for us as far as top four hopes are concerned.
With West Ham unexpectedly dropping points against Crystal Palace and Liverpool being held by Spurs, there’s at least a welcome three-point cushion for the Blues ahead of Sunday’s games.