The Ped-into-Christmas Report City 4-0 Bournemouth
The pre-Christmas match at the Etihad turned into yet another celebration as another set of records went tumbling yesterday.
Guardiola was in a non-nonsense mood as he set up with probably his best-available starting eleven, give or take the Aguero-de Jesus argument. With Ederson restored between the uprights, Walker, Kompany, Otamendi and Delph across the back, protected by Fernandinho, behind de Bruyne and Silva, returned from his mystery leave of absence, leaving Sterling Aguero and Sane up front, there was never really going to be any dispute as to where this weeks three points were destined.
Bournemouth didn't fancy this one from the off. Yes, they got a corner early on but from the first time Begovic saw the ball, it was back to the time-wasting tactics we have seen all too frequently from teams visiting the Etihad and the endgame was precisely the same. A City victory.
City simply battered Bournemouth, but more frightening was the fact they didn`t get out of first gear despite playing the beautiful game as it is meant to be played with an ease and precision that is only available at Planet Etihad.
As the Blues royally entertained the pre-festivities audience, it was only a matter of time before the scoreboard writers were busy. Once the twenty-minute mark came around, so did the chances. Aguero was unlucky not to correctly control an awkward bouncing ball before firing his shot over the top, Otamendi's screamer from thirty yards let Begovic know the deal, and the efforts began to rain in from just about everywhere.
When the breakthrough came, who else but Aguero? With neat interplay down the left between Sane, Silva and Delph, the Magician located Fernandinho lurking in support. The brilliant Brazilian chipped the ball into the space behind the Bournemouth centre backs and Aguero converted with an excellent diving header. This was Sergigol's 100th at the Etihad Stadium and his 183rd since he joined the Blues.
It was clear that his role today was the type of role Barcelona reserve for Messi. Playing slightly deeper, on the turn, I think Aguero is far more dangerous than when he is perched back-to-goal in front of three gigantic centre backs. He was much more elusive today, connecting play and taking the chances that arrived.
It was perhaps unbelievable that the match got to half time without worrying the scorers further. But with the exception of a comic cuts mix-up involving Ederson and Walker, Bournemouth were never at the races and if needed, 1-0 was always going to be enough.
But not for the fans, and not for City. Enter "City time".
Immediately after the restart City set about adding to the scoreline and after 52 minutes so they did. It was another goal of sheer beauty and class masterminded by Silva, into Aguero whose neat chip went into the path of Sterling who drilled it straight through Begovic for 2-0.
This was simply City at their best. Those tin-opening passes of precision are undefendable and Sterling should maybe also have the "gol" suffix to his name the way he is performing this season. Is it now sixteen for the season? Sterlingol!
City went on to clock up around 80% possession and over 900 passes in this match. It was as if Bournemouth didn`t want the ball. Even at 0-2 Begovic continued to waste time, no doubt aiming for as much damage limitation as possible. But his colleague were very much stranger to the spherical object with which the game of Association Football is played.
From City`s viewpoint everyone wanted to get in on the act and frankly every one of the team, with the exception of Ederson, might have scored today at some juncture. As it was goal number three once again set the records in motion as, you guessed it, up stepped Sergigol once more. And once more it was a header that put City 3-0 to the good.
Gundogan and Bernardo had been introduced to give some rest time to Sane and de Bruyne. How awful must it be when opposition teams see two fantastic game-changing players retire to the bench to be replaced by…..well, two fantastic game-changing players. Two players who combined tidily on City`s right, before Bernardo cut inside and slid in a curling cross right onto the head of Aguero. End of story.
But not the end of the goals. City`s final formation of the day saw the two Silva`s, left-footed, playing on the right, and Danilo and Sterling, both right-footed, playing on the left. It was the left hand side that provided a wonderful finishing goal for the Blues. Seconds earlier Aguero looked to be clean through for his hat trick, but the chance went with an unnecessary change of feet.
Sterling sprinted clear in the midfield. Between them, he and Gundogan drew the cover leaving space for Danilo to overlap on the left. Raheem slipped it into his path and with his left foot he slammed the ball inside the near post. Did you see that Sergigol?
A masterclass performance from a masterclass team for whom superlatives are no longer enough. The debate as to whether this team is or can be the best-ever goes on, but in the Premier League era, I don`t think we have seen this type of fluid attacking football before. The team looks fearless, looks as if they know, if they are patient, the goals will come and seems to be steam-rollering itself to the pinnacle of English football.
Guardiola has constructed a squad capable of attacking in different ways from different locations on the field and there is a telepathy about City`s play. You get the impression that Silva could play blindfold, such is his awareness as to where his colleagues are.
With de Bruyne, Sterling and Sane racing in at all angles and the deeper-lying Aguero leaving the close-markers redundant or out of position, City are the most potent goalscoring threat in recent memory.
Results elsewhere left City a mountainous thirteen points clear of the field this weekend. The air Chez Pedmachine, which is really Chez Sue was changing colour by the second as the said Sue yelled expletives in the direction of Klown Klopp, who she is convinced, doesn`t have a clue what he is doing especially in the team selection department. I suspect the Liverpool collapse, letting in three goals in just over four minutes was not necessarily Klopp`s fault, but why on earth he continues to select the want-away and in my view quite useless Tin Can when he has the Ox chomping at the bit is almost beyond belief. The Ox is a much better proposition than either Can or Henderson and much better equipped to get things going for the threat in front of him and to one side in terms of Coutinho. The feeling around Liverpool is one of less positivity where Klopp is concerned right now.
Across town, Everton parked the bus and stole a point off Chelsea while in the east Midlands, Maureen`s attempts to park the bus snatched a draw out of the jaws of victory as the Stretfords once again conceded deep into Fergie time earning themselves a draw at Leicester, who were down to ten men. For what I said about Klopp earlier, read the same about Mourinho, just outside Manchester. Let`s face it, he`s pretty clueless. With his best player, Mata, having scored two good goals, he takes him off! And in doing so hands the initiative to the ten-man opposition and conceded the equaliser in the 94th minute. It was chuckle time in Crosby when I looked on the Sky Sports app to find it was 2-2. Maybe now they won`t even finish second.
It was also a chuckle when I saw Mourinho Christmas Hits on You Tube. Follow the link below!!