A first-half hat-trick for Raheem Sterling has helped Manchester City to a straightforward 5-1 victory over Bournemouth at the Etihad Stadium.
The Citizens remain top of the Premier League table as a result of their triumph, ahead of next weekend’s crucial Manchester derby showdown against arch-rivals, United.
Bournemouth were dealt a blow shortly before kickoff when first-choice keeper Artur Boruc pulled up, resulting in summer signing Adam Federici coming in for his first league appearance.
It did not take City long to capitalise on this late alteration, as Raheem Sterling pounced on Pablo Zabaleta’s cut-back to fire the Citizens into an early lead.
Things got even worse for stand-in stopper Federici moments later when his howler at the end of Yaya Toure’s cross gifted Wilfried Bony a chance to show his worth in Sky Blue colours, with the Ivorian tapping home from close range.
Kevin De Bruyne came close to making it three to the home side with less than a quarter of the match played, but Bournemouth dug deep and were rewarded soon after thanks to Glenn Murray’s strike into the bottom corner of the net.
The Cherries rallied after that goal, looking to capitalise on City’s lacklustre spell in the game, yet it was the Citizens who found the fourth goal of the half after De Bruyne and Sterling linked up, allowing the latter to weave his way through on goal and wrong-foot Federici to put his side back in control.
There was still time at the end of the first half for Sterling to claim a first hat-trick for his new club, as he was left with the simple task of slotting home following some sloppy Bournemouth defending.
City, who have dropped Premier League points on just two occasions so far this season, were quick out of the blocks following the restart and looking for a fifth through Zabaleta, who was only denied by Federici’s stop.
Sensing that there was perhaps a route back into the game, Murray came close to doubling his personal tally for the afternoon when latching on to Euan O’Kane’s knockdown, but his shot ended wide of the post.
Federici then had to be alert up the other end to deny Bony bagging his second, while Sterling – a real threat throughout – could only prod the ball wide when in for a fourth goal of the game.
City saw their chances restricted in the final quarter of the contest, with Sterling departing to a standing ovation after his best shift as a Citizens player to date.
There was to be one more goal, however, as Bony picked out the back of the net for a brace of his own late on to pile further misery on Bournemouth.