David Silva works magic in the middle, pulls Man City's strings at Cherries
With Bournemouth employing an energetic approach to improving their sorry 2017 lot, City had to stand up and be counted in tricky conditions at the Vitality Stadium to earn a 2-0 victory. By the end of an open and enthralling encounter, the home side had been passed to a virtual standstill. City, with pace and passes to spare, were still going strong at the final whistle as the lusty away support welcomed the acquisition of a promising-looking second place behind Chelsea.
The pure exuberance of the attacking link-up play between David Silva, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling was a joy to watch at times, with particular emphasis down Sane's left wing on this occasion. The youngster has pace to burn and skills to match and there was nobody in the home defence who could shackle him or Silva properly.
Only a two-goal win to show for so much decent forward play is still a relatively poor return. Sterling (with a shot against the post), Sane (with a shot against the bar) and Yaya Toure, were on this occasion the main culprits.
Manager Rating out of 10
8 -- Guardiola again followed the courage of his convictions playing Willy Caballero in goal (six games, six wins) and sticking Fernandinho at left-back, where he did the expected solid job. The individuals may change from week to week, but the style is now imprinted and it works a treat even in the face of typical spirited opposition.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Willy Caballero, 8 -- The stand-in was again solid and competent, dealing well enough when Jordon Ibe broke through on the City left early on. Distribution was varied short and long and remained accurate. Pulled off a stunning diving save from Harry Arter, lunging full length to his right to knock the ball away.
DF Bacary Sagna, 6 -- The weak link in the defence. Slow to react and sloppy with his passing, both in the forward sectors and across the back line.
DF Fernandinho, 7 -- This time deployed on the left of defence, the ultra-reliable Brazilian did a great job as Bournemouth concentrated the lion's share of their attacking down his flank. One wonderfully simple but effective ball inside the full-back to set Silva free in the second half showed his reliability going forward too.
DF John Stones, 8 -- Imperious display. Untroubled in the centre, another strolling performance by the languid ex-Everton man. Most of his frequent possession was to funnel the ball back to Caballero, but in a hectic second half he won every single ball as the home side pushed.
DF Aleksandar Kolarov, 7 -- Comfortable all evening and more adventurous when switched back to the left after Nicolas Otamendi's introduction.
MF Yaya Toure, 7 -- Strolling display not curtailed by an early yellow card for sliding in on Adam Smith. Curled a left footer just wide and stood his ground in a busy midfield. Replaced by Otamendi after 70 minutes.
MF Kevin de Bruyne, 7 -- Mainly restricted to short passing but the simplicity of his game helped things tick over in the middle, while Sane and Sterling pulled up trees down the flanks. One blistering shot just over on the stroke of half-time.
MF Leroy Sane, 8 -- Another exuberant, jinking performance down the left flank. Beautiful balance to set up Sterling twice in the first half, one of which resulted in the opener. Booked for a lunge on Smith, but ended strongly with a fantastic dribble and shot onto the crossbar.
MF David Silva, 9 -- Buzzing from the very start, he ran a hectic midfield throughout. Had Jack Wilshire chasing shadows and one flip and flick over his marker in midfield would have been stunning had it come from anybody else. From Silva it is commonplace, as are the divine touches that mark him out as a precious gem in City's array of stars. Can ride a tackle too, as well as sticking a foot in when needed.
MF Raheem Sterling, 8 -- Booked for raking Steve Cook, he hit the post and scored in a bubbling first-half performance. Brilliant footwork to set up the clincher, he is turning into a reliable and consistent source of danger down the right flank.
FW Gabriel Jesus, NR -- What impact he had hoped to have was curtailed when he pulled up injured after 14 minutes.
FW Sergio Aguero, 7 -- Came on for Gabriel after only 14 minutes but needed an eternity to fully get into the game. Ended up linking well and had a toe in the second goal even if the final touch came off Tyrone Mings.
MF Nicolas Otamendi, 6 -- Replaced Toure with 20 minutes to play, allowing Fernandinho to revert to midfield and Kolarov to push out and up the left.
MF Nolito, NR -- Came on for Sterling after 91 minutes to help ease the clock down.
Simon is one of ESPN FC's Manchester City bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @bifana_bifana.