AFC Bournemouth suffered a 5-1 defeat at the hands of top of the table Manchester City.
Raheem Sterling’s hat-trick was topped up by a single contribution from Wilfried Bony for Manchester City in the first half, whilst Glenn Murray netted in the 22nd minute for the Cherries.
Bony then completed the scoring for the afternoon, as the 26-year-old swivelled and struck the ball into Adam Federici’s far corner.
A promising break in the opening minutes saw Dan Gosling upended inside the Manchester City penalty area, but referee Mike Dean quickly waved away any calls for a penalty.
The home side then took the lead soon after. Pablo Zabaleta headed back across goal from the right byline, and the ball found its way to Sterling at the back post who was able to steer it home.
City then doubled their lead just four minutes later. Federici spilled Bacary Sagna’s cross into the path of Bony, leaving the Ivorian with the simplest of tap-ins to make it 2-0.
The pressure from the home side continued to mount in the opening passages, but soon Eddie Howe’s men started to cause problems of their own.
And moments later they had a way back into the encounter. Eunan O’Kane found the feet of Murray on the edge of the penalty, before the striker turned his man and rifled low past Joe Hart.
At 2-1 the Cherries continued to look threatening, but City were equally as dangerous on the counter and soon reaffirmed their lead.
Sterling was set free on the halfway line and the diminutive forward cut inside and passed Sylvain Distin and Steve Cook before striking past Federici from close range.
Federici then made a great save just before the break. Kevin De Bruyne’s strike from distance looked destined for the back of the net, but the Australian shot-stopper was able to tip it onto the crossbar and clear.
There was little he could do about the fourth, however, as Sterling rounded off his hat-trick. Another swift counter found the England international free on the right of the penalty area, before he slipped the ball between Federici’s legs from a tight angle.
The match was set to be an archetypal game of two halves. Despite the five goals in the opening 45 minutes there was to be little action in the second, as the home side looked content to keep the ball and let the Cherries chase.
In the dying moments substitute Joshua King almost added his name to the scoreline, but was denied by a fine last ditch tackle from Eliaquim Mangala.
City then completed their scoring for the afternoon as Bony swivelled in the penalty area and tucked the ball into Federici’s far corner.
There was almost one more to be added in additional time. Substitute Kelechi Iheancho chipped in past Federici, but was denied by a late offside flag.
Cherries: Federici, Francis, Cook, Distin, Daniels, Smith (Pugh, 77), Gosling, O'Kane (MacDonald, 65), Surman, Ritchie, Murray (King, 74).
Not used: Bennett, Cargill, Kermorgant, Tomlin.