League-leading City sweep past Cherries
- Mike Jones
Manchester City too strong for the Cherries as the league leaders win comfortably at the Etihad Stadium.
Sergio Aguero beat the offside trap to head home from ten yards in the first half, City taking a slender lead into the break.
It was too not long after half time when Raheem Sterling continued his goalscoring form with a neat finish under the 'keeper, with Aguero later popping up to score his second and City's third.
Danilo scored a fourth for the home side late on as the substitute finished well from Sterling's pass.
The visitors struggled to make chances throughout the game, going into Christmas with a loss after an extremely difficult run of games.
Jack Simpson, fresh from his impressive showing in the Carabao Cup at Chelsea on Wednesday, was brought in from the off, the Wareham local earning his first ever Premier League minutes.
Elsewhere in the squad, Stamford Bridge starters Jermain Defoe, Simon Francis and Harry Arter missed out through injury in the Cherries' final game before Christmas.
From the start the visitors sat deep, not looking to give the talented City forward room to exploit, though the best chance of the opening ten minutes fell to the side from Dorset.
After receiving the ball after it bounced back off the referee Jordon Ibe was able to cut back for the arriving Junior Stanislas, but meeting the bouncing ball the Bournemouth man skewed wide.
Worse followed as in the act of shooting Stanislas sustained an injury and was immediately replaced by Marc Pugh.
Aguero neatly brought down a Nicolas Otamendi diagonal, but his lofted finish comfortably cleared the bar as City's dominance of possession continued.
Fernandinho soon headed David Silva's corner a yard over, while Otamendi's thump from 30 yards was well parried behind by Asmir Begovic.
The resistance was broken just past the halfway point of the half when Aguero gave the league leaders the opening goal.
Begovic's poor clearance gave possession to the hosts with Fernandino moments later crossing for the Argentine forward to dive and comfortably head home.
The goal calmed the home side's attacking urgency, but the Cherries were still struggling to see much of the ball with ten minutes of the half remaining.
Ryan Fraser played a pass down the line for a ball that Ibe and Ederson raced for, had the Bournemouth attacker nicked in first he'd have had an open goal. City then gave the ball back to Callum Wilson, but with the 'keeper still retreating the striker couldn't get his shot away.
Ibe stood up Otamendi as he entered the box, but his shot was eventually blocked by the defender. The late-half probing from the away side offering hope ahead of the referee's half time whistle.
With no changes to either side upon the restart, Sterling gave the hosts a second seven minutes into the second period.
David Silva played into the feet of Aguero, his round-the-corner ball cut through the Cherries backline with Sterling slicing behind to finish first time under Begovic.
City's second took much of the energy out of the game, the hosts happy with their position in the contest and comfortable enough in possession to keep their opponents at arm's length.
The Cherries brought on strikers Lys Mousset and Benik Afobe as they looked for a way back into the fixture, David Silva swerving a shot over as City still looked the most likely to score the game's third.
With just over ten minutes remaining it came as Aguero notched his second header of the afternoon.
Substitutes Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva combined with the latter able to deliver and precise centre for their striker to convert from eight yards out.
Danilo came off the bench and netted a fourth for City as the full-back continued his run from the back to latch onto Sterling's ball and pass the ball home from inside the area.
Dan Gosling had a shot smothered behind for a corner as the game approached injury time, one of few chances for the Cherries through the 90 minutes.
Into added time and City were passing the ball amongst themselves comfortably, the final whistle blowing in the rain as the Cherries fell to defeat.