AFTER Manchester City ran riot at the Etihad once again to beat Bournemouth 5-1 in the Barclays Premier League, Callum Matthews picks out three things we learnt from the Blues’ latest victory…
Raheem Sterling is worth persevering with
In the last game before the international break against Newcastle, Sterling was rightly hauled off by Manuel Pellegrini at half-time. He was largely ineffective and struggled to get in behind a resolute and fairly well-organised Toon defence.
However the 20-year-old was by far the best player on the pitch against last season’s Championship winners Bournemouth as he scored his first career hat-trick. His breakthrough in the seventh minute set the tone for the rest of the game and set City on their way to maintaining a two point lead at the top of the league.
Whilst his first goal was a simple tap-in, his second and third were both good finishes. The former Liverpool man has been criticised for his finishing since his big money move to the Etihad but today he demonstrated he is maturing in that aspect.
With five goals to his name already this season, the England winger has made a positive start to his career at City. The fans have to continue to be patient with him because there will be times when he frustrates and doesn’t perform as expected. However day’s like today show that he is worth persevering with.
@sterling7 very pleased to see you get your first of many hat-tricks me and my son cian was cheering you on from the east stand, well done
— David Murphy (@froda10) October 17, 2015
@sterling7 great game today man – brilliant composed finishing – in great form – hoping u turn it on again next week at old toilet ?
— andy o'kell ?? ?Champ100ns (@andyok75) October 17, 2015
Bacary Sagna is an able deputy at left-back
Pellegrini has been without Gael Clichy at left-back for the whole campaign so far. Aleksandar Kolarov has, until recent weeks, been outstanding and was one of the main reasons that City started the season with five successive wins and clean sheets. However the Serbian came back from the international break with an injury and that left Pellegrini with a headache at left-back.
Either Sagna or Pablo Zabaleta were the obvious stand-in’s whilst the other played at right-back. The Chilean opted with Sagna at left-back and was rewarded for the decision, as the Frenchman was brilliant in a battling and organised performance against Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side.
The former Arsenal full-back was more or less faultless defensively and did brilliantly to win the ball back in the build-up to Sterling’s second goal.
With Clichy’s and Kolarov’s comebacks as yet unknown, Pellegrini should sleep easier tonight knowing that Sagna is more than able there in the short term.
Sagna looks like a new signing. Getting better and better like an Italian wine. Think we got him for £0. Aye aye. Versatile at the back.
— Odinga (@Kojo_Etihad) October 17, 2015
@YourMCFC Sagna man of the match today. Out of position and was rock solid.
— Me (@keawyedcity) October 17, 2015
Eliaquim Mangala’s concentration must improve
The Frenchman has been criticised numerous times since his arrival from Porto last summer and although he has shown signs of improvement this season he was again at fault for Bournemouth’s goal today.
It appears to be a concentration issue for the 24-year-old because he also made numerous important interceptions – with one in the second half when he cut out a cross from the left wing particularly standing out.
However his part in the goal today was incredibly poor. He gave Glenn Murray far too much time and more importantly space to get his shot off. He was originally tight and in a good position, but he decided to step off and move to the right, opening up the opportunity perfectly for the former Crystal Palace striker.
Mangala does undoubtedly have the ability to become a top class defender – he has the pace and physical presence to dominate games – but his ability to concentrate is a major flaw in his game at the moment. His consistency within games and from game to game must improve if he is going to enjoy a successful career at the top level.
Mangala is still shaky at times but he's starting to get more consistent & he's showing what he's capable of, that block in the end!
— Raz. (@CitysVeins) October 17, 2015
— Karl Gough (@Karlosg89) October 17, 2015