Jérémy Doku’s high-grade blend of speed, fearlessness and creativity was Manchester City’s headline act in this procession of a win. The opening goal and assists in four of the five others helped secure a fourth consecutive victory for the champions (in all competitions) and his display was the latest evidence of their transfer market mastery.
During a rainy afternoon in east Manchester, the new summer signing proved why Pep Guardiola chose him over Jack Grealish on the left side. The first goal was scored by the Belgian at the 30-minute mark and he played a crucial role in the subsequent goals by Bernardo Silva (twice), Manuel Akanji, and Phil Foden at the 33rd, 37th, 64th, and 83rd minute respectively, making it a showcase of Doku’s talents.
As a perfectionist, Guardiola may have been displeased to see Dominic Solanke’s second-half attempt denied due to an offside call (which was correct), or how the same player failed to control Marcos Senesi’s pass and later hit the ball off Ederson’s crossbar.
By then Erling Haaland had been removed (at half-time), as Julián Álvarez moved to centre-forward and Foden was introduced to operate as the No 10: his surge from deep, after a pass to Doku on the left, was finished by beating Andrei Radu at close-range when the 21-year-old returned the ball.
Bournemouth has lost all 13 of their meetings in the Premier League era, with their “best” result being a 1-0 defeat four years ago. A win for any team other than City would come as a major surprise. Guardiola praised his players’ hunger and desire before sending out a team that dominated Andoni Iraola’s.
Haaland, Álvarez, Silva, and Doku formed a forward quartet that caused confusion for the opposing defense. Behind them, Rodri was a constant and smooth presence, passing to Kyle Walker or Mateo Kovacic with precision as City orchestrated their attacks in their trademark style.
Doku was brought in by Txiki Begiristain and Guardiola, following the classic acquisition strategy. The sporting director identified him as a mid-market purchase priced at £55m, which was approved by the manager. So far, Doku has played 13 games for City and has seamlessly fit into the team.
Pace is a main weapon and after Nathan Aké tapped the ball to him along the left, Doku knifed inside and Chris Mepham had to do well to see him off as he twisted inside the area. Haaland’s chief talent is his razor-sharp finishing and, when Álvarez lifted the ball to the far post and the No 9 rose to head at Radu’s goal, only a flailing Lloyd Kelly thwarted the opener.
It arrived a bit delayed. Doku’s third goal while playing for the champions was simple yet clever, as a burst of speed was followed by a pass to Rodri, who quickly returned it and scored low, much to the joy of the team’s supporters.
Doku’s next move was to assist Silva. He approached from the left side, passed the ball to the Portuguese player, then spun to the right to receive it back. He then proceeded to confuse Mepham before passing it back to Silva, who calmly scored.
Doku’s impressive performance earned him a role in City’s third goal. Silva once again passed to him, and he struck the ball with his right foot onto his left, sending it flying. Akanji unintentionally redirected it into the net, securing his first league goal.
In the 74th minute, Luis Sinisterra scored a goal for Bournemouth against Ederson. Doku also made an impressive play, sending a 30-yard pass to Silva who smoothly dribbled and scored past Radu. In the final moments of the game, Aké scored a diving header, securing City’s sixth goal.