Premier League
Bournemouth0Man City4

Bournemouth 0-4 Manchester City

Kevin de Bruyne volleys Manchester City 2-0 ahead
De Bruyne's volley was his sixth league goal of the season for City, and his first since Boxing Day

Kevin de Bruyne starred on his return after two months out as Manchester City reinvigorated their top-four hopes with a sparkling win over Bournemouth.

Three of City's goals came in the first 18 minutes, with Fernando opening the scoring from a Jesus Navas corner.

De Bruyne made it 2-0 when he volleyed home David Silva's flick and Sergio Aguero headed a third soon after.

Bournemouth had no response and Aleksandar Kolarov blasted in City's fourth with the last kick of the game.

City's win means they are now 12 points behind Premier League leaders Leicester with seven games remaining but their recent form means it is more relevant they increased their lead on fifth-placed West Ham to three points, after the Hammers were held by Crystal Palace.

The Cherries, meanwhile, remain two points off the 40-point mark, but their 11-point cushion above the bottom three still looks a healthy one.

Relive City's early flurry of goals

City find some form at last

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Win important for the future - Pellegrini

A run of one win in their previous six league games had all but ended City's title hopes, and put their prospects of finishing in the Champions League spots in doubt as well.

Their away problems have been more longstanding - after winning their first three away league matches of the season, they took only 11 points from their next 11 games on the road, managing just seven goals.

There were no signs of those struggles at the Vitality Stadium, however, and they ripped Bournemouth apart with a devastating attacking display early on.

City head to French champions Paris St-Germain next, in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final, on the back of a performance that will give them reasons to be optimistic that more goals will follow.

Pellegrini pleased with pressing game

Man City tackles v Bournemouth
Five of City's 15 ball recoveries (green triangles) or successful tackles (yellow) in the first 18 minutes were in the final third of the pitch. One of them led to their second goal

City boss Manuel Pellegrini felt his side's high-tempo pressing game was behind the fast start that led to their comfortable victory.

Pellegrini told BBC Sport: "Our style of play was the way I like us to play. The most important thing was to return to our style of play.

"We played very well, especially the first half where we pressed very high, and scored three beautiful goals."

The move that led to De Bruyne's goal started when Bournemouth's Charlie Daniels lost the ball on the edge of his own area.

"Part of the mistake was down to the pressure we put on to recover the ball," Pellegrini explained.

"That was very important because we were a team that was pressing three four or five times just on that occasion. Then when we won it back we finished with the quality we have."

De Bruyne's goal
Boruc was beaten four times on Saturday but was not in goal for Bournemouth when they lost 5-1 to City at Etihad Stadium in October - Adam Federici was between the sticks for that game

De Bruyne makes a brilliant return

At the end of a week where they discovered they could be without Yaya Toure and Joe Hart as well as skipper Vincent Kompany for their trip to Paris, a returning star gave City some reason to be cheerful.

De Bruyne has been sorely missed since he injured his knee at the end of January, with City winning only four out of 12 games without him.

The £55m Belgian marked his return with a superbly taken goal, a volley relying on placement rather than power from the edge of the box, and came close to an equally spectacular second when another volley was palmed away by Artur Boruc.

He came off after 57 minutes to a deserved standing ovation and, when he is fully fit, City's chances against any opposition are clearly improved.

Samir Nasri's appearance off the bench in the second half, for his first game since October, was another bonus for Pellegrini. The French midfielder has recovered from his serious thigh injury, but he is not in City's Champions League squad.

Man of the match - Kevin de Bruyne

De Bruyne sees his second-half volley saved
Plenty of candidates among City's attacking players but De Bruyne showed the greatest poise in front of goal, and three out of his four shots were on target including this one - the volley Boruc saved

First goal hurts most for Howe

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said afterwards that he felt his side "caught City on a good day" but also rued some self-destructive defending.

Howe told BBC Sport: "The first goal was probably the most disappointing one because it was from a set-play, a poor ball in really, and we have not dealt with it.

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Man City defeat a 'difficult watch' - Howe

"When you give a good team an early goal it gives them a lift and it makes it very difficult.

"It was a long game from 3-0 down so credit to the players that they did not cave in but it was a difficult watch, especially early on."

Bournemouth took 30 minutes to register their first effort on target - a Steve Cook header that forced a good stop from Willy Caballero - and did not manage another until Matt Ritchie let fly from distance in the 92nd minute.

What's next?

City head for Paris, then play host to West Brom next Saturday.

On the same day, Bournemouth will be in action at Villa Park, where a Cherries win and a combination of other results could relegate Aston Villa.

The stats you need to know

  • Fernando bagged his first goal since March 2015 when he scored against West Brom.
  • Only Sergio Aguero (17) has scored more Premier League goals for Man City this season than Kevin De Bruyne (6).
  • David Silva (11) is second only to Mesut Ozil (18) for assists in the Premier League this season.
  • No player has scored more Premier League goals in 2016 than Aguero (10, level with Harry Kane).
  • Man City have scored seven first-half goals against the Cherries this season.

Line-ups

Bournemouth

  • 1Boruc
  • 15A SmithSubstituted forElphickat 68'minutes
  • 2Francis
  • 3S Cook
  • 11Daniels
  • 30Ritchie
  • 32O'Kane
  • 6Surman
  • 10GradelSubstituted forGoslingat 84'minutes
  • 28Grabban
  • 17KingSubstituted forPughat 45'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Gosling
  • 5Elphick
  • 7Pugh
  • 12Iturbe
  • 23Federici
  • 25Distin
  • 27Murray

Man City

  • 13Caballero
  • 5Zabaleta
  • 30Otamendi
  • 20Mangala
  • 22Clichy
  • 6FernandoBooked at 89mins
  • 25Fernandinho
  • 15Jesús Navas
  • 17De BruyneSubstituted forKolarovat 57'minutes
  • 21SilvaSubstituted forNasriat 66'minutes
  • 10AgüeroSubstituted forIheanachoat 79'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Sagna
  • 8Nasri
  • 11Kolarov
  • 14Bony
  • 26Demichelis
  • 29Wright
  • 72Iheanacho
Referee:
Robert Madley
Attendance:
11,192

Match Stats

Home TeamBournemouthAway TeamMan City
Possession
Home46%
Away54%
Shots
Home11
Away15
Shots on Target
Home2
Away7
Corners
Home4
Away4
Fouls
Home9
Away8

Live Text

Match ends, Bournemouth 0, Manchester City 4.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Bournemouth 0, Manchester City 4.

Goal!

Goal! Bournemouth 0, Manchester City 4. Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Samir Nasri.

Attempt saved. Matt Ritchie (Bournemouth) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Tommy Elphick.

Attempt blocked. Andrew Surman (Bournemouth) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Offside, Manchester City. Willy Caballero tries a through ball, but Kelechi Iheanacho is caught offside.

Offside, Bournemouth. Tommy Elphick tries a through ball, but Lewis Grabban is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Andrew Surman (Bournemouth) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Matt Ritchie.

Booking

Fernando (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Fernando (Manchester City).

Marc Pugh (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Bournemouth. Dan Gosling replaces Max Gradel.

Corner, Bournemouth. Conceded by Aleksandar Kolarov.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester City. Kelechi Iheanacho replaces Sergio Agüero.

Offside, Bournemouth. Max Gradel tries a through ball, but Marc Pugh is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Matt Ritchie (Bournemouth) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right following a set piece situation.

Foul by Fernando (Manchester City).

Max Gradel (Bournemouth) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt saved. Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Sergio Agüero.

Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).

Matt Ritchie (Bournemouth) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Corner, Bournemouth. Conceded by Pablo Zabaleta.

Corner, Bournemouth. Conceded by Jesús Navas.

Offside, Manchester City. Jesús Navas tries a through ball, but Samir Nasri is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Eunan O'Kane (Bournemouth) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left.

Substitution

Substitution, Bournemouth. Tommy Elphick replaces Adam Smith because of an injury.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Adam Smith (Bournemouth) because of an injury.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester City. Samir Nasri replaces David Silva.

Nicolás Otamendi (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Lewis Grabban (Bournemouth).

Offside, Manchester City. Aleksandar Kolarov tries a through ball, but Sergio Agüero is caught offside.

Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Adam Smith (Bournemouth).

Foul by Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City).

Matt Ritchie (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Steve Cook.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester City. Aleksandar Kolarov replaces Kevin De Bruyne.

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Max Gradel (Bournemouth).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leicester31199354312366
2Tottenham321711457253262
3Arsenal31177752302258
4Man City31166956322454
5West Ham311312649371251
6Man Utd30148838271150
7Southampton31138104132947
8Stoke32138113639-347
9Liverpool3012994641545
10Chelsea31111194941844
11West Brom311010113037-740
12Everton29911951411038
13Bournemouth32108143854-1638
14Watford31107143036-637
15Swansea32910133342-937
16Crystal Palace3197153442-834
17Norwich3287173556-2131
18Sunderland3169163655-1927
19Newcastle3167183158-2725
20Aston Villa3237222262-4016
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