Published on October 19th, 2015 | by Daniel Cheeseman0
Manchester City 5-1 Bournemouth | Daniel Cheeseman
“First time for everything!”
They say there’s a first time for everything, and Saturday’s game against Bournemouth saw several of those.
It’s the first time this season we’ve played without a recognized left back, the first time Raheem Sterling has scored a senior hattrick in his career, and it’s also the first time that Wilfried Bony has played at a similar standard to his days at Swansea.
In the absence of Alexander Kolarov and Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna had to be used as a makeshift left-back and I think that most will agree he performed that role to a more than adequate standard. When he joined the club last year I was slightly concerned he’d find it difficult to settle in after being tied to one club for 7 years, but this season he’s shown his experience and proven to be a valuable asset of our squad – and Saturday was no exception.
Although I’m delighted with his first ever senior hattrick at the weekend, in my opinion that was the first time that Raheem Sterling has put in a performance that’s been anywhere near good enough to justify the £50m we paid for him in the summer.
I’ve heard lots of people saying things like “give him time” and “he’s only young” when trying to defend the former Liverpool man’s slow start, but when I see the impact Kevin de Bruyne has already made this season (having come from a different league too) that automatically writes off the first argument for me. In terms of his age, we’ve seen plenty of the great players in football today come good at a younger age than Raheem Sterling – for example Lionel Messi was only 17 when he broke into Barcelona’s first team, and Sergio Aguero was 18 when he joined Atletico Madrid – so that can’t really be used as an excuse either.
I’m not going to change my mind with Raheem just because of one good game, but I will say that it was definitely a big step in the right direction and I’m looking forward to seeing him continue to improve so that he can become the £50m we’re all hoping him to be.
I was pleasantly surprised with Wilfried Bony’s performance on Saturday too, not only did the Ivorian dispatch 2 deceptively difficult goals with relative ease, but he was also creating chances for his teammates left, right and centre.
I don’t think there was ever any doubt that the Ivorian has ability, as we saw him play to a high standard at Swansea and score the most Premier League goals in the calendar year of 2014, but for some reason he’ s found it difficult to settle in at his new club. Hopefully he’ll continue to form a partnership with Raheem Sterling like he did at the weekend, as the combination of Bony’s strength and Sterling’s pace has proven to be a deadly combination already and has the potential to cause lots of problems for other teams – so fingers crossed!
Finally, it might seem irrelevant now considering we won by 4 clear goals, but I think it’s worth mentioning how easy it was for Bournemouth to score in the first half. Glenn Murray was given far too much space on the edge of the box and we were rightly punished. Going into Wednesday’s game against Sevilla that’s slightly worrying because they’re good enough to be able to punish us much more severely than Eddie Howe’s side did, but hopefully Vincent Kompany’s return will bring some order back to our defence.
I’m glad that the myth we can only play well with the likes of Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Vincent Kompany in the side is now over, as when you’ve got players like Kevin de Bruyne (who, by the way, was my Man of the Match again on Saturday) and Yaya Toure in your side you have the potential to win any game – and we’ve got lots of other top players who can also punish teams – so there should be no excuses from now on!
Bring on Wednesday!