A double from Sergio Aguero saw Manchester City extend their advantage at the Premier League summit to 13 points with a comprehensive victory over Bournemouth. The Argentinian’s opener was his 100th goal at the Etihad Stadium and it put the Cityzens on course for their 17th successive top-flight victory.
Aguero added another after the interval along with strikes by Raheem Sterling and substitute Danilo, which condemned the Cherries to back-to-back 4-0 defeats. City, who have only dropped two points all season, now surely have an insurmountable lead at the top of the table. Bournemouth, however, have slipped into the relegation zone. Here are three talking points…
Are Manchester City the Premier League’s best ever?
Another day, another victory for this seemingly untouchable City outfit, who produced another scintillating display of football. Their record of 18 wins and one draw from 19 matches, in a league as competitive as England’s top-flight, is scarcely believable and the destination of the title is all but assured.
It was Sterling’s 97th-minute winner in the reverse fixture against Bournemouth back in August that started this incredible winning sequence. Who could have predicted that, four months later, they would not have dropped a single point and be on course to break all records?
Pundits are already speculating that Pep Guardiola’s charges are the best ever in the Premier League. There’s quite some competition for that accolade, namely Sir Alex Ferguson’s treble-winning side of 1998/99 and Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ from 2003/04. All will be revealed in May, but there is no doubt City have the potential to emulate both those famous teams.
Free-falling Bournemouth are deep in trouble
These are troubling times for Cherries supporters. The club’s winless run now stands at seven Premier League matches, a sequence which has seen them tumble into the bottom three. The fixture list has not been kind to them, having also played Liverpool and Manchester United in the past fortnight.
Once again, Eddie Howe’s troops were brushed aside by a superior team in all departments. Low on confidence and now with injuries to key players including Jermain Defoe and Junior Stanislas, Howe may be forced to dip into the transfer market, despite previously saying he believed the squad was strong enough to fight a relegation battle.
Bournemouth’s most pressing concern is a lack of goals. It’s in stark contrast to the previous two seasons under Howe, where entertainment at both ends was never in short supply. Upcoming games against West Ham United, Everton and Brighton & Hove Albion could go a long way to determining their fate.
Aguero issues a timely reminder to Pep Guardiola
Rumours that Aguero’s days at City are numbered have persisted for some time. Guardiola has preferred Gabriel Jesus in the important matches, such as the recent Manchester derby, but the 29-year-old sharpshooter showed yet again that his goalscoring prowess should not be underestimated.
Despite limited game-time, Aguero now has 12 goals this season – four more than the Brazilian – at a quicker rate than anyone in the top goalscorers’ chart. He was far too good for Bournemouth and he cashed in with two goals to take his tally at the Etihad Stadium to 101. It is a marvellous record that deserves recognition.
Whether Aguero is a Manchester City player next season remains to be seen, but he is a folk hero at the club and will always be remembered for his part in the astonishing last-ditch victory over Queens Park Rangers in 2012, which secured their first Premier League title.