Doku dazzles but Haaland injury scare mars City’s six-goal romp
MANCHESTER, United Kingdom (AFP)— Manchester City swept to the top of the Premier League as Jeremy Doku’s dazzling display inspired a 6-1 win against Bournemouth, but the champions’ rout was marred by Erling Haaland’s injury scare.
Pep Guardiola’s side ripped Bournemouth apart with three goals in seven minutes late in the first half at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Belgian winger Doku led the way as he scored the treble winners’ opener before setting up Bernardo Silva for the second.
Manuel Akanji deflected in Doku’s shot for City’s third goal and Phil Foden grabbed the fourth after the interval from another Doku assist.
Teed up by Doku yet again, Silva made it five and Nathan Ake completed the demolition job for City.
However, Guardiola will be sweating on Haaland’s fitness after the Norway striker was forced off at half-time following a first-half knock.
“Twist in the ankle. We didn’t want to take risks with him because he didn’t feel comfortable,” Guardiola said.
Haaland’s availability is uncertain for City’s Champions League clash with Young Boys on Tuesday and their Premier League trip to Chelsea next weekend.
“He’ll be back maybe Tuesday but maybe next Sunday. Hopefully not a big issue,” Guardiola said.
Saluting Doku, the City boss added: “He’s settled so quick. It’s not just today, all the games he played have been really good. He is an incredible threat.”
Since losing to title rivals Arsenal in October, City have reeled off four successive victories in all competitions — including three in the league — to show their hunger for silverware remains strong after last season’s incredible haul.
“This team surprise me a lot. After 11 games we are close. Top of the league, Champions League we have done what we need to do,” Guardiola said.
“The way we are training, the dedication and commitment, we have incredible captains leading.”
Guardiola’s men have now won every home game in all competitions in 2023 and sit one point clear of Tottenham.
Ange Postecoglou’s side will regain top spot if they beat Chelsea on Monday.
Under-fire Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola finally secured his first Premier League victory last weekend against Burnley.
But there was never any chance of Bournemouth making it two in a row as City laid seige to the Bournemouth goal, with Silva firing just over from the edge of the area.
Rodri’s low shot from a similar distance forced a save from Andrei Radu and Haaland was inches away from scoring the opener when he headed against the post from Julian Alvarez’s cross.
City’s dominance was finally rewarded in the 30th minute as Doku took possession on the edge of the area and played a one-two with Rodri before curling a fine finish past Radu.
Guardiola’s men doubled their lead three minutes later as Doku turned the provider.
Doku’s nimble footwork prised open the Bournemouth defence and Silva calmly converted his cut-back from close-range.
With the floodgates well and truly open, City continued the deluge of goals in the 37th minute.
Once again, Doku was the man at the centre of the action with a low 20-yard strike that took a hefty deflection off Akanji as it flashed past Radu.
Foden, on for Haaland, ensured City would not be destabilised by their striker’s departure as the England forward finished off Doku’s pass in the 64th minute.
Luis Sinisterra got one back for Bournemouth with a composed shot on the turn in the 74th minute.
But Silva blasted home from Doku’s superb long pass in the 83rd minute and Ake headed in five minutes later to cap City’s demolition.