Despite a long injury list and a manager who has only been with the club for three weeks, Sunderland were rather unfortunate not to take a point from the Etihad. It isn’t that they really deserved anything from the game, it’s just that City hardly ran away with it.

Whilst it is true that City were also without players as new signings Leroy Sané and Ilkay Gundogan were both injured, it is also true to say that City have never missed these two players before, so shouldn’t do so now. They were bought to add something to the team not take something away when they don’t play! They were also without Vincent Kompany, as usual, and Nicolas Otamendi, so John Stones made his debut alongside new centre back Aleksander Kolarov.

David Moyes has added three from Manchester United in Donald Love and Paddy McNair on a permanent basis and Adnan Januzaj on a season long loan.

Of the three only Love started the game and he had a reasonable debut. Both McNair and Januzaj came on as second half substitutes and also fared quite well. McNair was very unfortunate to score the winner for City with an own goal it would have been difficult to avoid scoring.

Prior to this City had scored after three minutes thanks to a Sergio Agüero penalty, rightly awarded for a foul on Raheem Sterling and then Jermaine Defoe had equalised in the second half.

Despite their superiority City huffed and puffed their way through the game and, although they had far more possession than Sunderland, they didn’t look like scoring. That situation changed of course when McNair scored the own goal and, by this time, Moyes had taken off Defoe so Sunderland’s potential for another equaliser was dramatically reduced.

Pep Guardiola will be over the moon that he has won his first game in charge. He has seen his players in a competitive game for the first time as manager and now knows exactly where some of the work needs to be done.

Down in Bournemouth Jose Mourinho picked Juan Mata and left out Henrikh Mkhitaryan. As expected, last season’s worst player, Wayne Rooney, unfathomably, kept his place and was selected to play alongside/just behind Zlatan Ibrahimović.

In a relatively uneventful first half United just shaded possession and took the lead through Juan Mata when the Bournemouth defence made a mess of a simple back pass. Other than that the best chance fell to Rooney who, instead of blasting the ball into the net, lamely passed it back to the Bournemouth goalkeeper. In fact he caused a slightly bigger problem for De Gea with another pass back a little later in the half.

Half-time and it was 0-1 to United.

As is usually the case the home team came out for the second half with renewed purpose and looked quite threatening for about three minutes. United came to terms with this and increased their lead after an hour. Martial tried an ambitious volley which he hit straight into the ground. The ball bounced very fortuitously to the head of Rooney and he placed it well into the net.

Not to be outdone, within five minutes Ibrahimović took on a 25 yard shot which found the bottom corner and it was 0-3. He had earlier had an excellent free-kick very well saved by Artur Boruc and was starting to enjoy himself.

Bournemouth did pull a goal back through Smith but, at this stage, United were not to be caught and it proved to be too little too late.

Mhkitaryan managed to get on for the last fifteen minutes when he replaced guess who? Correct, Juan Mata. Then, six minutes from time, Schneiderlin came on for Martial to ensure that the back door remained firmly closed. Even Memphis Depay got on the field for the last two minutes, when Rooney was taken off.

By this time the game was over and all that remained was for the players to stay injury free and start thinking about next Friday’s game against Southampton.

So, all in all, a good weekend was had by the two clubs from Manchester.


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