Sergio Aguero scored twice as reigning champions Manchester City moved up to second in the Premier League with a convincing victory at Bournemouth.
Despite the odd defensive lapse, it was a largely comfortable afternoon for Pep Guardiola’s side, who are now two points behind leaders Liverpool.
His City team quickly established control, with Argentina forward Aguero turning Kevin de Bruyne’s cross into the bottom left corner from eight yards.
And Raheem Sterling doubled their advantage with his fifth goal in as many matches, flicking a shot beyond Cherries keeper Aaron Ramsdale after a fine David Silva pass.
While Bournemouth rallied and substitute Harry Wilson’s superb 25-yard free-kick raised hopes of a fight-back, Aguero pounced for City’s third after more good work from Silva.
The 31-year-old emphatically finished from 10 yards to record his 400th career goal.
It ensured Bournemouth, who drop to 10th place, continued a miserable run against City that has seen them concede 28 times in their last nine league meetings.
If Sterling and Aguero were responsible for City’s goals, it was the 33-year-old Silva who set the tone for their victory in his 400th league appearance for the club.
While Sterling, 24, who scored his 11th goal against the Cherries, represents City’s future, Silva almost 10 years his senior, is in his final season in Manchester.
But this performance showed his enduring ability to carve open opposition defences – a talent that has underpinned a trophy-laden period – is still as priceless as ever.
Nicknamed ‘Merlin’ by the club’s supporters, the 2010 World Cup winner initiated City’s opening goal with a couple of neat passes to spread the ball wide before Aguero dispatched the simplest of finishes.
His brilliance then fashioned City’s second.
Operating in the space between midfield and attack, Silva swivelled to receive possession and delivered a sublime pass into the path of Sterling in one motion, allowing the England forward to poke the ball past Ramsdale from six yards.
His control looked to have drawn a penalty from Jefferson Lerma, however VAR deemed there was not enough evidence to overturn the original call from referee Andre Marriner not to award the spot-kick.
Not that it mattered. Moments later Silva collected the ball on the left of the Cherries’ penalty area and weaved away from two defenders before the ball broke to Aguero, to seal victory.
Eddie Howe’s side won just two of their 12 matches against top-six opponents last term and it was always going to be difficult for Bournemouth to improve on that record against the champions.
The sweltering south coast conditions probably did not help, as the hosts chased shadows in the first 30 minutes with City dominating possession.
However, much of that could be attributed to Bournemouth’s own errant passing and Howe will have been heartened his side responded and did not capitulate against the champions.
The Cherries even had a measure of control in the 10 minutes either side of half-time, when Charlie Daniels’ knee injury prompted a reshuffle of personnel and the introduction of their scorer Harry Wilson.
His effort that flew into the top right corner was far from an isolated attempt at goal.
Nathan Ake miscued a volley after Steve Cook’s long throw, while Adam Smith blazed a glorious chance over the City bar from six yards, after being presented with the ball by visiting defender Nicolas Otamendi.
Callum Wilson also drew a save from Ederson as Bournemouth continued to press though, in the end, that proved scant consolation.