- Jermey Doku registered four assists and a goal in City’s match against Bournemouth
- Teammate Rodri praised the positive impact Doku has brought to the team
- Is Erik ten Hag crazy at Man United? Listen to this It all starts
A week later they were still at it and still singing that Old Trafford is structurally unsound. It could well be the soundtrack to Manchester City’s season, that song. There were occasions when it filled all four sides of the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Of course, those lyrics wouldn’t have been coined if their old rivals hadn’t floundered so badly. City wouldn’t be singing about a leaky roof if Manchester United won games regularly.
It was heard shortly before Jeremy Doku opened Bournemouth for the first time and further suggested a widening rift between the two clubs in this part of the world.
Twelve games into his City career, Doku has already tripled the number of assists United winger Antony has provided in more than a year. Six plays two.
Twelve games into his City career, Jeremy Doku has already tripled the number of assists United winger Antony has provided in more than a year
Doku joined Manchester City from Rennes for £55 million, while Anthony cost Manchester United £82 million
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There were four here, matching the opening goal. It was the third Premier League match – after victories over West Ham and Brighton – that Doku grabbed by the horns.
It would take players a season or more to fully understand Pep Guardiola, but this man is bucking the trend. “It’s not normal,” Rodri said. ‘We are quite surprised. He has evolved to the way we play.”
Doku cost quite a bit of money, coming from Rennes for £55 million. A raw talent considered a calculated gamble. In that role, United spent £82 million on Antony. There can be no argument about who gets value for money and it is an example of how the two clubs are run.
“We had two or three options and the club decided – especially Txiki Begiristain – that this was a man we needed,” Guardiola said. The City boss suggested his sporting director would take charge, calling the 21-year-old the best option to offer the team specific skills – especially more pace and tricks in wide areas.
Guardiola often praises Begiristain. They are good friends who go back a long way. Yet there is also an important point of trust: an important reason why the manager stays on site.
United’s critics say they have no head of recruitment. They do, just without a coherent structure underneath. That’s why they overspend. That’s why they haven’t come close to players like City’s World Cup winner Julian Alvarez, who was picked up for just €14 million.
This is where we are now in Manchester: City are seamlessly developing their squad and creating an easy environment for new signings; United are putting unnecessary pressure on big-money signings who need time, such as £72m striker Rasmus Hojlund.
Phil Foden celebrates with Jeremy Doku, these are two young, bright sparks in the City side
It was a difficult day for Bournemouth as City stringed together several slick moves to score
Doku was on the bench for last week’s derby, with Jack Grealish on the left. But every time Doku produces a scintillating performance, the pressure on the Englishman to deliver increases. Not a bad thing for Guardiola.
“I want Jack to be angry,” Guardiola said. ‘And then Doku: be angry because he didn’t play the last game. This is the way to maintain consistency at that level. Jack is back. The way he played at Old Trafford gave us more composure, which was decisive for us.”
They can play together and did so excellently two weeks ago against tomorrow’s visitors Young Boys. Guardiola wants Doku to learn how to best operate on the right side, his natural side, and his colleagues have already noticed the difference he makes.
“Now we have a player with this ability that we didn’t really have in recent years,” Rodri said. “Maybe when Raz (Raheem Sterling) was here or Leroy Sane, these types of players, these fast players on the side. He is a happy boy and I am very proud of him.’
AGREEMENT FACTS AND ASSESSMENTS
MANSTAD (3-1-5-1): Ederson 6.5; Akanji 7, Stones 7 (Lewis 71min, 6), Ake 6.5; Rodri 8 (Phillips 71, 5); Walker 6.5, Silva 8.5 (Bobb 85), Alvarez 7.5 (Nunes 71, 5), Kovacic 6, Doku 9.5; Haaland 6.5 (Foden 46, 7).
Scorers: Doku 33, Silva 33, 83, Akanji 37, Foden 64, Ake 88.
Manager: Pep Guardiola7
Bournemouth (5-4-1): Radu 6; Aarons 6, Mepham 5 (Senesi 46, 6.5), Zabarnyi 6, Kelly 6.5, Kerkez 5.5; Christie 6, Scott 5 (Rothwell 44, 7), Billing 6 (Semenyo 71, 6), Tavernier 5 (Sinisterra 72, 7); Solanke 6 (Kluivert 85).
Scorer: Sinisterra 74.
Manager: Andoni Iraola6.
Referee: Craig Pawson6.