Manchester City cruised to a 4-1 win over Club Brugge in the Champions League on matchday four without ever consistently getting out of second gear.
An early strike from Phil Foden was quickly cancelled out by a John Stones own goal, but further City goals from Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus ensure maximum points for Pep Guardiola’s team.
As was to be expected, City dominated the ball. Their lead was deserved when it came, with Joao Cancelo having already hit the post. Foden was a live wire in the penalty area and finished from Cancelo’s cross following an intense moment of City pressure.
But City didn’t stay ahead for very long. Stones was none the wiser when the ball cannoned off him into the net to put Brugge level, although he and his colleagues in the back four were all a little too passive in the build up, allowing the situation to unfold in the first place.
Passive is an apt way to describe much of the performance for an hour. By half-time, only one of nine shots from City had been on target. The crowd inside the Etihad Stadium was flat and no amount of pretty touches and short passes were able to breathe any life into the game.
That began to improve a little as the second half progressed, with City retaking the lead when Mahrez at the back post met another Cancelo cross. Not much earlier, Brugge had seen a good chance of their own go begging when Charles De Ketelaere went through and missed, highlighting the vital importance of the second goal for City when it came.
The game was over as a contest when Sterling made it 3-1 shortly after coming off the bench, an easy tap-in in the six yard box that had been crafted by Foden’s vision and Ilkay Gundogan’s run.
Home-grown youngster Cole Palmer could have made it four for City in the closing stages, seeing his low strike well pushed away by the familiar Simon Mignolet in Brugge’s goal. Jesus was also denied a late opportunity to extend the lead, but did take another in stoppage time to complete the rout.
Man City player ratings
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Ederson (GK) - 6/10 - Didn't have loads to do but distribution was excellent.
Kyle Walker (RB) - 5/10 - Lacked intensity when Brugge equalised.
John Stones (CB) - 5/10 - Unfortunate in the manner of his own goal but should have defended the situation in general much better.
Aymeric Laporte (CB) - 5/10 - Another who was too passive at the back.
Joao Cancelo (LB) - 8/10 - Undroppable at the moment. Started by hitting the post himself and assisted three of City's four goals.
Rodri (DM) - 6/10 - Easy night in possession as Brugge were prepared to let City have the ball and play on the counter attack.
Bernardo Silva (CM) - 7/10 - Looked eager to try and make something happen and became sharper as the game progressed.
Ilkay Gundogan (CM) - 7/10 - Intelligent, well-timed runs forward in the second half made City's attacking threat much sharper than it had been.
Riyad Mahrez (RW) - 7/10 - Scored a header at the far post to restore his team's lead at an important moment.
Phil Foden (ST) - 7/10 - Intelligent movement as the makeshift 'number nine' and was rewarded with his fifth goal of the season. Carved open the Brugge defence to create City's third goal.
Jack Grealish (LW) - 5/10 - Not enough of a meaningful impact.
Gabriel Jesus (LW) - 6/10 - Played all across the front when he came on and will be pleased with his late goal.
Raheem Sterling (RW) - 6/10 - An easy goal but showed good movement to offer a more consistent threat than there had been without him.
Kevin De Bruyne (CM) - 6/10 - Slotted in after coming off early last time out.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (LB) - 6/10 - Crucial minutes under his belt.
Cole Palmer (ST) - 6/10 - Looked eager to impress and could have scored.