Erling Haaland scored his eighth goal in six Premier League matches as 10-man Manchester City extended their flawless start to the season with a 2-0 home win against Nottingham Forest from a bad-tempered encounter.
Despite having Rodri sent off a minute after the restart for appearing to grasp the neck of Morgan Gibbs-White, Pep Guardiola’s side defended diligently to match their most successful start to a top-flight season.
They also won six straight games in 2016 under the Spanish coach.
The European champions moved ahead at the Etihad when the outstanding Phil Foden finished off a stunning 46-pass attacking move by thumping the ball low into the net after being teed up by the rampaging Kyle Walker from a delightful Rodri pass over the top.
The second arrived seven minutes later when Norway forward Haaland timed his arrival perfectly to power home the delivery from Matheus Nunes after more wonderful creative work by Foden.
Morgan Gibbs-White was booked for his involvement in the Rodri red card on 46 minutes with VAR confirming referee Anthony Taylor had called it correctly. Taylor also booked another 10 men and a frustrated home coach Guardiola as the match turned uglier the longer it progressed.
Forest huffed and puffed to claw their way back, but lacked the clinical edge of the hosts despite having an extra man.
Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea are the only other team to win their first six Premier League matches of the season back in 2005 when they retained the title. It is difficult to see past City doing likewise this term.
Talking Point: Did Rodri deserve his red card?
You would have to say yes after VAR endorsed the decision of referee Anthony Taylor, who tried his best to keep the lid on a combustible affair that saw another 10 players and City manager Pep Guariola pick up bookings amid a general mood of frustration.
Rodri has been one of the outstanding form players in Europe this season, but should look back on his sending off for violent conduct, his first sending off in the Premier League, as a lesson in what happens when you lose your temper.
Morgan Gibbs-White was booked after his confrontation with the Spain midfielder and went to ground rather easily 27 seconds into the second period, but the City player left Taylor with no option when he opted to raise his hands towards the neck of Gibbs-White.
Physical confrontation beyond the laws of the game are from a bygone era and cannot be tolerated in the modern game. VAR merely acts as a support mechanism for match officials to validate their decision-making.
Rodri’s departure altered the nature of what had been a one-sided contest. He should thank his team-mates for progressing to claim another victory with some stout defensive work against a Forest side energised by the extra man.
Player of the match: Phil Foden (Manchester City)
Watching England manager Gareth Southgate must be delighted with the exuberant display of Foden in a Manchester City shirt after drinking in his majestic use of the ball from the stands at the Etihad.
Foden was completely on point in the first period in scoring a thrilling opening goal from a remarkable 46-pass sequence of moves before playing in Matheus Nunes to cross for Haaland’s second.
While the playmaker is elusive and sturdy on the ball, he also contributed to his team’s obvious work ethic when Rodri was sent off needlessly at the outset of the second half.
Could have added a third on the break with the 10 men pressed back, and it was unfortunate that he was not seen as an attacking threat as the home side were forced to alter their tactics.
Replaced by Jack Grealish in the closing moments, and fully deserved his standing ovation.
Manchester City: Ederson 7, Walker 8, Dias 8, Akanji 8, Gvardiol 7, Nunes 7, Rodri 5, Doku 7, Alvarez 7, Foden 9, Haaland 8 Subs: Phillips 7, Ake 7, Grealish 6, Gomez, Bobb, Lewis
Nottingham Forest: Turner 7, Tavares 6, Niakhate 6, Boly 6, Mangala 7, Aurier 6, Aina 6, Sangare 6, Dominguez 6, Gibbs-White 7, Awoniyi 7 Subs: Hudson-Odoi 6, Elanga 7, Origi 6, Montiel 6, Wood 6
7′ GOAL FOR CITY! Well, it was coming. Utter dominance as Kyle Walker gallops onto the ball over the top from Rodri. Laid back on a plate for Phil Foden and he thumps the ball low and hard into the corner of the net. A clinical move from City. And the home fans are loving that. They lead 1-0.
14′ MAKE THAT NO. 2 FOR THE EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS! This could end up a cricket score. Ruthless level of play. Foden to Nunes on the run and he holds the ball up with the cross for Haaland to power home the header. An eighth goal of the season in his sixth Premier League match. Stunning play.
19′ PEP GOES INTO THE BOOK The City manager seemed to launch a water bottle back in his technical area, and that does not go down well with referee Anthony Taylor, who brandishes the yellow card to Guardiola.
31′ GLORIOUS CHANCE FOR A THIRD Doku brilliantly plays in Alvarez this time a few yards from goal. Looked a certain third, but Boly makes a last-ditch block to prevent that shot from hitting the net. Forest living on the edge.
46′ CITY ARE REDUCED TO 10 MEN! Rodri has been sent packing by Anthony Taylor. Not sure what happened there. Did he hit his face? Arms around the neck of Morgan Gibbs-White seems to be the issue. Madness. VAR checks the decision. And stands by it. Wasn’t too much in it with Gibbs-White only too happy to go down, but City are reduced to 10.
58′ THIS GAME IN DANGER OF GETTING OUT OF HAND Has had a real edge to it since the restart with Taiwo Awoniyi chipping the ball over the bar when he seemed set to pull one back. The Forest forward then brushes heads with Ederson in the City goal. And Taylor books both men. Silly and needless, but Forest have certainly irked the champions.
80′ GLORIOUS CHANCE TO KILL IT FOR CITY Haaland a figure of frustration as he can’t get over the volley to convert the Ake ball across the face of goal. Just a bit too high, and the efforts flies high and wide.
86′ FOREST LACKING KILLER INSTINCT Origi played in by Elanga, but he rushes the shot as the goal opens up and hits it weakly at a few scrambling blue shirts. Sums it up really for Forest. Plenty of the ball, but not doing anything with it.
Source From: Eurosport – Top News – Football