Manchester City put consecutive defeats behind them to claim a comfortable first win of the season, thumping Norwich 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
Jack Grealish scored his first City goal following his £100m record transfer from Aston Villa, a scruffy goal he appeared to know little about as it ricocheted off his leg into the net at the far post.
The reigning champions, who were beaten by Leicester in the Community Shield and then lost their Premier League opener against Tottenham last week, were dominant from the start against a Canaries side that were their own worst enemy by naively playing far too open.
Rigidly sticking to their philosophy, Norwich were determined to a play possession-based game and were swarmed by sky blue shirts, who easily won the ball back and kept it far better.
City zipped the ball about with ease throughout the 90 minutes and Grealish and Gabriel Jesus, operating on the flanks, were always sources of danger.
An early own goal from Tim Krul started the scoring and the game was effectively over a contest within half an hour. After Grealish had doubled the advantage, Aymeric Laporte, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez all scored in the second half to wrap up the 5-0 win.
Here’s a closer look at how both sets of players performed…
Ederson (GK) 6/10: Alert when he needed to be but mostly a spectator.
Kyle Walker (RB) 7/10: Split the Norwich defence with an incisive pass to create City’s fourth goal.
Ruben Dias (CB) 7/10: Not tasked with anything noteworthy defensively but deserves credit for the vision to assist City’s fifth goal with a measured long pass over the top.
Aymeric Laporte (CB) 7/10: Handed a start in place of the rested John Stones and got on the scoresheet early in the second half with a tidy reactive finish.
Joao Cancelo (LB) 6/10: Looked sharp with his movement in the first half in particular.
Rodri (DM) 7/10: Patrolled the base of midfield and ensured Norwich couldn’t create anything.
Ilkay Gundgan (CM) 6/10: Played just under 70 minutes and will have much tougher challenges ahead.
Bernardo Silva (CM) 6/10: Relatively quiet compared to City’s other creative talents.
Gabriel Jesus (RW) 9/10: Very effective from his role on the right flank and looked really up for the game. Caused the own goal to open the scoring and got two more assists. Later switched to the left.
Ferran Torres (ST) 6/10: Posed a threat as City’s ‘number nine’ and had a sharp and clinical finish ruled out by VAR for an incident earlier in the passage of play.
Jack Grealish (LW) 7/10: His first goal for his new club wasn’t pretty but it will take a weight off his shoulders. Saw plenty of the ball and this will have boosted his confidence.
Raheem Sterling (ST) 7/10: Replaced Torres in a central role after an hour and was rewarded with a goal. His clever movement also dragged the Norwich defence out of position for City’s fifth.
Cole Palmer (CM) 7/10: Handed a Premier League debut for the final 25 minutes and looked at ease knocking the ball about and creating openings.
Riyad Mahrez (RW) 7/10: A darting run in from the right was rewarded with a pinpoint long pass and the Algerian duly obliged with City’s fifth goal of the day.
Tim Krul (GK) 5/10: Arguably unlucky to have turned the ball into his own net for the opener but looked shaky in a number of situations after that.
Max Aarons (RB) 5/10: Struggled to contain Grealish. Did drive forward on occasion.
Grant Hanley (CB) 4/10: A very difficult afternoon started early when his attempted clearance ricocheted off Krul into the net.
Ben Gibson (CB) 4/10: Too easily outsmarted by Sterling when City scored the fifth goal and generally struggled against rapid movement.
Dimitris Giannoulis (LB) 4/10: Willing to get forward when Norwich did have the ball but was given a torrid time by Jesus. Withdrawn at half-time.
Pierre Lees-Melou (CM) 5/10: Off the pace in midfield as City dominated.
Billy Gilmour (CM) 5/10: Would have preferred more time on the ball but it was always going to be a very difficult afternoon against the quality of the champions.
Lukas Rupp (CM) 4/10: Really struggled to gain a foothold in midfield and only lasted 45 minutes.
Todd Cantwell (RW) 5/10: Skilful on the ball when he had it but City’s intense pressing meant he was always under pressure when trying to make something happen for his team.
Teemu Pukki (ST) 5/10: Spent most of his time without the ball and was completely starved of meaningful service.
Milot Rashica (LW) 4/10: Disappointing performance. Poor in the first half and anonymous in the second.
Bali Mumba (LB) 5/10: Brought on at half-time to try and stem the flow from City’s right flank better than Giannoulis. Did okay but was too slow to react to Mahrez’s run for the fifth goal.
Kenny McLean (CM) 4/10: Did no better than Rupp, who he replaced at half-time.
Josh Sargent (ST) N/A: Had a thankless task of leading the line in the final stages when his team were already 4-0 down.