An intermittently chaotic match, dotted with occasionally terrifying defending by City, a one-man Bournemouth battering ram in Joshua King and a series of escaped red cards for prehistoric tackling, ended with Raheem Sterling bagging the strangest of winners in the 97th minute of Mike Dean’s five added on. The scorer was then sent off for celebrating too hard. It was nothing if not eventful.
The old refrain born under Roberto Mancini that “City fight till the end” could have been used here, although the painful penchant for passing instead of shooting meant the fight — for what it was worth — was often coming at Bournemouth horizontally across the pitch.
City’s defence, only two of them for most of this shuddering spectacle, succeeded in being totally befuddled by the direct running of one man, Joshua King. Every time the man mountain, home attacker ran at Nicolas Otamendi, the casual onlooker got the feeling something awful might happen.
Manager rating out of 10
7 — Chose to field a side so stacked towards scoring goals that City could afford only two defenders for much of the first half. With overwhelming pass and possession stats, that boded well, but the truth of the matter was a scarcely deserved win attained in the most comical, ramshackle way possible.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating.)
GK Ederson Moraes, 7 — Might as well have been in the crowd watching Charlie Daniels’ opener. The shot went in off the underside of the bar and never, from the moment it left his left foot, did it look possible to get anywhere near it, let alone save it. The Brazilian did make a crucial stop just after, diving alertly to stop Jermain Defoe’s crisp shot and was alert and in charge.
DF Vincent Kompany, 6 — Shaky start, getting caught in possession by Defoe, then heading straight to Daniels for the Bournemouth man’s rocket-assisted goal. Yellow card for blocking the marauding King as he came charging through the middle in the second half.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 6 — Hectic afternoon, trying to play the passing game his manager wants. One such effort put Fernandinho in trouble, ending with King’s shot onto the post. Booked for an agricultural challenge on Defoe, he finished his day at the other end with a header onto the inside of the post.
MF Fernandinho, 7 — Early work to block King’s effort and head away a dangerous corner. Tidy and dependable performer, until put in trouble by Otamendi’s overhit pass, which gave possession away for a Bournemouth effort onto the post.
MF Danilo, 6 — First touch was a loose pass from short distance that did not find its target. Sensibly ducked under Daniels’ shot for the opener and did most of his better work pushed well up the field. Tendency for cautious forward balls let him down.
MF Benjamin Mendy, 7 — Interesting debut for the left wing-back, with a succession of excellent low balls in from the wing. One — full on the volley — that flashed just past Gabriel Jesus, was a cracker. As the joker of City’s pack, he will have enjoyed the comical finish to his first game in England that saw him in the thick of the celebrations.
MF David Silva, 8 — First opportunity to slide in one of his front-runners came for the equaliser and it was worth waiting for. Delivered a pinpoint pass that Jesus only had to run onto and hit. Kept things ticking when all seemed lost.
MF Bernardo Silva, 8 — An excellent full debut from the Portuguese, popping up all over the pitch and showing an ability to get out of extremely tight situations. Target of plenty of heavy tackling in the first half, he faded in the second and was replaced by Sergio Aguero.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 7 — Plugged away despite having a poor time of it to start with. Overhit passes littered his first half, which saw him playing deep to make room for the wandering Bernardo. Came into it more and more in the second period where he became more influential.
MF Raheem Sterling, 6 — Was having an ineffectual game, but made himself memorable with a strangely hit winner at the death. Red card for enjoying himself too much.
FW, Gabriel Jesus, 7 — A goal for his efforts but he was targeted by some extremely rough tackling that went unpunished by Mike Dean. Replaced by Leroy Sane after 82 minutes.
FW Sergio Aguero, 6 — Arrived as a 66th minute replacement for the wilting Bernardo and managed a number of efforts on goal, giving the home defence fresh problems to deal with.
MF Leroy Sane, NR — Replaced Gabriel Jesus on 82 minutes. Just enough time to watch the game come to its slapstick climax.
DF John Stones, NR — Possibly the Premier League’s first-ever 100th minute substitute.
Simon is one of ESPN FC’s Manchester City bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @bifana_bifana.