Manchester City toyed with their prey at the Etihad on Saturday. They did not humiliate them with an avalanche of goals. They contented themselves with a mere four. They did not tear them to pieces. They played with them like a cat who has a mouse it cannot be bothered to kill.
They made intricate patterns with their passes and their movement and they kept the ball for minutes at a time, making Bournemouth chase and sweat and harry. Eddie Howe packed his midfield as tightly as sardines in a tin, all in vain. City did not move out of first gear. They did not need to.
They picked them off four times, punishing a mistake on the first occasion and relying on a sublime piece of creative skill by Sergio Aguero on the second before finishing them off with two clinical late finishes. Aguero is supposed to be discontented at City. If even the unhappy ones play like this, the rest of the league is in even deeper trouble than we thought.