Premier League - Dzeko bags four in rout of Spurs
Manchester City underlined their growing title credentials as four brilliant goals from Edin Dzeko, and a hat-trick of assists from debutant Samir Nasri, inspired them to a sensational 5-1 victory over Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
City continued their 100 per cent start to the season with a performance full of menace and quality, with Nasri settling immediately into the side following his move from Arsenal. In his first half of football in a City shirt, the Frenchman twice teed up Dzeko for expert finishes inside the box.
Dzeko completed a perfect hat-trick when tapping home from Yaya Toure's cross from close range as City continued their evisceration of a Spurs side that had included Chelsea target Luka Modric from the start.
Nasri then played in Sergio Aguero for a fine fourth and, although Spurs responded through a header from Younes Kaboul, the lasting image was that of Nasri, Dzeko, Aguero and David Silva dovetailing magnificently for a side that must have real aspirations of securing the title this season.
Dzeko applied the final touch with a quite brilliant goal in injury time as he exchanged passes with Gareth Barry and then bent a perfect shot into the far corner of the net from outside the box.
Nasri, signed for a fee of £24 million from Arsenal this week, was placed straight into the starting line-up, with James Milner sacrificed and Toure dropping deeper than usual to play in the holding role. It was a daring approach from a manager often maligned for a negative streak last season, and Roberto Mancini was repaid handsomely.
Nasri and David Silva struck up an immediate understanding and the Spaniard, looking to score for the third game in succession, twice tested Brad Friedel in the first half, with the American doing well to turn the second around the post.
Spurs had also set up in an attacking shape, with Modric and Niko Kranjcar in the engine room of their midfield, and created chances themselves. Rafael van der Vaart was a constant threat as he forced Joe Hart into an excellent save at his near post and then almost netted with a lovely curling free-kick that bend unexpectedly round the 'wrong' side of the wall.
Gareth Bale impressed intermittently and missed a superb chance after 26 minutes when Peter Crouch flicked on a cross from Aaron Lennon and the Welshman blasted his shot off target at the back post. Later he turned provider, a wonderful cross finding Crouch at the back post, who sent a diving header just wide.
But it was City, who saw Barry almost score a stunning effort from range for the second game in succession, who took a firm grip of the game thanks to the combination of Nasri and Dzeko.
After 34 minutes, Nasri combined well with Gael Clichy down the left before exchanging passes with Aguero and bursting into the box. His cross picked out Dzeko, who raised his boot to direct the ball past Brad Friedel with his studs on the volley.
Inside seven minutes they had done it again. This time Spurs were caught on the break as Toure spread the ball out wide to Nasri. The Frenchman lofted the ball in for Dzeko and the Bosnian held off Kaboul before arching his neck and directing a quite brilliant header back across goal and out of the reach of Friedel.
The Bosnia international secured his hat-trick within ten minutes of the restart, and it came following another lovely move. Aguero slipped in Toure with a clever pass and the Ivorian squared for Dzeko, who had only to tap home from close range.
After Dzeko had his hat-trick of goals, it was time for Nasri to claim a hat-trick of assists. On 60 minutes the midfielder prodded a pass down the line for Aguero, who accelerated, held off Michael Dawson and rifled his shot past Friedel for a lovely individual goal.
Spurs finally responded after conceding a fourth and substitute Jermain Defoe forced Hart into making a couple of smart stops. On 68 minutes, they pulled a goal back when Kaboul leapt to meet a corner and planted a header past the City keeper, who complained he was obstructed.
Any chance of a remarkable comeback was quickly quashed when Van der Vaart suffered a muscle strain. Spurs had already used their allotted three substitutes so found themselves own to ten men, and the Dutchman showed his frustration by belting a ball down the tunnel.
Spurs had been overwhelmed, and their misery was complete in injury time when Dzeko became the first Manchester City player to score four goals in a Premier League game. His finish into the top corner was simply sublime and took his tally for the season to six in three games.