By Danny Lewis - (@DannyLewis_95)
Manchester City proved too good for AFC Bournemouth on Monday night, leaving the South Coast with all three points after a clinical performance.
The Cherries acquitted themselves brilliantly against a strong City team, but a Raheem Sterling strike and a Tyrone Mings own goal earned the visitors a 2-0 win.
Both sides had early injuries, as Gabriel Jesus was forced off after just 14 minutes, with Simon Francis following him off the pitch less than 10 minutes later, seemingly due to a collision between the pair in the opening minutes.
However, the injuries didn’t impact the quality of the game and just before the 30th minute mark, Raheem Sterling opened the scoring by pouncing on a ball sent across goal by Leroy Sane. The German winger ran down the line, beat Adam Smith and fired the ball across goal. It got to Sterling with a bit of help from a deflection off Steve Cook and Sterling was able to put it past Boruc at the back post to make it 1-0 to Manchester City.
There was controversy just after that as Bournemouth thought they had equalised through a Josh King strike, after some great work down the right from Jordon Ibe. However, the referee pulled it back, seemingly for a pull on Yaya Toure.
There was another injury scare just before half time for the home side, as Jack Wilshere limped off to be replaced by Benik Afobe. The sides went in to the half time break soon after with City still 1-0 up.
The Cherries fought gallantly in the second half, but in the end it wasn’t enough as Manchester City doubled their lead in the 68th minute. Sterling danced past Adam Smith before sending a ball across goal and Sergio Aguero beat Tyrone Mings to it to guide it in. To rub salt in the wounds, it went down as an own goal after coming off the defender’s boot.
Manchester City used their class to take control of the game and help see it out. The Cherries had a few half chances but no real opportunities. City had more clear cut chances in the remainder of the game but were not able to convert any of them. Both sides will be happy with their performances, but Manchester City just overpowered Bournemouth in the end.
This result extends Bournemouth’s winless run to seven games and leaves them just six points above the relegation zone in 14th place. However, Eddie Howe felt this performance could help their return to form: “It’s a really important characteristic for the team that we get our bounce back. I think that will only truly come from a win, but I think today is a positive step forward for the team.”
Manchester City on the other hand have gone up to second and Pep Guardiola was pleased with the win, but also had praise for Bournemouth: “Their momentum is not good in terms of results but they play good in that term [of quality] so that’s why I’m so pleased about the performance.”
The Cherries’ next fixture is away at West Brom on the 25th while City are away to Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup on the 18th.
AFC Bournemouth (4-2-3-1)
Boruc; A. Smith, Francis (Mings 23), S. Cook, Daniels; Arter, Surman; Fraser, Wilshere (Afobe 45+3), Ibe (Pugh 76); King
Manchester City (4-3-3)
Caballero; Sagna, Stones, Kolarov Fernandinho; De Bruyne, Toure (Otamendi 70), Silva; Sterling (90+2), Jesus (Aguero 14), Sane
MAN OF THE MATCH
He was dangerous from the first to the last minute and it was his ingenuity and skill which set up City’s first goal. The former Borussia Monchengladbach winger has been growing into the Premier League and this performance shows just how useful he can be for his new club.