Manchester City 3-1 AFC Bournemouth
I don’t think any Premier League fan worth his salt expected anything else out of this Manchester City-Bournemouth match.
While the Cherries have overperformed this season, the fact of the matter is that City have the better team than their south coast guests. Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane were especially outstanding in a game that didn’t see club hero Sergio Aguero take to the pitch.
Highlights of the game
The Sky Blues were the obvious favourites coming into this game, and only a few expected the possible Premier League 2018 results of this game going against the league leaders. City’s starting XI is still incredibly strong even though Sergio Aguero, the hero behind City’s Champions League draw with Lyon, was listed in the team.
Eddie Howe understood just how talented of a squad Pep Guardiola has and decided to start with five at the back. Lanky defender Tyrone Mings joined Steve Cook, Nathan Ake, Steve Francis and Charlie Daniels in their attempt to keep the hosts from scoring as much as possible.
The Cherries tried their hand in scoring early in order to put Manchester City in unfamiliar territory. Both Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser tried to score in the first minutes of the game, but the superb City defence prevented anything from happening in favour of the Cherries.
However, Manchester City soon showcased their dominance over their guests in the 16th minute. A long pass saw Sadio Mane with the ball inside the box. He tried to fire a shot, but Asmir Begovic managed to block the shot. However, Bernardo Silva got to the rebound first and scored the opener towards a relatively open goal.
The game began to swing in City’s favour as the Sky Blues began to pound the Cherries’ goal again and again. Ilkay Gundogan, Danilo and Raheem Sterling were especially dangerous during the half as they tried to double their lead.
However, it wasn’t like the south coast visitors were simply taking things without trying their own brand of attacking football. Fraser and Josh King tried their best to push the ball down the wings whenever they had the ball, but the Man City backline was just too strong.
Callum Wilson rises for the header and scores the equaliser before the end of first half
The Cherries would soon get their equaliser right as the first half was winding down. Simon Francis was with the ball on the right wing, and he launched a nice lob towards the box. Callum Wilson leapt high and headed the ball past Ederson’s reach. The England international, who should have gotten his call-up years ago, showed just why the Cherries have been successful this season.
The first half ended in a tie, but City played with renewed purpose in the second half. The Cherries almost weren’t able to hold the football as City upped the ante in the reset. Sterling and Danilo almost scoring during the 54th and 57th minute, respectively. Sterling, Bournemouth’s bogeyman, was soon able to retake the lead in the 57th minute after getting the rebound and firing towards the right corner.
The match continued and City showed off the quality of their squad by bringing in quality players. Fabian Delph, David Silva, and Riyad Mahrez were all superb substitutes that seemingly only improved City’s XI with their entrance.
Silva, in particular, was instrumental in securing Manchester City’s third and final goal. From a corner, Silva passed the ball deep inside the Bournemouth box to Sane, and the young German made a quick pass to Gundogan. The former Borussia Dortmund man then slotted the ball past the Bournemouth defence for the winner.
The Cherries tried to salvage another late consolation goal, but City cannot be stopped when they play such dominant football. The game lived up to the script set by the Premier League 2018 odds, and Bournemouth leave the Etihad Stadium with a bitter taste in their mouths.
Manchester City played outstanding football to the point that they didn’t allow Bournemouth to touch the football at all. They held the Cherries to 27% possession through the game. They were especially brutal in the second frame as their guests only had 22% of the football. Begovic was quite busy with his three saves, but the final score showcased that the five-man backline didn’t do much in stopping Man City.
However, it’s not all gloomy for Bournemouth fans. Callum Wilson has been involved in 12 Bournemouth goals in his last 15 Premier League appearances. He was also the first forward to score against Manchester City in open play in the PL this season. He is definitely the pick among the Cherries this season.
Pep Guardiola and Eddie Howe talking after the match
Manchester City’s continued dominance in the league isn’t likely to stop any time soon. Pep’s team will face Watford up next in a game that they should dominate with ease. Chelsea on December 9th will be quite a challenge for them, but I think the Sky Blues have the quality to triumph over Maurizio Sarri’s Blues.
Meanwhile, Bournemouth will be hoping to snap their four-game losing skid against Huddersfield Town. After all, their opponents after the Terriers are Liverpool, and I don’t think Eddie Howe’s team has what it takes to stop them.
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