- Bradley Price
Review and Player Ratings as City look back to their best - Bournemouth 1-4 Manchester City
Manchester City produced a performance more like that of their usual standards as Alvarez, Haaland and Foden all found themselves on the scoresheet picking up vital 3 points to keep the pressure on league leaders Arsenal.
Pep Guardiola made numerous changes to face Bournemouth from the side that drew away to RB Leipzig in midweek. Rico Lewis came in for Kyle Walker at right back, Phil Foden returned to the starting XI again replacing Riyad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez replaced Bernardo Silva. Ederson took his usual position in goals with a back four of Rico Lewis, Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake. Rodri sat just in front of the defence in midfield with Ilkay Gundogan to his side. Jack Grealish started out on the left with Phil Foden out on the right and Julian Alvarez started just behind Haaland upfront. City started the game as they often do by dominating possession and controlling the flow of play. Bournemouth mainly sat deep in their own box preventing City from finding space in the final third while attempting to counter at any opportunity. It didn't take long to see Pep's comments about how City squad had to look to find Haaland coming into play as the first near chance came as Ruben Dias fired a ball long for Haaland to run onto but the keeper beat the Norwegian to the ball on this occasion.
With the first big chance of the game came City's first goal of the game as Rico Lewis put in an impressive, strong challenge to win the ball back for City leading to Haaland having his attempt deflected onto the bar but then landing directly at the feet of Julian Alvarez who fires home. 1-0 City. It was evident to see all throughout the first half that Pep had emphasised to the players the importance of utilising Haaland and his strengths more in games and the City players spotted and tried to play through Haaland while he made his usual runs far more often than we have seen in recent games. This did however seemingly reduce the control that Pep all to often emphasises the importance of and City did, for a period, look a little unsettled defensively as the hosts tried to bring themselves back level. But, it was City who found themselves doubling their lead first, as in the 29th minute Gundogan's lovely run behind was spotted before playing the ball across the box to Foden who again squares the ball for Erling Haaland who fires home to double City's lead. 2-0 City.
The rest of the first half then continued with much of the same City dominance with some impressive defending from Dias as well as Lewis, along with Ederson saving Bournmouth's first shot on target all contributing to maintaining City's lead but City weren't done yet as Foden found himself punishing a loose pass at the back from Bournemouth before firing it past the keeper to further increase City's lead. 3-0 City. City looked to get straight back to it at the start of the second half immediately putting Bournemouth under constant pressure right from the off which soon bared fruit as Julian Alvarez fired the ball goal wards to earn City's fourth but unfortunately for the young Argentine the goal was credited as an own goal. 4-0 City. Pep took the opportunity provided by City's lead to get some minutes in for Kalvin Phillips and Sergio Gomez as they replaced Rodri and Gundogan in the 54th minute with Gomez, interestingly, being put to play in midfield. Maximo Perrone also was given his Manchester City debut as he replaced Haaland in the 72nd minute with Mahrez also replacing Grealish. The rest of the second half was much the same, albeit a little slower, after the substitutions but City did continue to majorly control the game with the next major event coming in the 80th minute as the City fans looked in awe......as Pep Guardiola made his 5th substitution of the night when Ake replaced with Kyle Walker.
Bournemouth did manage to earn themselves a goal in the 83rd minute denying City a clean sheet and Ederson his 100th premier league clean sheet for City for yet another game. The final minutes of the second half played out without many major chances, Bournemouth did have the occasional dangerous attack but City managed to limit them to just the one goal. Perrone also looked very positive on his debut and definitely not out of place in the middle for City which will be a great positive for the future if Pep is required to call on him. A really positive result for City with an especially dominant performance in the first half. There were also some really positive appearances from some of City's more fringe players and hopefully this will be the spark that Pep Guardiola's men need to build up some momentum as they look forward the the most important section of the season.
Man of the Match A really tough one to call this game with many players playing fantastically but Ilkay Gundogan was the man in the middle today making everything tick. During the truly dominant first half Gundogan was involved in nearly every part of play from finding runs to making them himself he was pivotal in Pep's plan and played his role perfectly.
Player Ratings Ederson - 7 Lewis - 8 Dias - 8 Akanji - 7 Ake - 7 Rodri - 7 Gundogan - 8 Grealish - 7 Foden - 8 Alvarez - 8 Haaland - 7 Substitutions: Gomez - 6, Phillips - 6, Perrone - N/A, Mahrez - N/A, Walker - N/A
Written by: @BPFoden_
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