Phil Foden's first-half strike proved enough to give City a hard-fought 1-0 win against Bournemouth.

The Blues struck on 24 minutes after fine work by Erling Haaland, who saw his shot parried into Foden‘s path and the England star swept the ball home.

Though City dominated most of the first half, Bournemouth came on strongly after the break and had two chances cleared off the line.

The home side fought to the final whistle and will feel they should have perhaps earned a rare point against their jinx side who have now won all 14  Premier League meetings against them.

What happened?

It was evident from the opening few minutes that Andoni Iraola is shaping an organised, physical, and hard-working side.

The hosts pressed high with aggression, but City soon found some rhythm and should have taken the lead with just nine minutes played.

A long ball forward was delightfully volleyed into Haaland’s path by Foden and as the Norwegian advanced on goal, it was hard to imagine anything but the home side’s net bulging – but from 20 yards out he curled a shot wide of the post.

Two minutes later, Ederson made a fine save to push Milo Kerkez’s powerful angled shot over the bar.

The Blues had largely been in control with Foden a constant threat, dictating play and creating chances for his team-mates, so when City finally took the lead. on 24 minutes, it was no surprise that it was the England playmaker who made the breakthrough.

Mateo Kovacic spotted Haaland’s clever dart into the box, chipped the ball towards him and the big No.9 expertly held off the challenge off his marker, fired a shot in and though keeper Neto pushed the shot out, Foden was first to the loose ball to score his 16th goal of an already magnificent season.

Bernardo almost doubled the Blues’ lead three minutes, curling a shot wide from 10 yards out after several efforts from his team-mates had been blocked.

Though Bournemouth enjoyed a brief spell before the break, City went in at half-time a goal to the good.

A similar pattern continued after the restart, with City continually probing around the Bournemouth box, but the home side looking dangerous on the counter and on 55 minutes, Ruben Dias was well-placed to head almost off the line after Marcus Tavernier’s scuffed shot looked to have beaten Ederson.

Then, on 67 minutes, the Cherries went even closer as Dominic Solanke’s back post header was just pushed out by Ederson on the line.

City needed the cushion of a second goal and on 75 minutes, Haaland almost provided it as he muscled his way through the home defence before being denied by Neto.

That was his last act of the game as Julian Alvarez came on for the final 15 or so.

The longer the game went on, the more dangerous Bournemouth looked, with a number of crosses from the right causing panic in the City defence.

And as the clock ticked 90, former City youngster Unal headed inches wide from the impressive Semenyo’s cross into the box.

It was an increasingly tense finish, but City defended superbly - and had to - against a side who are much-improved and almost unrecognisable from the one beaten 6-1 at the Etihad last November.

TEAMS

BOURNEMOUTH: Neto (C), Smith, Zabarnyi, Senesi (Faivre, 80), Kerkez (Sinisterra,88), Cook, Tavernier (Dango 67), Christie (Unal 88), Semenyo, Kluivert (Scott 67), Solanke

Subs: Travers, Radu, Mepham, Kinsey

CITY: Ederson, Akanji, Stones, Dias (C), AkeRodrigo, Nunes (Doku 55), Kovacic (De Bruyne 84), BernardoFoden, Haaland (Alvarez 75)

Subs: Ortega Moreno, Walker, Grealish Gomez, Bobb, Lewis

player of the match

JOHN STONES

Just edging the superb Phil Foden in what was a difficult 90 minutes at the Vitality, is John Stones.

Back to his very best, Stones popped up everywhere throughout, in defence, midfield and attack with his best display of an injury-hit season.

Calm under pressure and with clever pass selection, he takes our star man award, though another magnificent effort from Foden means it was either/or on this occasion.

What it means...

City claim a vital win to move within one point of leaders Liverpool.

Both teams have played 26 games with Arsenal moving two points behind the leaders after beating Newcastle 4-1 in Saturday’s l;ate kick-off.

With just 12 league games remaining and some huge fixtures still to come, it is shaping up to be a fascinating title race.

Premier League
1 Liverpool FC Liverpool Liverpool 26 18 6 2 63 25 38 60 WLWWW
2 Manchester City Manchester City Man City 26 18 5 3 59 26 33 59 WWDWW
3 Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal 26 18 4 4 62 23 39 58 WWWWW
Last updated: 27 February 2024

What’s next?

Our defence of the FA Cup continues with a tricky fifth round tie away to Luton Town.

KIck-off is at 20:00 (UK) at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday 27 February with a place in the quarter-finals up for grabs.

The game must be settled on the night, with extra time and penalties a possibility if the two teams cannot be separated during normal time.

Then, next Sunday at the Etihad, City host Manchester United (3 March) with a 15:30 (UK) kick-off.

Next Fixture

All fixtures

Premier League

Man City
Manchester City

GMT

Man United
Manchester United FC

Pep reaction

On Phil Foden: “Forget about the goals. How he played controlled. He has become a top class football player. He has become already a world class, top player. He’s so good.He can play everywhere and in central position.” 

Stones reaction

“I think we knew what we were in for today. Watching Bournemouth over the past few days we knew they’d fight until the end and they did that.

“I think how we dealt with it is credit to us, it’s not easy to play man to man football. So to find our space and another clean sheet is pleasing for us. 

“To find the man free. Always. Creating overloads and creating space for the boys upfront. Today we went more into the space with Erling and I thought that went really well. We knew we had to take our chances. 

“Just trying to find the space and create space for others playing in that role of coming in from centre-half to midfield. 

“With me coming in I got in a few times in the first half. Creating that and causing problems, trying to find the space is the main aim and the manager drills that into us in training. 

“It allows us to get yards up the pitch. We know what’s coming before the game starts. Once the whistle blows you can train all week sometimes and they have a completely different set up. The manager does his research really well.”

ederson landmark

In the game after Joe Hart announced he will retire this summer, Ederson surpassed the former City keeper’s proud clean sheets record by claiming his 110th shut-out to set a new Club record.

‘Eddy’ has achieved the feat in just 242 Premier League appearances.

Congratulations to Ederson - one brilliant keeper surpasses another City legend.

FULL MATCH REPLAY

Remember, from midnight you can see the full match replay via a CITY+ subscription.

Watch every minute of the clash at the Vitality Stadium as live, and we also have our short highlights from 21:15 (UK) and extended action from midnight on our official app and mancity.com.

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