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Foden stars as Man City’s ‘supermen’ win to close gap on Liverpool

Manchester City moved one point behind leaders Liverpool at the top of the Premier League as Phil Foden inspired the champions to a hard-fought 1-0 win over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

With Liverpool in Carabao Cup final action this weekend, it was an ideal opportunity for Pep Guardiola’s side to close the gap and they took full advantage of their game in hand thanks to Foden’s 24th-minute opener.

The England international impressed throughout and scored his 16th goal of the season – and netted for the fourth consecutive Premier League game against Bournemouth – by tapping in after Erling Haaland saw his initial effort parried by Neto.

Phil Foden celebrates his goal for Man City
Image: Phil Foden’s 24th-minute strike was the difference on the south coast

Bournemouth had their moments. Andoni Iraola’s team should have equalised early in the second half, but Marcus Tavernier lacked composure on two occasions in quick succession while Dominic Solanke and new signing Enas Unal went agonisingly close with headers.

But it was City and Guardiola’s night. The victory was their 13th in 14 games across all competitions and puts them on 59 points, one clear of third-placed Arsenal, who thrashed Newcastle at the Emirates later in the day.

Bournemouth have now lost all 14 of their top-flight games against City and are 14th in the table, eight points above the relegation zone. Their wait for a first league win since Boxing Day continues.

Player ratings

Bournemouth: Neto (6), Smith (6), Zabarnyi (6), Senesi (6), Kerkez (7), Christie (6), Cook (6), Semenyo (7), Kluivert (6), Tavernier (6), Solanke (6).

Subs: Ouattara (7), Scott (6), Faivre (6), Unal (6), Sinisterra (6).

Man City: Ederson (7), Akanji (7), Stones (7), Dias (7), Ake (6), Rodri (7), Kovacic (7), Foden (9), Nunes (6), Silva (7), Haaland (6).

Subs: Doku (6), Alvarez (6), De Bruyne (6).

Player of the match: Phil Foden (Man City).

The game’s big moments

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Erling Haaland missed a big chance to give Manchester City the lead before Foden’s opener

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Foden tapped in from close range to put Manchester City in front

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Ederson did well to keep out a header from Dominic Solanke as Bournemouth pushed for an equaliser in the second half

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Enes Unal’s header went just wide of the post as Bournemouth put Manchester City under late pressure

How Man City secured all three points

Manchester City edged past Brentford on Tuesday night thanks to a goal from Haaland, but his shooting boots deserted him after nine minutes at Vitality Stadium.

Sent through after Foden had flicked on Bernardo Silva’s lofted pass, current Premier League top goalscorer Haaland curled the ball wide from 20 yards to spark big cheers from the home faithful.

The Bournemouth fans were almost on their feet celebrating 60 seconds later when Iraola watched his team create an opening for left-back Milos Kerkez, who tested Ederson with a dipping effort.

Team news

Bournemouth head coach Andoni Iraola made one change to the team that started last Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Newcastle.

Milos Kerkez replaced Lloyd Kelly, who was not included in the matchday squad due to injury. Romain Faivre was named on the bench after recovering from illness.

Man City manager Pep Guardiola made three changes to the side that began Tuesday’s 1-0 home win over Brentford.

Nathan Ake, Matheus Nunes and Mateo Kovacic replaced Kyle Walker, Julian Alvarez and Oscar Bobb in the starting line-up.

Kevin De Bruyne was among the City substitutes along with Jack Grealish, who had looked set to miss out through injury.

Chances remained at a premium with the main first-half flashpoint Adam Smith’s forceful tackle on Matheus Nunes until Foden continued his outstanding month with a 24th-minute opener.

It was more akin to route one than excellent football with Mateo Kovacic able to chip the ball into the path of Haaland, who brilliantly rolled Marcos Senesi before Neto saved his effort but Foden stroked home from close range for his sixth goal involvement in February.

Guardiola was on his haunches moments later when Silva failed to play through Haaland as City started to get into their stride with a Rodri effort also bravely blocked by Ryan Christie.

Bournemouth had spent most of the first half allowing their frustration with referee Jarred Gillett to get the better of them but eventually posed City problems with Ederson called upon to parry Christie’s low effort in stoppage time.

Whether Iraola’s players could keep it up was another question, but they fashioned a decent opening which was wasted by Kerkez early into the second period.

Manchester City's Erling Haaland shoots wide
Image: Erling Haaland couldn’t find the back of the net at the Vitality Stadium

Justin Kluivert tried his luck soon after and, while Ederson saved his 25-yard strike, the City goalkeeper looked unconvincing.

The champions nearly highlighted their overwhelming power minutes later when Haaland bundled his way into the area, but Illia Zabarnyi got back well to block with his backside.

It failed to halt Bournemouth’s momentum and they should have levelled in the 55th minute. Antoine Semenyo again got the better of Nathan Ake and his cross found Tavernier, but the Cherries attacker fired his effort into the ground and Ruben Dias headed the wayward shot clear for good measure.

Bournemouth were in the ascendancy now and another guilt-edged chance was squandered when in-form Solanke twisted away from Dias and set up Tavernier, who dragged his 14-yard shot wide.

Guardiola had seen enough and Jeremy Doku was the first to get the call from a star-studded bench but it did not have the desired effect.

The latest chance for the hosts came and went with 67 minutes played when Tavernier’s inswinging corner found Solanke, but his header was clawed away on the goal-line by Ederson and Kerkez’s follow-up shot was blocked by Rodri.

Fireworks were let off close by to the stadium moments later before Haaland was substituted by an increasingly agitated Guardiola, with 15 minutes left straight after Neto had denied the Norway international from close range.

Iraola’s side carried on taking the fight to the visitors and after Dango Ouattara arrowed an effort wide, the final opportunity of the night went to Bournemouth’s January recruit Unal, but he headed Semenyo’s cross off target to ensure City claimed the points.

The win for the champions keeps them firmly in the hunt for another title ahead of a bumper month of March with league clashes to come with Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal – all live on Sky Sports.

Iraola: We were brave but must be more clinical

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Bournemouth head coach Andoni Iraola spoke of his pride at the level of performance in the 1-0 defeat by Man City

Bournemouth head coach Andoni Iraola told Sky Sports: “Even when you play well and put them under pressure – second half I think they were suffering – but you have to take your chances and be more clinical.

“It was the type of game we expected. We did well for 25 minutes and then started to lose the high press as we got tired.

“They scored the goal but the second half was very good from our side. But in the end, we missed the most important thing which was the finishing.

“We were brave in the second half and we were close to having something, but we couldn’t do it.

“It is very difficult to get a result against them. We defended well but on the other side, we didn’t finish the things we created.

“I think we are playing well. Now I hope we continue with this level of football and intensity.”

Guardiola: My players are supermen

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Man City manager Pep Guardiola spoke in glowing terms about his players following their 1-0 win over Bournemouth

Man City manager Pep Guardiola told Sky Sports: “I adore my players – they are supermen. They are so good. Where we come from for many years, playing every three days – they [Bournemouth] had seven days to prepare for the game and we always have less.

“So when people say, you play in the same conditions in the Premier League, no, no – we don’t have the same equality, we have much more games than the rest to play, and this is a tough place to come, they are a fantastic team, they won 3-0 at Old Trafford.

“We demand too much of our players but they respond. I know people say ‘they earn a lot of money’ but it [the schedule] is too much. Honestly. But business must go on and it surprises me every time how we are still there, they have an incredible character and are so competitive even when they are tired, they give extra.

“Our fans have to be so proud of these guys.

“The last 10-15 minutes were tough – we won the Treble and people think we have to win every game 4-0, 5-0 but that is not the reality and hopefully soon we can have a week off and refresh our minds and legs.”

Fantasy Premier League stats

FPL stats: Bournemouth 0-1 Man City

Goals Foden
Assists Haaland
Bonus points Foden (3) | Ederson (2) | Akanji (1)

How the match played out…

Opta stats: Foden shining for Man City

  • Phil Foden has scored 16 goals for Manchester City in all competitions this season, his joint-most in a single campaign, along with 2020/21.
  • As well as scoring the game’s only goal, no player created more chances (four), had more shots (four), or won possession more times (nine) than Foden in this match.
  • Since Manchester City’s last defeat against Aston Villa in December, they have won more league matches (nine) and earned more points (29) than any other side in the Premier League.
  • In all competitions, Manchester City have won more away games this season (14) than they did in the entirety of their treble-winning campaign (13).
  • Bournemouth have never won a league game against Manchester City in 20 attempts (D2 L18), losing all 14 in the Premier League.

What’s next?

Sunday 3rd March 12:00pm Kick off 1:00pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD Sky Sports Premier League HD

Bournemouth host Leicester City in the FA Cup fifth round on Tuesday at 7.30pm before visiting Burnley in the Premier League on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 1pm.

Manchester City travel to Luton Town in the FA Cup on Tuesday; kick-off 8pm. They return to Premier League action on Super Sunday when they host Manchester United, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 3.30pm.

Sky News
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