Manchester City are finally moving up the ranks again, as the Citizens grabbed a 2-0 win against AFC Bournemouth on Monday night. The Cherries have been a dangerous team at home to the top six this season, beating Liverpool and drawing with Arsenal at the Vitality Stadium recently.
The game started on a bad note, however, as new star Gabriel Jesus had to be taken off in the first 15 minutes due to an apparent foot injury. Sergio Agüero took his place on the pitch, and he finally had a chance to prove himself again.
Bournemouth earned the first threatening chance in the 19th minute, as Jordon Ibe was through on goal, but Willy Caballero charged up and tackled the former Liverpool winger to win the ball back for City.
City rebounded with their own opportunity a few minutes later. Leroy Sané sent Adam Smith onto the floor with a bit of skill, and he left the ball in the middle of the box for Raheem Sterling. He shot on target, but Steve Cook and Artur Boruc managed to deflect it onto the post and away from goal.
Yet, Raheem would redeem himself later. In the 29th minute, San[e sent another cross into Sterling, and a deflection went City’s way unlike the earlier chance. Sterling took advantage and put the ball into the net to make it 1-0.
City dominated possession in the midfield, and their possession statistics showed they held the grip on the game for the first half. But they still needed another goal to put the game to bed.
Luckily for City, another goal was on the cards in the second half. A few minutes after Willy Caballero saved a Harry Arter shot, Sterling attacked down the left and crossed the ball into Agüero. While trying to defend the cross, Tyrone Mings deflected Agüero’s touch into the net for his second own goal in the last month, and also the second goal for City. Game over.
Here’s a look at the game from a City fan’s perspective.
Willy Caballero made two impressive plays to prove he deserves the starting spot in goal. First, Jordon Ibe found a hole in the City defense and ended up through on goal, but Caballero charged and stopped Ibe from causing any damage. Then, he also saved a shot on target from Harry Arter that could have tied the score.
However, the rest of the defense seemed a bit shaky at times. They left Ibe completely unmarked to give him a chance to score, and Aleksandar Kolarov struggled to defend at center back. Nicolas Otamendi came on after City scored their second, but it seemed as if the defense would be more secure with him playing all match.
As predicted, Fernandinho was in the lineup as a full-back, but he actually played well in the left-back spot, not on the right as originally thought. He didn’t move into midfield as often, and he defended the Bournemouth attacks quite well.
However, his absence in the midfield left more pressure on Yaya Touré. The Ivorian made a few passes here and there, but he seemed slower in the midfield and was subbed off to make way for Otamendi in the 70th minute.
The attacking midfield worked wonders once again, and Sané and Sterling proved to be the duo that made the difference. Sané has come to a fantastic level at City, and his work on the flank deserves a standing ovation. Not only that, he almost scored twice late in the second half, and one of his efforts went off the bar.
Sterling was the man of the match, however. With a goal and an assist, Raheem has proven to be a complete winger, not just a player with pace. His dribbling and finishing have improved greatly since last year.
While the duo shined brighter than the rest of the team, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva also played well. They combined on a chance that would’ve been City’s best goal this season in the first half, when Silva controlled a high clearance perfectly and beat his defender. He passed the ball to De Bruyne, whose shot from almost 30 yards out just sailed over the bar.
Once again, it was an impressive effort from the City midfield.
Gabriel Jesus’ efforts have been recognized across the world the last week or so, and it was extremely tough to see him go down with a leg injury in the 15th minute.
With his substitution, the night became an opportunity for Sergio Agüero to regain his spot back up top. In the first half, he seemed less confident that usual. He would wait too long to take his shots, and he often sent his shots wide.
However, his opportunity to score would come in the 70th minute. Although it was ruled as an own goal, Aguero’s effort to hit the ball ultimately forced Mings into scoring on his own net.
Hopefully Jesus is okay and can make a quick recovery, and Agüero needs to step up and perform in his absence and make a challenge to earn his starting spot back.