Bournemouth vs Manchester City: Five things we learned from the Citizens' late victory on the south coast

Charlie Daniels put the home side ahead with a stunning half-volley but Raheem Sterling struck late in injury time after Gabriel Jesus' first-half equaliser to secure victory for the visitors

Samuel Lovett
Saturday 26 August 2017 13:18
Comments
Gabriel Jesus in action for Manchester City
Gabriel Jesus in action for Manchester City

Raheem Sterling struck in the seventh minute of injury time to clinch a late 2-1 victory for Manchester City away at Bournemouth.

Charlie Daniels had put the home side ahead with a stunning half-volley following a period of sustained pressure but City were quick to draw level through Gabriel Jesus.

Pep Guardiola's men went on to dominate for much of the match but were unable to break down a resilient and spirited Bournemouth side before Sterling, who was later shown red for his celebrations, struck in injury time to see City take home all three points.

Here's five things we learned:

Same old City?

Despite dominating possession for much of the game, and enjoying a series of goal-scoring chances, City had looked for 97 minutes of this match as if they were set to walk away from Dean Court with just one point. More than £222m has been spent this summer, on top of the millions which were splashed last year, but Guardiola's side were far from convincing in today's victory as they edged past the home side in the dying moments of the game. After the disappointment of Monday's draw at Everton, this ultimately raises the question of what exactly is missing?

It was a frustrating afternoon for Guardiola

On paper, City have the best attack in the league and should be pulling apart defences such as Bournemouth's. Yet, for one reason or another, the inconsistency which hampered City's title hopes last season continues to rear its ugly head. It was the case against the Toffees and it was a similar story today. It may be a mental issue or a simple tactical one, but there's no doubt Guardiola needs to get to the root of the problem if his side are to challenge for the league.

Signs of life for Bournemouth

For the opening 20 minutes, it was Bournemouth who took the game to City. Eddie Howe’s men came out of the blocks flying, with much of their play channelled through Joshua King whose pace and power initially appeared too much for Nicolas Otamendi. In comparison to City, who were still taking time to find their feet, the Cherries were far more efficient in possession and it didn’t take long until their efforts were rewarded.

Charlie Daniels celebrates his stunning goal for Bournemouth

With Howe’s formation allowing Charlie Daniels to push on down the left flank, the Englishman was on hand to pounce on a failed City clearance and direct the ball into the top-right corner with a stunning half-volley that brought the Vitality Stadium to life. Despite conceding shortly afterwards, Bournemouth continued to hold on, showing real resilience and smart defending to resist wave after wave, and even game close in the second half to pulling ahead through King. They may have been denied victory in the end, but it was display they should be proud of nonetheless and one that points in the right direction.

Silva still the main man

Manchester City have spent millions these past few seasons in bolstering their front line but, among such signings, it’s David Silva who remains the beating heart of this side. After Bournemouth’s early flurry of chances, it was the Spaniard who grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck to assert City’s dominance.

David Silva was the beating heart to this City side

Positioned on the edge of Bournemouth’s final third for much of the match, Silva kept the wheel spinning in rhythmic fashion as he set about linking together City’s forward play with his well-weighted passes and short, sharp bursts into space. Indeed, it was his bisecting ball, cutting through the Bournemouth defence like a hot knife through butter, that played in Jesus for City’s equaliser and one that summed up his centrality to the visitors’ forward game as a whole.

But City still lacking defensive cohesion in midfield unit

For all their fluidity and prowess on the front foot, City are still lacking a degree of defensive cohesion in the heart of their midfield unit. Such a shortcoming was notably highlighted in the 4-3-3 formation deployed by Guardiola today, with Fernandinho often overwhelmed by the sheer demands of his responsibilities.

Taking into account City’s high-pressing full-backs, there are simply too much many men sat in front of the Brazilian. City have options on the bench, notably in the shape of Yaya Toure, but it’s more a case of finding a system that works for the whole team and which fills those dangerous holes that tended to open up in front of the Citizens’ backline today.

King carries the fight well

King came to life for Bournemouth last season, finishing strongly with a total of 16 goals across all competitions for the side. His performances this time round will be vital once again to the Cherries’ survival hopes and, on the back of today’s display, there’s no reason the Norwegian won’t go on to enjoy another fruitful campaign on the south coast.

Joshua King in the mix during the first half

True, King may have ultimately failed to find the back of the net but the chances were certainly there, including a particularly impressive curled effort that hit the upright on the hour mark, while his aggressive press injected Bournemouth with a real urgency up front. He took the fight to City, while holding up play for those around him and linking well with the Cherries’ front men, and kept Howe’s side in this game until the closing moments of injury time.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in