By 90Min
August 25, 2019

Manchester City kept the pressure on league leaders Liverpool after seeing off a plucky Bournemouth side 3-1 at the Vitality Stadium, courtesy of Sergio Aguero's brace and Raheem Sterling's first-half effort.

It didn't take long for the deadlock to be broken as the visitors began asserting their dominance from the outset. The goal came via the quick feet of Aguero after 15 minutes, who adjusted well when the ball fell to him in the box, calmly stroking a finish into the corner beyond Aaron Ramsdale.

Despite being pegged back deep into their own half for the majority of the game, Adam Smith spurned a wonderful opportunity to draw level with 38 minutes gone but couldn't beat Ederson from just a few yards out. And just a few minutes later, they were punished. This time, a fine flowing move from City fell to Sterling in the box, who made no mistake with a composed finish to put the visitors in the driving seat.

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Bournemouth hit back though, in utterly sublime fashion. Substitute Harry Wilson was given the chance to pull his side back into the game with a centrally positioned free-kick. On his favoured left foot, the on-loan Liverpool winger bent a sumptuous effort over the wall and across goal that nestled perfectly in the top corner.

Callum Wilson and Kevin De Bruyne both spurned good opportunities for their respective sides after the restart, before VAR denied City a penalty after finding Jefferson Lerma's foul on David Silva not worthy of a spot-kick - despite a clear stamp on the Spaniard's foot. They weren't ruing the decision for long though, as Silva drove into the box before leaving the ball to Aguero to net his second of the day.

From then the game became much more subdued, with the visitors happy to keep possession and starve the Cherries of any meaningful chances, seeing the game out with consummate ease to keep the early season pressure on Liverpool.


Key Talking Point

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Last season's reverse fixture will still be giving Bournemouth nightmares, and while the 1-0 scoreline would suggest otherwise, the more poignant facts that they didn't have a single shot and only 18% possession tell a different tale.

It seemed as if it was a case of deja vu at the Vitality, with Eddie Howe's side unable to get hold of the ball and repeatedly being caught out in wide areas against a devastating City side. Going two goals down, it seemed as if history was to repeat himself, but Wilson's introduction meant they finished the half stronger, and his magnificent free-kick meant there was hope for the second half.

That hope wasn't short-lived, with the home side starting the second half strongly, ruffling plenty of City feathers and coming close to drawing level on a couple of occasions. They were unable to make those opportunities count, however, as City's class shone through in the searing south coast heat. Once the third goal went in, the result became a formality, with Howe's men unable to assert themselves on City and fading in confidence until the final whistle blew.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Ramsdale (6); Smith (5), Mepham (7), Cook (6), Ake (6), Daniels (5); King (6), Lerma (6), Billing (6), Fraser (5); Wilson (6)

Substitutes: Wilson (8*), Ibe (6), Solanke (5)

Star Man

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It was under unfortunate circumstances that Harry Wilson was introduced in the first half, as Charlie Daniels suffered was seemed like a very serious looking knee injury. His introduction sparked life into the Cherries though, with the injection of pace and trickery out wide giving the home side the impetuous they so desperately craved.

He was lively throughout, but that free-kick was something of pure brilliance, and worth watching many, many times over. Entering the fray with such aplomb will have Howe questioning his decision to bench the Welshman from the start.


Key Talking Point

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Keeping the ball and dominating football matches is City's bread and butter. Their ability to retain possession for such extended periods of time has become the trademark of their play, and when you've got Sterling and Aguero to finish the chances off, it often leaves opposing teams staring at defeat.

It was vintage City in the first half, suffocating the Cherries of the ball and deservedly taking a two-goal lead. However, they began to look rattled as the half wore on, although there was nothing they could do to prevent Wilson's sublime strike.

They had Ederson to thank for maintaining their lead early in the second half, but after weathering an early storm it was back their usual swagger from then on in. The third goal killed the Cherries, just as City subsequently killed the game. Their class is unwavering, and you wish luck to any side this season who plan on nicking points off Pep Guardiola's side.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Ederson (8); Walker (5), Otamendi (7), Laporte (7), Zinchenko (7); D.Silva (9*), Gundogan (7), De Bruyne (8); Sterling (8), Aguero (8), B.Silva (7)

Substitutes: Rodri (7), Mahrez (7), Cancelo (N/A)

Star Man

Mike Hewitt/GettyImages

You could have chosen almost anyone in the City side, with the midfield trio dominating proceedings. While Kevin De Bruyne was superb, David Silva will get the nod on his 400th appearance in sky blue.

Composed and effective, the Spanish wizard pulled the strings throughout the match looked every bit as good as he did when he first stepped foot on these shores nine years ago.

Looking Ahead

The Cherries turn their attention away from league duty next up, as they host League Two side Forest Green Rovers in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.

For the champions, they're back in the north west next weekend as Brighton travel to the Etihad Stadium for another Premier League clash on Saturday.

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