Manchester City bounced back from a frustrating week to beat Bournemouth and keep the pressure on Premier League leaders Arsenal.
After twice surrendering leads to draw with Nottingham Forest in the Premier League and RB Leipzig in the Champions League, City never looked like doing so again once Julian Alvarez put them ahead.
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Erling Haaland maintained his goal-a-game ratio since his summer arrival, tucking home a close-range second for his 27th top-flight goal of the season, breaking a six-game drought.
Manchester City overcame a difficult week to defeat Bournemouth and maintain pressure on Premier League leaders Arsenal.
After twice surrendering leads in the Premier League to draw with Nottingham Forest and RB Leipzig in the Champions League, City never looked like doing so again once Julian Alvarez put them ahead.
Erling Haaland continued his goal-a-game streak, tucking home a close-range second for his 27th top-flight goal of the season, breaking a six-game drought.
Manager Pep Guardiola kept tinkering with the Manchester City lineup, and the recalled Foden – an unused substitute in the Champions League midweek – took advantage once more.
The England midfielder caused havoc in the Bournemouth backline throughout, contributing to City’s first two goals and scoring the third.
In the build-up to the first goal, he neatly controlled Ilkay Gundogan’s ball over the top, and although Cherries keeper Neto dispossessed Foden with his feet, Haaland lashed the loose ball against the bar before Alvarez prodded in the rebound.
Foden then touched Gundogan’s deep ball across goal for Haaland to make it 2-0 – the Norway striker’s 33rd City goal in 33 games in all competitions – before latching on to Billing’s ill-advised ball across the face of his own area to put the result beyond doubt.
It could have been any number after the break but City settled for one more thanks to Mepham’s unfortunate intervention as the visitors made multiple substitutions, while not requiring the services of Kevin de Bruyne, back on the bench after illness.
The margin of victory increased their goal difference to 39 – 10 more than Arsenal, who play Everton at home on Wednesday, a match City will watch with renewed interest.
Bournemouth played five at the back in an attempt to keep City at bay, but it was futile as they were frequently carved open before the break despite putting in no effort or work-rate.
The Cherries started the weekend just outside the bottom three, but wins for relegation rivals West Ham and Leeds have pushed Gary O’Neil’s side back into the bottom three.
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Because of the congested nature of the bottom half, they are far from doomed, but this was their sixth loss in nine games since the World Cup, and they have only scored four goals in that span.
It will be difficult for them to improve their position over the next two weeks, with a trip to Arsenal and a home game against Liverpool, but the way they fought even when they were 4-0 down will give manager O’Neil hope, with Lerma’s well-struck late volley just reward for their efforts.