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Five Things Learned: Bournemouth 0-1 Manchester City (Premier League)



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Phil Foden’s lone goal gave Manchester City a crucial win over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday evening.

The win ensured that the Sky Blues stay within one point of the top spot of the Premier League table, after Phil Foden’s 16th goal of the campaign helped Manchester City close the gap to Liverpool.

City’s win extended their unbeaten run to 17 matches ahead of key upcoming Premier League games against both Manchester United and Liverpool next month.

Manchester City took control of the match from the opening kick-off, with Foden playing a critical role in creating chances for his side.

After creating the first few opportunities of the match, the 23-year-old eventually tapped-in a rebound after Haaland’s attempt from a tight angle was recklessly parried away on the 24th minute. It was a deserved goal to cap off an excellent start.

And Manchester City spent the remainder of the opening 45 minutes chasing after a second. 

However, it never came. Instead it was the return of a chaos laden second-half that saw the defending Premier League champions once again struggle to maintain control. 

Bournemouth forced Ederson to make a couple of nervy saves, and had a few more chances deflected by defenders. But the Cherries best chance came in the 90th minute, when former City prospect Enes Unal’s header narrowly missed. 

Here are the five things we learned from Manchester City’s 1-0 win against Bournemouth!

Manchester City are proving they can win ugly

Earlier in the season, Manchester City made a habit of throwing away leads in the closing moments of games. From Chelsea, to Liverpool to Spurs, to Crystal Palace, etc. However, it appears as though they are relearning how to “suffer” as Guardiola has called it. 

While it should not be a habit, results like this are necessary to win titles. It’s a three-horse-race at the moment, and surviving moments like this is what separates the champions from the contenders. 

This is the best Akanji has looked all season

It hasn’t been the best season at times for the former Borussia Dortmund defender. Well, he certainly isn’t the only player in the squad who hasn’t matched their performances from last season, but the Swiss defender has certainly started to find that form again. 

Previously, it was putting in an excellent shift at left-back against Brentford, whereas against Bournemouth it was in his more traditional right-sided role. It’s only been a few games, so there’s no guarantee that this will be his form for the remainder of the season, but there are signs of promise.

Phil Foden is making a habit of carrying this team

Earlier in the season, there was talk of Phil Foden being a luxury player, and someone who does not perform when the going gets tough. 

It’s hard to imagine anyone making that argument now. His 26 goal contributions are the second most on the team and just two behind Erling Haaland. 

From the hat-trick away at Brentford, to the Copenhagen performance, to the Everton goal that spurred the comeback, to creating all three goals in the Leipzig comeback in the fall, Foden has been vital. It doesn’t look like his excellent form is going away anytime soon. 

The stoppage time discrepancies are here to stay

It’s starting to become normal isn’t it? Manchester City are lucky to see a minute or two stoppage time in the first-half, spite facing incessant time wasting. However, when it comes to the second-half Manchester City’s opposition is consistently afforded five or more minutes of extra time to try and steal a result in the closing moments. 

At first it was a meme, now it’s a trend. Let’s just hope it doesn’t become normal.

Defensive solidity is slowly coming together

It’s been a rough year for Manchester City’s defence, from injuries, to suspensions, to very public distractions from a certain club captain. 

Nearly six months into the season, and this is only the third time City have had clean sheets in back to back games. It was only the second time all season that the treble-winning defending line-up of Akanji, Ake, Dias, and Stones have started this season.

The last 30 minutes of the match was weathering a storm, but that had little to do with the actual defenders, and more on the lack of control in City’s attack. 

The biggest matches of the season are coming up in the next few weeks. If Manchester City’s defenders can stay fit for the next three months, then there’s a chance they may actually be able to defend their treble.