Written by Frankie Rudland (@RudlandFrankie) from Vitality Stadium
Bournemouth were left stunned by a clinical Manchester City side as Guardiola’s troops ran out 3-1 winners at the Vitality Stadium.
A Sergio Aguero double either side of Raheem Sterling’s strike ensured all three points returned to Manchester despite a spirited Bournemouth display. Harry Wilson managed a stunning consolation goal just before half-time to make it two goals in two games since his arrival on loan.
Eddie Howe made one change to the side that earned The Cherries their first three-points of the season at Aston Villa last weekend. Goal scorer, Harry Wilson, was replaced by fellow Welshman Chris Mepham as Bournemouth switched to a back-five.
David Silva replaced Rodri and took the captain’s armband for Manchester City, as Guardiola mirrored Howe in making a solitary change to his side.
Bournemouth had a point to prove following home and away defeats to City last season, and they certainly set out to do so early on with sustained pressing causing Pep’s side some discomfort.
Josh King was the man that led a lot of the early running, with the Norwegian stinging the palms of Ederson early-on with a bobbling effort from 25 yards. City were quick to reply with their own warning shot as Bernardo Silva drew a superb save from Ramsdale following good work down the left from Zinchenko.
Manchester City found it tough to play their usual expansive football against an experienced Bournemouth back-line, and their frustration started to show early-on as Walker went into the book for a late challenge on Ake.
Ederson was the next player to receive a caution from the referee as he clattered into Callum Wilson after losing a foot race with the Bournemouth striker. It came after Fraser had set Wilson away with a perfectly weighted through ball down the left touchline.
Despite spending the opening exchanges on the back foot, Manchester City have the quality to turn a game on its head within seconds, and that they did. Another Zinchenko delivery again picked out Silva whose scuffed effort fortuitously fell to Aguero who slotted home from all of 8 yards for the game’s first goal.
A stunned Bournemouth side struggled to regain their composure, and City almost doubled their advantage just minutes later as a rare David Silva right-footed effort demanded a fine stop from Ramsdale at his near post.
Bournemouth needed to rediscover some of their earlier swagger, and when Charlie Daniels sent a sublime low cross into the box that caused problems it looked as if they had started to do so. However, in doing so the experienced left back, who has been blighted with injuries in recent times had aggravated the previous knee injury which saw him side-lined for so long.
Both sets of fans applauded Daniels as he made way for Harry Wilson on a stretcher, a cruel blow for both club and player.
Wilson could have considered himself unlucky to have started on the bench after a goalscoring display last week, and he almost made an instant impact. The Liverpool loanee’s deflected cross caused confusion in the City box which allowed Smith to nip in and prod an effort at goal which required a smart stop from Ederson.
As is so often the case in football, Bournemouth were once more made to rue their missed opportunity as another devastating break saw David Silva slice open The Cherries defence and pick out Sterling who poked his effort into the back of the net to double City’s lead after 37 minutes.
Bournemouth looked to be drifting towards half-time on the wrong end of a 2-0 deficit despite a strong first-half display from Howe’s men. But when Otamendi fouled Callum Wilson 25-yards from goal it gave Harry Wilson the chance to curl a sublime free-kick into the top right corner via the post. 2-1 the score at the break.
The Cherries came out a side reinvigorated by Wilson’s effort just before the interval, and an end-to-end pattern started to develop early in the second half. Callum Wilson saw his shot smothered by Ederson at one end before Kevin De Bruyne side-footed agonisingly wide at the other.
Both sides looked vulnerable on the counter, and after De Bruyne looked to be away down the right touchline, Lerma cynically chopped him down to earn himself a booking.
Whilst Bournemouth admirably threw the kitchen sink at Manchester City, it seemed inevitable that the Mancunians would strike again with the game becoming increasingly stretched. Unsurprisingly, City regained their two-goal buffer after 64 minutes. David Silva was once more the architect as his jinking run crossed paths with Aguero who stabbed his effort home to double his tally for the day.
Howe refused to roll over and accept defeat, and the introductions of Ibe and Solanke again signalled The Cherries’ intent to regain a foothold in the match.
Aguero’s second seemed to once more nullify the game as it evolved into a physical battle, losing its early promise. There were still brief glimpses of goal for Bournemouth, who were again wasteful. Solanke did well to push the ball past two City defenders before producing a tame effort that rolled gratefully into Ederson’s arms.
Solanke was again the culprit as he spurned a final chance to snatch one back for Bournemouth in the 92ndminute, taking too long to get his shot away allowing Ederson to once more stifle The Cherries’ advances.
3-1 the final score as Bournemouth tasted their first defeat of the season. Next up for Bournemouth is the visit of Forest Green Rovers to the Vitality.
AFC Bournemouth: Ramsdale, Smith (Ibe), Cook ©, Mepham, Ake, Daniels (Wilson), Lerma, Billing, King, Fraser, Wilson (Solanke).
Subs: Boruc, Surman, Solanke, Ibe, Rico, H.Wilson, Simpson.
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker (Cancelo), Otamendi, Laporte, Zinchenko, Gundogan (Rodri), De Bruyne, Silva ©, B.Silva (Mahrez), Sterling, Aguero
Subs: Bravo, Angelino, Rodri, Fernandinho, Mahrez, Cancelo, Foden.