EPL

Bournemouth 1-4 Manchester City: Haaland back among the goals as Guardiola's men return to form

By Sports Desk February 25, 2023

Manchester City bounced back as they returned to winning ways with an emphatic 4-1 win at Bournemouth on Saturday.

After their disappointing 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest last week was followed by another in the Champions League at RB Leipzig on Wednesday, City responded with a ruthless performance at the Vitality Stadium.

Goals from Julian Alvarez, Erling Haaland, Phil Foden and a Chris Mepham own goal took Pep Guardiola's men back to within two points of Premier League leaders Arsenal, after the Gunners had beaten Leicester City earlier in the day.

Bournemouth pulled a late goal back through Jefferson Lerma but slip to 19th in the table after West Ham and Leeds United both won against Nottingham Forest and Southampton respectively.

City took the lead in the 15th minute after Rico Lewis won the ball back on the right, with a swift attack leading to Haaland hitting the crossbar with a deflected effort, and Alvarez tapping in the rebound from close range when it fell kindly for him.

It was two just before the half-hour mark when Ilkay Gundogan's cross from the left found Foden, who was put off by a last-ditch tackle by Jordan Zemura, only for the ball to roll to Haaland who slammed home.

The third came just before half-time courtesy of a sloppy square pass from Philip Billing, which presented the ball on a plate for Foden to finish with ease past Neto on his 200th City appearance.

City continued attacking in the second half and had a fourth after a Foden ball in from the right was cleared by Marcos Senesi, but only as far as Alvarez, who fired in via the unfortunate Mepham.

Lerma struck a consolation high into the net in the 83rd minute after a pull-back from the left by Zemura, but City ultimately eased to a handsome win.
 

What does it mean? City remind people what they can do

It has been a strangely inconsistent season for City by their usual standards, though they seemed to have finally taken charge in the Premier League title race when they won 3-1 at Arsenal earlier this month.

A sloppy draw at Forest handed the initiative back to their rivals, but the nature of this demolition of Bournemouth felt ominous.

They looked more like the City that has been posting 90+ points every season, and if they can get back to this kind of showing regularly, Arsenal and Manchester United will certainly have their work cut out.

Another landmark for Haaland

If you can believe it, some people were questioning Haaland after his failure to score against Forest or Leipzig, though his manager blamed his team-mates for not finding him often enough.

He was on the scoresheet again here, and his 27 Premier League goals this season is the most by a City player in a single top-flight campaign since Francis Lee's 33 in 1971-72.

Cherries picked and could drop

Bournemouth earned a much-needed win at Wolves last time out, and while they were never likely to get another against the champions, defeat does mean they fall back into the relegation zone.

That win at Molineux is their only success in their last 11 games in all competitions (D2 L8), and they remain without a win at home since a 3-0 victory against Everton on November 12.

What's next?

It does not get much easier for Bournemouth, who travel to Premier League leaders Arsenal next Saturday, while Man City have a trip to Championship side Bristol City in the FA Cup fifth round on Tuesday before a crunch league clash with Newcastle United.

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    Rangers manager Michael Beale hailed a “good night” after his side beat Livingston 4-0 at Ibrox to reach the semi-finals of the Viaplay Cup.

    After a bright start to the game, Abdallah Sima fired the hosts ahead just 10 minutes in before a brilliant solo effort from Ridvan Yilmaz doubled the lead in the second half.

    They capped the match off with two quickfire goals in the final 10 minutes as Sima found the net from a deflection before Ryan Jack struck in stoppage time.

    The win came on the back of a lacklustre 1-0 win against Motherwell in the cinch Premiership at the weekend, and Beale was pleased with how his side played.

    “We won a third game in seven days, another clean sheet, we’re in a semi-final so it’s a good night for us,” he said.

    “We just stayed with the ball a bit more first half, we were a bit more patient, I thought at times we could speed up a little bit, but in terms of our general possession it was much better than the weekend.

    “Abdallah showed the way with his running off the ball, we need to do a bit more of that and by the end of the game we did.”

    Beale also provided an injury update on Yilmaz, who was substituted shortly after scoring, and Kemar Roofe, who came off at half-time.

    He said: “Ridvan was cramp and Kemar is a groin problem so we’ll know more tomorrow.”

    Rangers will now meet with Hearts in the semi-final at Hampden Park in November.

    Yilmaz’s stunning solo effort in the second half was arguably the pick of the goals after he made a great run from his own half down the centre of the pitch before firing the ball into the bottom corner.

    He said: “(I’m) delighted for him because he’s had a rough first year and a bit to his Rangers career because he’s showed moments and flashes of why the club invested in him and why he was such a big talent in Turkey, in the national team so young, but obviously injuries have held him back.

    “Hopefully that’s the start of him showing what he can do more regularly.”

    Defeat knocked Livingston out of the competition, with Rangers’ victory kicked off by Sima’s finish in the first half.

    The forward appeared to nudge Jamie Brandon off the ball before cutting inside to smash in the top corner and Livi manager David Martindale believes it was a foul.

    “Disappointed because I did think it was a foul, I’ll be honest,” he said.

    “Never got it but I thought we were spooked the first 15 minutes, I thought we struggled to get to grips with our shape.

    “Then the second half, the second part of the first half I thought we managed to build ourselves back into the game, we limited them to very few chances because the first maybe 20/22 minutes something along those lines, there was a lot of chances going behind us quite a bit.

    “I thought the second part of the first half we managed to build ourselves into the game, get ourselves in at half-time 1-0, had a chat, had a reshape and I thought we started the second half really well.

    “I thought we were doing OK then we gave away a cheap goal, individual errors within that phase of play which was disappointing.”

  • Eddie Howe ends his Pep Guardiola hoodoo as Newcastle knock out Man City Eddie Howe ends his Pep Guardiola hoodoo as Newcastle knock out Man City

    Eddie Howe was delighted to finally get the better of Pep Guardiola as he steered Newcastle past Manchester City into the Carabao Cup fourth round.

    Last season’s beaten finalists triumphed 1-0 at St James’ Park, and then saw themselves drawn against City’s derby rivals Manchester United – their conquerors at Wembley in February – at Old Trafford.

    For Magpies head coach Howe, it was a first win in 14 attempts against Guardiola as a manager, but that was not his main cause for celebration.

    Howe said: “Yes, my record against him isn’t good, so it’s nice to win, but most importantly it’s not about that it’s about trying to progress in the competition and I’m delighted with the players, delighted with the efforts that they gave.

    “It was a very difficult game for us in that first half, I thought they played very well. I thought we defended very well – we had to because we struggled, didn’t have much rhythm.

    “But then the second half was a totally different performance. The balance of of the team was much better and I’m delighted with everyone’s commitment to the game.”

    While Howe chose to rest 10 of the men who started Sunday’s 8-0 Premier League demolition of Sheffield United, opposite number Pep Guardiola made eight changes, although it was the way in which they used their respective benches which ultimately proved decisive.

    The Spaniard kept star striker Erling Haaland in reserve and asked substitute Phil Foden to try to rescue the tie for him, while his opposite number changed the pattern of the game by sending on Bruno Guimaraes and Anthony Gordon at the break and reaped the rewards.

    Newcastle have already lost to City and Liverpool in the league this season, so victory over one of the big boys was all the more welcome.

    Howe said: “The only way you go into these games with more belief is by winning, so hopefully that will serve us well for the future. It shows that we are capable.

    “Yes, both teams made changes, but all you can do is try to win the game and we did, and I’m delighted with the players.”

    The game was settled by Alexander Isak’s 53rd-minute finish at the end of a powerful run by Joelinton, although City were left kicking themselves for not capitalising on their domination before the break and their failure to mount a fresh charge after it.

    Asked if he was disappointed that his side could no longer win a quadruple to go with the treble they landed last season, a bemused Guardiola said: “You think the target was to win the quadruple? Honestly, it’s not.

    “We competed really well and we are more than satisfied to win the treble. Our expectations are high, but not high enough to not be satisfied with that.”

    Guardiola opted not to throw Haaland into the mix as time ran down, and was happy to defend that decision.

    Asked if he considered sending the frontman on, he said: “No. I thought Kyle (Walker had played) a lot of minutes, Erling a lot of minutes. We have a lot of games ahead of us.

    “Maybe the last 10-15 minutes, but I decided not to do it.”

  • Jurgen Klopp hails Dominik Szoboszlai after bright start to Liverpool career Jurgen Klopp hails Dominik Szoboszlai after bright start to Liverpool career

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    Liverpool had to come from behind to beat Championship leaders Leicester 3-1 after Kasey McAteer silenced Anfield just three minutes in.

    But after Cody Gakpo equalised early in the second half, Szoboszlai struck an unstoppable shot in the 70th minute, moments after coming on, with Diogo Jota wrapping it up with a late goal of his own.

    Szoboszlai’s rocket from the edge of the D was his second goal since his £60million summer switch from RB Leipzig and another marker into the impressive start the Hungarian has made on Merseyside.

    “I don’t have to tell him to shoot, he knows that better than me,” Klopp said.

    “He has a pretty good skill. The next (shot) he had which was slightly over was another grenade as well. It was a super goal.”

    The ease with which Szoboszlai has made himself at home at Anfield has been key to the strong start Liverpool, second in the Premier League, have made in all competitions as they look to have solved many of the midfield problems that dogged them last season.

    Asked if Szoboszlai had settled quicker than expected, Klopp said: “It’s so long ago that he’s here that I’ve forgotten what I thought but since the first minute of training it was pretty impressive.

    “That’s how it is. He’s a top bloke, a top guy and it’s easy to step into the team and the dressing room and stuff like this.

    “He’s a very naturally confident boy and that helps but it’s super hard work as well and that’s what you see today.”

    The night started badly for Liverpool when Konstantinos Tsimikas’ early free-kick was cleared and the Greece defender was then left on the deck by Marc Albrighton as Leicester raced away to score.

    But Klopp said what stood out to him was the way his players responded.

    “The headline is that we are 1-0 down but it was a completely different goal – I’m not sure if it was a foul or not but we could have defended a bit better in that first moment, and then it’s a good pass and a good finish.

    “Then it is all about the reaction. Our players responded well. We created massive chances that were difficult to miss, but we did, and the goalkeeper saved some and we hit the crossbar.

    “How (we didn’t score) I have no clue but at half-time it was clear we were going to make sure we didn’t get frustrated. We were not really chasing the game but playing the game and that’s what the boys did. It was a top performance.”

    It was only a second defeat of the season for Leicester as they chase an instant return to the top flight and Enzo Maresca said the performance was more important than the result.

    “I’m very, very proud of the players because to come to this stadium against this opponent and to continue playing in the way we want to play I think they showed they were very brave,” he said.

    “Even after 45 minutes when we were 1-0 up I was not focused on the result, it’s always important of course, but I told them before the game the focus for us is to go there and continue to play in the way we want.”

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