EPL

Phil Foden effort enough as Man City close gap on Liverpool with Bournemouth win

By Sports Desk February 24, 2024

Phil Foden’s 16th goal of the season helped Manchester City close the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool to one point with an unconvincing 1-0 win at Bournemouth.

Pep Guardiola’s side had to contend with local fireworks, a misfiring Erling Haaland and a second-half onslaught from the hosts before they left the south coast with a 15th victory from their last 17 matches.

This latest triumph was thanks to Foden’s 24th-minute tap-in, but it was the Cherries who did most of the running from there afterwards and were unlucky to lose with Marcus Tavernier squandering two fine chances.

Nevertheless, this win for the champions keeps them firmly in the hunt for another title ahead of a bumper month of March with league clashes to come with Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.

City had edged past Brentford on Tuesday night thanks to a goal from Haaland, but his shooting boots deserted him after nine minutes at Vitality Stadium.

Sent through after Foden had flicked on Bernardo Silva’s lofted pass, current Premier League top goalscorer Haaland curled the ball wide from 20 yards to spark big cheers from the home faithful.

The Bournemouth fans were almost on their feet celebrating 60 seconds later when Andoni Iraola watched his team create an opening for left-back Milos Kerkez, who tested Ederson with a dipping effort.

Chances remained at a premium with the main first-half flashpoint Adam Smith’s forceful tackle on Matheus Nunes until Foden continued his outstanding month with a 24th-minute opener.

It was more akin to route one than excellent football with Kovacic able to chip the ball into the path of Haaland, who brilliantly rolled Marcos Senesi before Neto saved his effort but Foden stroked home from close range for his sixth goal involvement of February.

Guardiola was on his haunches moments later when Silva failed to play through Haaland as City started to get into their stride with a Rodri effort also bravely blocked by Ryan Christie.

Bournemouth had spent most of the first half allowing their frustration with referee Jarred Gillett to get the better of them, but eventually posed City problems with Ederson called upon to parry Christie’s low effort in stoppage-time.

Whether Iraola’s team could keep it up was another question, but they fashioned a decent opening which was wasted by Kerkez early into the second period.

Justin Kluivert tried his luck soon after and, while Ederson saved his 25-yard strike – not for the first time – the City goalkeeper looked unconvincing.

The champions nearly highlighted their overwhelming power minutes later when Haaland bundled his way into the area, but Illia Zabarnyi got back well to block with his backside.

It failed to halt Bournemouth’s momentum and they should have levelled in the 55th minute.

Antoine Semenyo again got the better of Nathan Ake and his cross found Marcus Tavernier, but the Cherries attacker fired his effort into the ground and Ruben Dias headed the wayward shot clear for good measure.

Bournemouth were in the ascendancy now and another guilt-edged chance was squandered when in-form Dominic Solanke twisted away from Dias and set up Taverner, who dragged his 14-yard shot wide.

Guardiola had seen enough and Jeremy Doku was the first to get the call from a star-studded bench but it did not have the desired effect.

The latest chance for the hosts came and went with 67 minutes played when Taverner’s inswinging corner found Solanke, but his header was clawed away on the goaline by Ederson and Kerkez’s follow-up shot was blocked by Rodri.

Fireworks were let off close by to the stadium moments later before Haaland was substituted by an increasingly-agitated Guardiola, with 15 minutes left straight after Neto had denied the Norway international from close range.

Iraola’s team carried on taking the fight to the visitors and after Dango Ouattara arrowed an effort wide, the final opportunity of the night went to Bournemouth’s January recruit Enes Unal, but he headed Semenyo’s cross off target to ensure City claimed the points.

Related items

  • Marco Silva wants Andreas Pereira to continue to make the right impression Marco Silva wants Andreas Pereira to continue to make the right impression

    Fulham boss Marco Silva will continue to demand more from Andreas Pereira as the Brazilian looks to maintain his form heading into the closing weeks of the Premier League season.

    Pereira scored both goals in Fulham’s 2-0 victory at West Ham last weekend, which was a first win in four matches.

    The former Manchester United attacking midfielder had not found the net since August, but is top of Fulham’s assists with eight so far.

    The consistency of Pereira, who was born in Belgium, has seen him recalled into the Brazil national team, featuring in both March friendlies against England at Wembley and then Spain.

    Silva feels the 28-year-old, who had a successful loan spell at Flamengo before signing for Fulham in the summer of 2022, still has plenty more to offer.

    “Andreas, last season made a huge impact. Before he joined us, he played more as a second midfielder and not so offensive,” the Fulham boss said.

    “This season, he is going to have one of the best assist records for us – and we will demand more.

    “Last week, he showed the desire to arrive in the right areas.”

    Fulham host Liverpool on Sunday looking to further dent the Reds’ ambitions.

    Jurgen Klopp’s side were knocked out of the Europa League by Atalanta and also slumped to what could prove a costly home defeat against Crystal Palace to lose ground in the Premier League title race.

    Fulham have pushed Liverpool in each of their three meetings this season, being narrowly edged out 4-3 after a dramatic finish at Anfield in their league match at the start of December followed by what was a tight Carabao Cup semi-final over two legs.

    “Probably some of them (have been) too open for a manager to enjoy, but yes, at Anfield and at the Cottage as well, they have been really – in some moments – emotional games, in other moments entertaining,” Silva said at a press conference.

    “Tight games always, in some of them dramatic ends of the match. But even last season, it was really tough for them to come to play at Craven Cottage (in the) Carabao Cup this season, too.”

    Silva added: “We want to make life really difficult for Liverpool, to give them a match.

    “Let’s hope we can get a different result than the last games that we played against them.

    Fulham could yet challenge for a top-10 finish.

    “I think we are in the best moment of the season,” Silva said. “We haven’t had big injuries in the last month and a half, or two months.

    “It, of course, creates a competition inside our squad that helps myself and the players to reach a different level and good headaches for me to decide, which is always the better situation to plan a game and prepare for the next game.”

  • Jurgen Klopp: Trent Alexander-Arnold and Diogo Jota give Liverpool ‘a chance’ Jurgen Klopp: Trent Alexander-Arnold and Diogo Jota give Liverpool ‘a chance’

    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes the return of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Diogo Jota gives their title hopes a much-needed boost.

    Defeat to Crystal Palace last weekend saw Klopp’s side drop to third as Manchester City moved into a two-point lead at the top of the table.

    But with results faltering, the performance by Alexander-Arnold in the Europa League win over Atalanta, particularly in the first half, has offered renewed hope.

    The defender was making his first start since mid-February after a knee injury and, while Jota has yet to have the same impact in three relatively short substitute appearances after a similar two-month lay-off, the clinical nature of his game could offset some of the deficiencies currently being experienced by his fellow forwards.

    “We need Trent Alexander-Arnold, of course, but we need him in a really good shape and form and that’s what he has to get up to,” said Klopp ahead of the trip to Fulham.

    “It’s not about him and it’s not his fault if he wouldn’t be, it’s just the situation. So how quick can we get him rolling if you want – the same for Diogo.

    “We have to find a way to help the boys in the best way, to bring them as quick as possible into their best form or shape and from there we have to go.

    “Without them we wouldn’t have a chance. With them we have a chance, with them in a really good football moment the chance gets bigger and bigger.”

    Klopp remains positive about their chances despite recent failures and feels six wins could see them snatch the title from the grasp of their rivals.

    Although a Europa League exit on aggregate was disappointing there were positives to take from the game.

    Alexander-Arnold’s display, drifting infield to dictate play and even popping up in the centre-forward’s position on occasions in Bergamo, was one and a first clean sheet in 10 matches was another.

    With struggles up front continuing – Liverpool have scored only two goals in the opening 15 minutes in a league game this season – a more solid backline offers a better platform and that is why Klopp is optimistic.

    “I don’t have a lot of qualities but I am always completely honest. If I don’t feel great the players feel it pretty quickly,” he said.

    “I cannot really deny or just keep it under the carpet so that means after the game against Palace people ask ‘What do you tell the team now?’.

    “But here we are a few days later and I feel absolutely great, I see the good in the situation where we are. It is fantastic.

    “The boys know that I don’t tell them things which I don’t believe in and I am 100 percent sure we can really win all of the games we will have to from now on.

    “What should influence us more: the last game, the last week or is it the chance in front of us?

    “I am fully (of the opinion) that there is a next chance for us and we can turn things absolutely around in all departments. We can make it still an outstanding season.

    “It will be a good season but of course how you look at it is in the end is massively influenced by the last part of it.”

  • On this day in 2018: Arsene Wenger announces his Arsenal exit On this day in 2018: Arsene Wenger announces his Arsenal exit

    On this day in 2018, Arsene Wenger announced he would step down as Arsenal manager at the end of the season after almost 22 years in the role.

    Appointed in September 1996, the Frenchman had presided over a glittering period in the club’s history which yielded three Premier League titles, the last of them famously secured by his “Invincibles”, who went through the 2003-04 league campaign unbeaten.

    In addition, former Nancy, Monaco and Grampus Eight boss Wenger guided the club to FA Cup glory on seven occasions and secured 20 successive seasons of Champions League football during a reign spanning 1,235 matches, 828 of them in the top flight.

    However, his announcement came amid mounting disquiet over the club’s showing in both the Premier League and Europe, with three FA Cup successes in four years failing to placate his critics.

    Wenger said: “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season.

    “I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity.”

    Majority owner Stan Kroenke paid tribute to the man who had gone toe-to-toe with Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson and Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho.

    Kroenke said: “This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport.

    “One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsene has brought to the club on and off the pitch.

    “His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched. Arsene has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him.”

    Wenger, described by Ferguson as “without doubt one of the greatest Premier League managers” and by former Gunners skipper Tony Adams as “the greatest Arsenal manager”, bowed out after a 1-0 final-day victory at Huddersfield on May 13, 2018.

    The 68-year-old said afterwards: “I feel that I got a lot of respect not only from our fans, but from England. I would reiterate I loved English football, but I also learned to love England. You do not stay 22 years if you don’t like it.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.