Bournemouth vs Man City LIVE highlights and reaction as Phil Foden goals secures vital Premier League win

Manchester City made the most of their game in hand on Liverpool today as they edged past Bournemouth in the Premier League at the Vitality Stadium.

With Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday, City will end the weekend level on games played in the title race, with three vital points on the south coast taking the Blues to within a point of the leaders after 26 games.

While Josko Gvardiol remains out with injury, there was better news on the fitness front with Jack Grealish making the subs bench ahead of schedule. Kevin De Bruyne was on the bench again as he is slowly nursed back to full fitness, with Kyle Walker and Julian Alvarez also dropping to the bench.

Erling Haaland was off target with a one-on-one chance in the early stages, with Ederson also saving well from a long-range effort by the home side. But City were dominant in the first-half, rewarded when Phil Foden tapped home a parried Haaland shot and gave the Blues a half-time lead, which they managed to hold despite concerted pressure.

CITY XI: Ederson, Akanji, Stones, Dias, Ake, Rodri, Nunes, Kovacic, Bernardo, Foden, Haaland. Subs: Ortega, Walker, Grealish, Doku, De Bruyne, Gomez, Bobb, Lewis.

Follow below for pre-match build-up, live match updates and post-match reaction from Bournemouth – here’s how you can watch the match while following our blog!

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19:26Joe Bray

FULL TIME – City hold on for important win

Another game City have mostly dominated, another game where the chances have flowed, but another game where City have had to rely on one goal to earn the points.

Phil Foden’s first half goal was the difference between the Blues and a brave Bournemouth side who may have scored on another day.

But three points are three points, and these are three very important ones. City move a point behind Liverpool level on 26 games played. No games in hand, just points on the board.

That is more important than any performance – although a week of frustrating finishing isn’t ideal before the derby next Sunday.

Stick around for reaction throughout the evening and tomorrow.

Phil Foden of Manchester City celebrates scoring against Bournemouth

19:17Joe Bray

88′ – Bernardo takes one for the team

Bernardo Silva takes a yellow card to stop an attack – an offence that could one day be a blue card and a ten minute sin-bin.

We’re approaching the 90 minute mark, with Bournemouth making a double change. Luis Sinisterra, who scored at the Etihad this season, and former Blue Enes Unal, are on to try and find a goal for the hosts.

19:14Joe Bray

83′ – Here comes De Bruyne

Here comes Kevin De Bruyne, replacing Mateo Kovacic. He has around ten minutes to make an impact.

What a turnaround from learning of his hamstring ‘niggle’ on Tuesday.

Bournemouth still fancy a goal and so do their fans. Outarra the latest player to have a go and the effort isn’t too far wide.

City have failed to kill this game off, and we’re set for a nervy finish as a result.

19:05Joe Bray

76′ – Haaland denied one-on-one

Erling Haaland is played through, rides a challenge that takes the ball wide a little, and then scuffs a shot into the body of Neto from close range.

That will be his last action as he’s replaced by Julian Alvarez, who at least continues his record of playing in every league game this season.

It’s not often that Haaland is replaced this early when the game is still not won.

18:58Joe Bray

68′ – Bournemouth getting closer

Ederson has been one of City’s better players today, and produces a big punch from Solanke’s header to keep the ball out from the line. Ederson was behind the line but made sure the ball wasn’t. Then Kerkez goes for the volley and it’s blocked among a crowd of bodies.

Bournemouth make a double change to try and build on their chances.

18:52Joe Bray

62′ – Doku comes on

Jeremy Doku is on after his four assists and a goal in the home fixture. City could do with some added impotus in attack after a more subdued start to the second half.

Matheus Nunes is replaced. He hasn’t been too bad, but he’s not a left-winger and is the natural option to be replaced. Doku will make the ball stick more often on the left now.

Chief City Writer Simon Bajkowski, at the Vitality Stadium:

“Bournemouth are really dangerous now and the crowd are up. City need to get their foot on the ball and keep hold of it, especially as their ploy from goalkicks isn’t working as well as they’d like. The home side can sense an equaliser.”

18:43Joe Bray

54′ – City respond to Bournemouth pressure

Bournemouth are not here to watch City stroll to victory and have come out of the blocks well in the second half. Justin Kluivert tests Ederson from range in one of their latest attacks.

At the other end, Bernardo plays in Erling Haaland, who is being forced wide but shoves Zabarnyi to the floor and sees his shot from a tight angle blocked for a corner. Now it’s City’s turn to put some pressure on.

Bernardo is the latest to have a shot blocked from Foden’s cross along the box. The corners are not creating much from City’s perspective, but they are keeping the pressure on.

18:36Joe Bray

45′ – Back underway in Bournemouth

No changes at the break for either side and we’re back underway.

It looks chilly at Bournemouth with the substitutes wrapped up and a few players in gloves. There’s a small delay as Ruben Dias goes to the bench to take a tablet before continuing. That’s a new one on us!

Some Bournemouth fans are taking their time to return to their seats, but they’re not missing anything from their side just yet.

18:19Joe Bray

Half time – City in control against the Cherries

Phil Foden forces another save from Neto as he finds a bit of space as City control the ball before the break but without creating many explicit chances. They are in full control of this game and will look to kill off the game after the break.

Foden’s follow-up to Haaland’s saved shot is the difference between the sides for now.

Half time ratings from Simon Bajkowski at the Vitality Stadium:

  • Ederson 6
  • Akanji 6
  • Dias 7
  • Stones 8
  • Ake 7
  • Rodri 8
  • Kovacic 7
  • Foden 7
  • Silva 6
  • Nunes 7
  • Haaland 7

Phil Foden of Manchester City celebrates scoring against Bournemouth

18:08Joe Bray

38′ – Stones joining City’s attack again

Dominic Solanke is struggling after a tussle with Mateo Kovacic and is still limping. One to watch for the hosts.

John Stones is enjoying the freedom to run beyond the defence, tempting a foul from Lewis Cook just outside the box. Cook is booked, and doesn’t take it well. Foden overhits the free kick which is too high for his teammates and well over the bar.

Meanwhile, City fans are enjoying Fulham’s win at Manchester United earlier this afternoon.

Chief City Writer Simon Bajkowski, at the Vitality Stadium:

“City fans are enjoying their time while they are ahead. We’ve had Mind the Gap, Old Trafford is Falling Down, Who the F*** are Man United and City Win, United lose since they went ahead.”

17:58Joe Bray

27′ – Guardiola still not pleased since the goal

Nearly another.

John Stones of all people gets to the byline from Bernardo’s pass. The cross spins out to Rodri but the shot is blocked. Bernardo can aim for the far corner, but bends it wide.

Chief City Writer Simon Bajkowski, at the Vitality Stadium:

“City struck to take the lead but Guardiola hasn’t been happy at the missed opportunities since then. Bernardo Silva has wasted two very good chances to extend the lead and Bournemouth are playing well enough that they look dangerous when they go forward.”

17:54Key Event

23′ – Foden opens the scoring!

aaland olds off his man from Kovacic’s chip into te box and tests the goalkeeper.

Neto can only push it into the path of Phil Foden, who can slot home into an open net.

City lead after a slow start, and that’s Foden’s 16th goal of the season which represents his best return in a campaign.

17:50Joe Bray

19′ – City plugging away as Foden tests the goalkeeper

City are plugging away with a couple of good-looking breaks but the final ball isn’t quite there yet. Guardiola isn’t happy just yet, and is focussing on the marginal gains on the touchline.

Phil Foden looks around for a pass on the edge of the area, can’t find one, so goes for goal and tests the goalkeeper.

Chief City Writer Simon Bajkowski, at the Vitality Stadium:

“Ederson came over to check on Matheus Nunes after that tackle to see if he was alright, and Guardiola pulled the keeper away so he could have a chat with him about something he has seen in the game. Tactics take priority!”

17:40Joe Bray

9′ – Haaland misses a great chance and Ederson saves

A nice run from Matheus Nunes takes him from the halfway line, out to the touchline, and into the area thanks to some nice turns of pace and tricky feet. He just runs out of room and Bournemouth get enough men back to snuff out the danger.

He’s looking like the designated left player of the forward line after the early touches in the centre, with Bernardo starting on the right. If it took us a few minutes to work out who was operating where, it may have taken Bournemouth a similar amount of time.

Foden brings down a long ball from Akanji to hook it into the path of Erling Haaland. It’s outside the area and on his right foot, and the shot is easily wide. Not his best effort with little pressure.

At the other end, Kerkez unleashes a wicked dipping effort that forces Ederson into an impressive save over the bar.

Chief City Writer Simon Bajkowski, at the Vitality Stadium:

“Bournemouth are doing very well at closing City down. A number of Phil Foden passes have come straight past him and Ederson nearly got into trouble then as well. It’s always good to see City play at speed but at the minute there is a little too much haste.”

17:32Joe Bray

1′ – Kick off!

Bournemouth get us underway. It looks like a fluid formation upfront with Bernardo and Foden floating around a more static Nunes who is in the middle. Akanji is at right-back, and Kovacic is drifting left to give some width on that side.

Chief City Writer Simon Bajkowski, at the Vitality Stadium:

“Mateo Kovacic and Matheus Nunes, City’s two summer signings in midfield, haven’t started in the same team since Huddersfield in the FA Cup at the beginning of January. And the only league game they have started together was at Wolves away, where Nunes was hooked at half-time and City lost. Some pressure on both men today.”

“Phil Foden has started centrally, with Matheus Nunes pushing up high alongside Haaland. It looks like City are aiming to use Ederson to try and get Haaland or Nunes in behind the Bournemouth defence.”

17:27Joe Bray

Teams are out at the Vitality

The teams are out at the 11,300-capacity Vitality Stadium and City know they can take a huge step towards closing Liverpool down in the title race.

With Arsenal kicking off later this evening in a tricky clash against Newcastle, tonight is a massive opportunity for the Blues.

Ruben Dias captains City in the absence of Walker and De Bruyne, with the Blues in their cream and crimson away kit.

Live updates to follow right here.

17:16Joe Bray

De Bruyne and Grealish are out to warm up

Chief City Writer Simon Bajkowski, at the Vitality Stadium:

“Kevin De Bruyne is out warming up with the substitutes so that is an improvement on midweek. It tallies with Guardiola’s press conference where he said De Bruyne was better but not 100 per cent.”

De Bruyne didn’t emerge for the pre-match warm-ups against Brentford, nor did he warm up during the game. Afterwards, Pep Guardiola confirmed he had complained of that hamstring issue so he wasn’t risked.

A full squad warming up pre-match is a good sign, and City’s bench looks strong with De Bruyne, Grealish, Doku, Alvarez and Bobb as attacking options.

Pep Guardiola has been speaking about both players to Sky Sports:

“[Kevin] feels perfect but is on the bench because we can use him during the game.”

On Grealish:

“Yesterday asked to train, doctors said he was better. A little bit surprised because at the press conference I didn’t expect. It’s important he’s back.”

17:01Simon Bajkowski

Calm before the storm on the South Coast

Chief City Writer Simon Bajkowski, at the Vitality Stadium:

“It all feels very calm so far in Bournemouth. It has been a sunny but cold day and the fans are starting to build up in the stands while many others wait in the concourses following the 3pms.

“You wouldn’t think there was an important Premier League game coming up soon, but we are entering the final third of the season and with Arsenal and Liverpool in such form it feels like every game is starting to really matter”

16:51Joe Bray

City’s 100 per cent record can continue today

City have never lost to Bournemouth in any league meeting from 19 attempts (D2W17) which is an English Football League record, and their 13 wins from 13 Premier League meetings is the best 100 per cent record by any team against another in top flight history.

The Blues have made three changes today to mix things up, with Walker, Alvarez and Bobb dropping out for Ake, Kovacic and Nunes, but the starting XI should still be enough to get three important points.

At the very least, the uncertainties in the back four, midfield and front line in terms of who plays where, should keep Bournemouth guessing for the opening stages. It also gives City the chance to change things around in-game if needed.

Jeremy Doku will have to come off the bench if he wants to add to his personal haul against Bournemouth this season.

Jeremy Doku celebrates opening the scoring for Manchester City vs AFC Bournemouth(Image: Stephen White – CameraSport via Getty Images)

16:41Simon Bajkowski

Alvarez’s remarkable run comes to an end

Well, it has finally happened – Julian Alvarez does not start a Premier League game for City this season.

It was a remarkable run but it has felt in recent matches like City have needed a little more balance in their midfield. What their midfield will look like remains to be seen though – any one of Foden, Nunes or Bernardo Silva could occupy the one remaining central spot with the other two out on the wing.

An educated guess would be Nunes in the middle with Silva on the right and Foden on the left knowing he can come in because Ake is pushing high on that flank.

Julian Alvarez of Manchester City runs with the ball whilst under pressure from Frank Onyeka of Brentford

16:32Key Event

City team news confirmed as De Bruyne on bench

There are starts for Matheus Nunes and Nathan Ake, with Kyle Walker dropped and Manu Akanji moving to right-back. Mateo Kovacic also returns to the starting line up.

Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish are on a strong-looking bench.

Man City starting XI vs Bournemouth:

  • Ederson, Akanji, Stones, Dias, Ake, Rodrigo, Nunes, Kovacic, Bernardo, Foden, Haaland


  • Ortega, Walker, Alvarez ,Grealish, Doku, De Bruyne, Gomez, Bobb, Lewis

Manchester City’s Jack Grealish arrives at the Vitality stadium

16:20Key Event

De Bruyne and Grealish arrive at the stadium

Team news will be with us at 4.30pm and we will discover whether Kevin De Bruyne is fit enough to make the starting XI – he’s just arrived at the Vitality.

If he doesn’t start, you’d expect Julian Alvarez to continue at number ten, with Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva also options in midfield.

There’s also room in the squad for Jack Grealish, returning ahead of schedule.


  • Ederson, Ortega, Walker, Dias, Stones, Gomez, Lewis, Ake, Akanji, Kovacic, Rodri, Silva, De Bruyne, Alvarez, Bobb, Foden, Nunes, Doku, Grealish, Haaland

Chief City Writer Simon Bajkowski, at the Vitality Stadium:

“Grealish being fit enough to make the squad is excellent news for City. The focus has to be on him being fit for United next week so a full week of training after this match gives him an excellent chance of being in shape for that.”

16:08Simon Bajkowski

Blast from the past in Bournemouth ranks

A blast from the past today as Enes Unal comes up against City with Bournemouth. Unal was a January signing for the home side from Getafe, on loan for the rest of the season with an obligation to buy in summer for around £14m.

He joined City for around £2m all the way back in 2015 and played for the first team in pre-season that summer. He had an impressive spell on loan at Twente before moving onto Villarreal for £12m. At the time, it was one of the standout fees for a young player City had.

The 26-year old has come off the bench in the last two Premier League games and is yet to start a game for Bournemouth.

15:52Joe Bray

City’s goalscoring problem might not be a problem at all

On the one hand, if City are winning games, it doesn’t matter how they are doing it. That is the approach Pep Guardiola is taking when it comes to clean sheets and City’s patchy record in defence.

It is also one way to look at City’s attacking output in the last few games. Against Chelsea and Brentford, City had 56 attempts on goal, with only two goals to show for it. In that context, four points from six is not a bad return.

Speaking yesterday, Guardiola admitted that his side must score more goals:

“We have the creativity to shoot. We should score more. [It is also] important to say how many chances we concede. As much you create and less you concede you are all the time closer to winning the game.

“To do that you have to play better. We create more and concede less than the opponent, this is good analysis. Afterwards you can still lose but you are closer to winning games All the big data, the analysis after the game, I pay a little attention to, but not much.”

“People say you have a lot of chances, that’s good but you have to score. It gives you an idea how you are moving but I always say teams are human beings and they have feelings. The feelings are there.

“The most difficult thing in sport is people believe you have to win and win, but still we are there”

15:39Simon Bajkowski

Guardiola’s inspiration from tennis and basketball mentalities

Guardiola was refusing to get distracted by the big games coming up in March when he spoke to reporters on Friday.

It was interesting to hear him speak of the elite mentalities outside of football that he has studied for influence, whether it be the basketball teams that win and win and win or the tennis players that have stayed at the top for so long. They have shown a relentless hunger to win and that is what the manager will expect again.

In March, City face:

  • Manchester United H – March 3
  • Copenhagen H (Champions League) – March 6
  • Liverpool A – March 10
  • Brighton A – March 17 (or FA Cup quarter-final)
  • Arsenal H – March 31
  • Aston Villa H – April 3

Pep Guardiola attends the press conference ahead of the Club World Cup final(Image: Tullio Puglia – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

15:25Simon Bajkowski

City have chance to put the pressure back on Arsenal

Arsenal have really thrown down the gauntlet to City and Liverpool with big wins catapulting them up the table and doing their goal difference the world of good.

City couldn’t respond last week after the Gunners thrashed Burnley, yet here City can put some pressure on Arsenal’s home game with Newcastle.

It all went wrong for Arsenal when they travelled up to the north-east earlier in the season and they will know the result of the City game before the kick-off.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta(Image: 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Plc)

15:15Simon Bajkowski

Are Bournemouth better than recent form suggests?

Andoni Iraola writes that his team don’t feel they have the points they have deserved from their performances in recent weeks. That chimes with what Guardiola has said, even if he does have a habit of talking up the opposition before the game.

The point of the City manager was that the Cherries were a different team at the Etihad once it clicked what their manager wanted, and believes that message has been heard ever since. City will still be expected to win though.

The Bournemouth manager has actually used the phrase ‘under the lights’ to describe tonight’s game – maybe it is also an idiom in Spain – and this is also the first match at the Vitality Stadium since safe standing rails were installed earlier this month. It all makes for a rowdy atmosphere for City to walk into.

14:55Simon Bajkowski

Is De Bruyne worth the risk – even if he is available?

Guardiola was clear that Kevin De Bruyne would travel down to Bournemouth but it didn’t sound like he was 100 per cent when he spoke about him yesterday.

The last thing City would want is to risk De Bruyne in a game like this and have him ruled out of a match against United or Liverpool – that is when they need him to be firing, and he has already shown he can have a major impact without much prior game time.

(Image: Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images.)

14:39Joe Bray

Doku can break Aguero and Ireland club record tonight

Ahead of today’s game, our Chief City Writer Simon Bajkowski has put together the important talking points for Bournemouth vs City.

He starts by pointing out the club record that Jeremy Doku can achieve if he gets a goal or assist this evening:

A quirk of the season is that Jeremy Doku managed four assists against Bournemouth and those are his only assists of the season. With Jack Grealish close to a return, Doku will want to show his value by getting involved in the goals.

If he does, he can at least equal a City record currently held by Stephen Ireland and Sergio Aguero for the most goal involvements against one opponent in a single campaign. Doku currently has five against Bournemouth having scored in the 6-1 as well, so needs one goal or assist to equal the achievement and two to beat it.

Jeremy Doku celebrates opening the scoring for Manchester City vs AFC Bournemouth(Image: Stephen White – CameraSport via Getty Images)

14:06Joe Bray

Wright fires City into the semi-finals!

City’s under-18s have produced a late comeback to book their place in the FA Youth Cup semi-finals, with a presentable run to the trophy ahead.

With Tottenham the visitors at the Joie Stadium, this was a tough quarter-final assignment as Spurs are going strong in the U18 Premier League South, and City went behind after the hour mark through Tyrese Hall’s opener.

It looked like another frustrating Youth Cup exit following last season’s heartbreak at Arsenal, but Luca Fletcher was on hand to convert on the rebound with ten minutes remaining to set up a nervy finish.

And Jacob Wright – who made his first team debut against Huddersfield in the FA Cup last month – completed the turnaround win with a brilliant 89th-minute free kick from 20 yards that bent around the wall and into the bottom corner.

Ben Wilkinson’s side will now host Bristol City or Swindon in the semi-finals, before a potential final against Millwall, Liverpool or Leeds, where they will also have home advantage. There are two difficult games to navigate, but the academy will feel that this represents their best chance of winning the Youth Cup since they last won it in 2020.

13:56Joe Bray

Early City team news – including latest on De Bruyne

The big question this afternoon will be whether Kevin De Bruyne is fit or not.

Pep Guardiola said on Friday that De Bruyne is ‘not injured’ after he was an unused substitute against Brentford when he reported a niggle in the hamstring.

“I don’t know if he’s 100 per cent but we took good decisions not to take a risk,” said Guardiola.

“I know if the result was not good people would ask why he didn’t play but we took a decision because he didn’t feel comfortable. The day after the match, he trained and then yesterday we were off he came and trained by himself. We will assess but I’m pretty sure he will travel.”

A video on social media claims to show the City team arriving at their hotel in Bournemouth last night, with De Bruyne among the squad, raising hopes that he could be involved later.

Jack Grealish and Josko Gvardiol are making good progress on their injuries and were not set to be involved today – and were not seen in that video.

Read how our writers think City should line up today and use the interactive team selector below to pick your own starting XI:

13:42Joe Bray

Good afternoon!

Hello, and welcome to coverage of City’s Premier League clash at AFC Bournemouth this afternoon.

City were 6-1 winners against Bournemouth at the Etihad earlier in the season thanks to Jeremy Doku’s four assists, and will be favourites again tonight – but have not always had it particularly easy at the Vitality Stadium in the past.

Win, and City win their game in hand over Liverpool and close the gap to a point at the top. Anything less, and Arsenal will have the chance to leapfrog them in the 8pm kick-off

City will monitor the fitness of Kevin De Bruyne to see if he can feature, after deciding not to risk him against Brentford this week due to a hamstring complaint.

Bournemouth’s Vitality Stadium




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