Mahrez breaks Bournemouth resistance as Man City go top

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Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring for Manchester City with his 11th goal of the seasonRiyad Mahrez scored the only goal as Manchester City overcame injuries to Kevin de Bruyne and John Stones to edge past Bournemouth and go two points clear at the top of the Premier League.The champions lost De Bryune and Stones either side of the break before Mahrez - on for Belgian De Bruyne - fired City in front at the start of the second half.Sergio Aguero hit the bar from long range before Mahrez saw his header well saved by Artur Boruc as City continued to dominate.
But Pep Guardiola's side held on for a narrow victory that puts the pressure back on title rivals Liverpool, who can return to the summit with victory over Everton in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on Sunday.It was a second 1-0 win in the space of four days for City, who once again dominated possession but were forced to be patient against dogged and defensive opponents.They only created one clear-cut opportunity in the first half, when David Silva met De Bruyne's low cross but could only side-foot wide.Seconds before the break they suffered their first injury blow when De Bryune went down unchallenged and immediately signalled to the bench that he wanted to come off.It was the same scenario at the start of the second period, with John Stones walking off the field to be replaced by Vincent Kompany.Despite those setbacks, City continued to push forward and deservedly took the lead after 55 minutes. Charlie Daniels failed to properly clear Bernado Silva's pass, the ball falling to Silva who teed up Mahrez to fire home at Boruc's near post.The Bournemouth goalkeeper could possibly have done better, but made up for it with a series of impressive stops to keep the score at 1-0.The 39-year-old showed great athleticism to tip Aguero's lofted effort on to the bar before pushing Mahrez's header away from point-blank range. Bournemouth offered little as an attacking force in reply, failing to have a shot at goal or force a single corner.
Man City win - but at what cost[/img]
Bournemouth battle but are blunt in attack
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe responded to Wednesday's 5-1 thrashing at Arsenal by switching formation to a back three, with wing-backs Nathaniel Clyne and Charlie Daniels effectively making it a back five.The plan was clear - defend deep in numbers and limit the space for City's forward players in dangerous areas.The Cherries have the worst defensive record outside the bottom three, so it was an understandable approach against the most prolific side in the division.The formation worked perfectly in the first half, with Nathan Ake superbly marshalling the defence alongside Chris Mepham and Jack Simpson, the latter making his first Premier League appearance of the season.That approach obviously needed changing once Mahrez put the visitors ahead, but Howe waited until the 75th minute before bringing on an extra forward in Lys Mousset.The tactical change had little impact, with the Cherries failing to test Ederson with a single shot on target throughout the 90 minutes.Howe will hope the imminent return of top-scorer Callum Wilson after six weeks out with a hamstring injury will boost his blunted attack as they seek the points the Bournemouth manager still feels they need to banish any lingering fears of relegation.
Man of the match - Artur Boruc (Bournemouth)
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The 39-year-old made seven saves to restrict Manchester City to just the one goal
'The players deserve my admiration' - what they said
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola speaking to BBC Sport: "We made one of the best performances we have played. They were very organised. But they didn't have one shot - we defended well from throw-ins and free-kicks. "We created a few chances. People should understand how difficult it is to attack 11 players [who are defending]. Thanks to the players, they are absolutely incredible."We demand a lot of the players without giving them the time to rest physiologically, that is why it is incredible. No matter what happens this season they deserve my admiration.On injuries: "Vincent Kompany wasn't 100%. John Stones does not have a big problem, it was a precaution. Kevin [de Bruyne] will be out for a while with a muscular problem, hamstring."Bournemouth manger Eddie Howe speaking to BBC Sport: "It is difficult - you want to be competitive and that was the way for us to make the game tight, show toughness and mentally hang in. The only frustration is their goal was ugly which is very unlike them, so very unlucky."It wasn't the plan to be so without the ball but they rarely make a mistake. Technically they were very good. You are waiting for a mistake so you can counter and they made very few. That limited the chance for us to do what we are very good at."Nathan Ake did very well today, the most experienced of the back three, led by example with his commitment and endeavour. With young Jack Simpson and Chris Mepham playing alongside him too, that is hugely positive for the future, looking at the age of these three. It is a good sign."
Man City beat Bournemouth again - the stats
Manchester City's 100% record in eight games against Bournemouth is the best in English top-flight history.
Bournemouth have never beaten Manchester City in 14 previous league meetings (D2 L12).
Manchester City have kept a clean sheet in six of their past eight Premier League games, including in each of the past four, conceding just three goals in total.
Bournemouth failed to record a shot against Manchester City, the first time they have failed to register an attempt in a Premier League game.
Bournemouth recorded their lowest possession figure in a Premier League game against Manchester City (17.9%), with the club averaging 48.9% in the competition.
Manchester City's David Silva has provided an assist in each of his past three Premier League away games, as many as in his previous 19 on the road.
Five of Riyad Mahrez's six Premier League goals for City have come away from home.
What's next[/img]

Match Stats
Live Text
23ClyneSubstituted forRicoat 83'minutes
25SimpsonSubstituted forIbeat 83'minutes
15A Smith
20BrooksSubstituted forMoussetat 75'minutes
17KingBooked at 84mins[/i]
Man City
2WalkerBooked at 84mins[/i]
5StonesSubstituted forKompanyat 48'minutes
30OtamendiBooked at 65mins[/i]
17De BruyneSubstituted forMahrezat 45+2'minutes
20Bernardo Silva
10AgueroSubstituted forGabriel Jesusat 90'minutes
33Gabriel Jesus
Referee:Kevin Friend
Match Stats
Home TeamBournemouthAway TeamMan CityPossessionHome18%Away82%ShotsHome0Away23Shots on TargetHome0Away7CornersHome0Away14FoulsHome7Away7
Live Text
Posted at
Match ends, Bournemouth 0, Manchester City 1.
Full Time
Posted at 90'+5' Second Half ends, Bournemouth 0, Manchester City 1.Posted at 90'+3' Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.Posted at 90'+3' Foul by Chris Mepham (Bournemouth).Posted at 90'+1' Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Nathan Ake.
Posted at 90' Substitution, Manchester City. Gabriel Jesus replaces Sergio Aguero.Posted at 89' Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 89' Foul by Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth).Posted at 88' Attempt missed. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Ilkay Gundogan.Posted at 86' Attempt missed. Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Kyle Walker following a corner.Posted at 86' Attempt missed. Kyle Walker (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left following a corner.Posted at 86' Attempt saved. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) header from the right side of the six yard box is saved in the top centre of the goal.Posted at 85' Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Adam Smith.
Posted at 84' Joshua King (Bournemouth) is shown the yellow card.
Posted at 84' Kyle Walker (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.Posted at 84' Foul by Kyle Walker (Manchester City).Posted at 84' Joshua King (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.Posted at 83' Attempt blocked. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Ilkay Gundogan.Posted at 83' Foul by Oleksandr Zinchenko (Manchester City).Posted at 83' Lys Mousset (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Posted at 83' Substitution, Bournemouth. Diego Rico replaces Nathaniel Clyne.
Posted at 83' Substitution, Bournemouth. Jordon Ibe replaces Jack Simpson.Posted at 81' Offside, Bournemouth. Nathan Ake tries a through ball, but Lys Mousset is caught offside.Posted at 81' Attempt saved. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) right footed shot from long range on the left is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by David Silva.Posted at 80' Attempt blocked. Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.Posted at 79' David Silva (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.Posted at 79' Foul by Nathaniel Clyne (Bournemouth).Posted at 78' Delay over. They are ready to continue.Posted at 77' Delay in match Nathan Ake (Bournemouth) because of an injury.Posted at 77' Attempt missed. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.Posted at 76' Hand ball by Adam Smith (Bournemouth).
Posted at 75' Substitution, Bournemouth. Lys Mousset replaces David Brooks.Posted at 72' Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Chris Mepham.Posted at 69' Attempt saved. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Raheem Sterling.Posted at 67' Foul by Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).Posted at 67' Adam Smith (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Posted at 65' Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.Posted at 65' Hand ball by Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City).Posted at 64' Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Artur Boruc.Posted at 64' Attempt saved. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Bernardo Silva with a through ball.
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