Manchester City close gap on Chelsea with Bournemouth win: Five things we learned

Matt Lewis

Manchester City’s fabulous February continued at Bournemouth as they made it three wins out of three this month.

Goals from Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero got the job done by the seaside to send the City fans home happy.

With Chelsea and Tottenham dropping points above them this weekend it puts Pep Guardiola’s team right back in the title picture.

The only blot on the City copybook was an injury to Gabriel Jesus as he watched the second half from the stands at the Vitality Stadium.

Here’s five things we learned from the 2-0 win for City.

City back in the hunt

Manchester City weren’t even in the Champions League places prior to Monday night’s kick-off.

But 90 minutes later in Bournemouth and Guardiola’s men are now Chelsea’s closest challengers for the crown.

They leapfrogged Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham with this simple victory to move within eight points of Antonio Conte’s table toppers.

Conte’s Blues take on a resurgent Swansea side scrapping for their lives this weekend while Guardiola’s boys put their feet up.

They had been due to face derby rivals Manchester United but that fixture will have to be rearranged due to their involvement in the EFL Cup final.

Aguero takes his chance

Gabriel Jesus has been lauded since his stunning arrival at Manchester City this winter.

Three goals in his first two appearances saw him oust Aguero from the starting line-up and keep him benched under Guardiola.

However, his progress was halted here with a nasty ankle injury as he landed awkwardly after 15 minutes and was replaced by the Argentine.

Aguero took his chance, claiming City’s second goal despite Tyrone Mings getting the final touch, and was serenaded by the travelling support.

These City fans haven’t forgotten the contribution of Aguero to the success their side have enjoyed in recent years.

Superb spot from the officials

Referees often seem to be at the centre of attention for all the wrong reasons.

Calls for video technology, in addition to the goal-line decision system we now have, are rooted out of frustration at a seemingly endless list of errors.

But there was finally a good reason to pick out the performance of the officials on the south coast.

Josh King wheeled away thinking he had found an equaliser on the half-hour, only for his celebrations to be cut short.

There was some confusion as to exactly which one of the officials made the call but one correctly spotted a pull on John Stones and the goal was disallowed.

Bournemouth in deep trouble

They say football is a game of two halves and the same can certainly be said of Bournemouth’s season.

The Cherries have been in abysmal form since the turn of the year, not registering a single point and conceding 16 goals.

Manager Eddie Howe made his boys watch an army training routine to try and instil some discipline and correct the slide away from the drop zone.

There was little evidence of that working here though as City rarely had to get out of second gear to cruise to the three points at the Vitality Stadium.

One positive to take away from this one for Bournemouth was that it was only two more balls picked out of the back of the net.

Everton had hit them for six last week and another drubbing would have left them floored for the relegation run in.

Sterling performance from Raheem

He’s had his fair share of criticism since moving from Liverpool but Sterling has found form.

Part of a three-pronged City attack with Leroy Sane, Jesus and later Aguero, Sterling was the star on the south coast.

He showed good awareness for the opening goal and regularly tormented the Cherries full-backs.

Aguero’s goalscoring return will understandably grab the headlines but the performance of his English team-mate should not be overlooked.

It was one of his probing runs that saw him flash the ball across the six-yard box to lay it on a plate for Aguero to knock home the clincher.