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In defence of Bournemouth over those ’embarrassing’ Man City stats

The Cherries were eventually picked off by the league leaders... but are we expecting too much of them?

Believe it or not, some people still underestimate Man City.

This is a side who broke all kinds of records last season, capping a momentous campaign of dominance by becoming the first side in Premier League history to hit 100 points.

This season they haven’t quite hit top gear, but they’ve still obliterated opponents. Just ask Chelsea.

Things got ugly for Chelsea

EPA
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Things got ugly for Chelsea

So when an injury-ravaged Bournemouth were their next victims this weekend, many feared the worst.

The Cherries are an attractive outfit under Eddie Howe but, as they did in the 5-1 demolition at Arsenal in midweek, are culpable of overplaying and making it easy against the big boys.

Why then are Bournemouth getting mocked and ridiculed for their performance in the 1-0 defeat to City on Saturday?

You’ve probably seen the pretty one-sided match statistics:

Pep was rattled by Howe’s approach

Reuters
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Pep was rattled by Howe’s approach

Not a single shot, let alone on target or blocked, attempted by the home side as City dominated proceedings with 82% possession.

But instead of laughing at Howe’s tactics, let’s actually praise him for a change of approach that very nearly mustered an unlikely point.

With so many injuries Howe had to play full back Adam Smith in midfield, yet his charges worked diligently as a unit to give themselves a chance.

Pep Guardiola described the victory as ‘one of City’s best performances’ under his stewardship, recognising how much Bournemouth had frustrated them throughout.

In praise of Eddie

Getty Images - Getty
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In praise of Eddie

Yes they offered no attacking threat whatsoever, but a more open Bournemouth side would have played right into their visitors’ hands.

Despite the lopsided numbers, the Cherries were effectively one Artur Boruc mistake away from keeping the best team in the country at bay.

Costly error

Getty Images - Getty
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Costly error

If Boruc hadn’t let Riyad Mahrez’s tame shot squirm under his body, they would be celebrating a point.

As much as we punters crave entertainment, football is a results business.

Howe deserves kudos, not condescension, for going against his natural tendencies and very nearly masterminding a shock result.

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