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Pep Guardiola hails his star man as Manchester City make title statement

City bounced back from two draws to cruise to a win at Bournemouth.

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Kevin PalmerSunday World

Manchester City breezed past Bournemouth with a clinical attacking display at the Vitality Stadium to move back to within two points of Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table.

The champions were under pressure after the Gunners’ win earlier on Saturday, but it did not show, Pep Guardiola’s side striding confidently to a 4-1 victory on the south coast thanks to a performance full of style and energy.

Bournemouth had a hand in their own downfall, gifting a goal to Phil Foden on the stroke of half-time, that after Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland had put City comfortably in command earlier in the half.

Chris Mepham’s own-goal added insult to injury for the Cherries who – for all their efforts – were outrun and outclassed.

Jerfferson Lerma’s late strike gave home supporters some momentary cheer, but this had been the champions’ day.

"Considering the amount of games and a lot of travel we played incredibly aggressive. Our attack was more dynamic and we got a good result.

"Rico Lewis, I rely on him a lot since he came in and made his debut, his quality and intelligence. He is a fantastic player. We are delighted to have him, a player from our academy.

"He moves in small spaces, to play in pockets that we need he is unique. He is really good at that.”

Guardiola reserved special praise for his star striker Erling Haaland, who scored his 27th Premier Legaue goal of the season.

"Erling Haaland, his impact has been incredible,” he added. “We love him and he is helping us, today we found him more and he is an incredible threat.

"We need Phil (Foden) - his work ethic, his goals, his assists. Step by step he will be back."

City's win was the perfect response to Arsenal’s 1-0 victory at Bournemouth earlier in the day, as Gabriel Martinelli’s goal ensured Arsenal maintained a two-point lead at the top of the table.

“I am really pleased with the performance, we dominated the game, we attacked a lot, we were high up the pitch but we didn't manage to create enough big opportunities," said Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.

"That is something we have to improve but we did not concede, and there was just one shot from Dewsbury-Hall that didn't hit the target.

"We had so many situations with big advantages and we have to improve that because then you need to put 14, 15 shots on target and that is going to be the difference. But we are working on it.

"To win away at Villa then at Leicester in the Premier League is extremely difficult to do and we deserved to win both games."

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