Manchester City preserved their perfect post-lockdown home record with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over relegation-threatened Bournemouth yesterday evening.
It took David Silva just six minutes to open the scoring with a sumptuous free kick and Gabriel Jesus doubled the lead shortly before half-time. However, the Cherries gave their illustrious opponents plenty to think about and even had 14 shots to the home side’s eight, and David Brooks found the net late on to set up a tense finish to the game. [via Sky Sports]
In the end, Pep Guardiola’s side prevailed to go into Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal on a winning note, despite conceding their first goal at home since January.
John Stones, who has recently been the subject of transfer speculation linking him with Newcastle, Arsenal and Everton, came back into the starting XI yesterday – a decision which may have worried some Manchester City supporters given the criticism that has come his way from pundits and fans throughout the season.
It was only the 12th Premier League start of an injury-hit season for the 26-year-old but he gave a solid display upon his return to the side, winning four headers (and seven duels in total) and two tackles, as well as making six clearances (as per Sofascore).
He was also adept with the ball at his feet, executing one successful dribble and finding a team-mate with 98 of his 104 passes for a 94% success rate (as per Sofascore).
Does John Stones get into your first-choice Man City XI?
Stuart Brennan of Manchester Evening News gave Stones a six in his player ratings and wrote that “the England man coped well enough with the threat of Solanke and King”. Indeed, the Manchester City defender was involved in one of the game’s pivotal moments when he stepped up just enough to catch Josh King offside as the Norwegian turned the ball into the net during the second half.
Guardiola also name-checked the 26-year-old when speaking to Sky Sports after the match, saying: “John Stones was really well in defensive areas, strong in the air, and played a really good game.”
Stones has had some difficult moments over the last few months but he can feel pleased with his performance against Bournemouth, one which may have put him strongly in the frame for inclusion in the team to face Arsenal at the weekend.
Man City fans, were you impressed with Stones’ performance yesterday? Comment below with your views!
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