Jack Grealish took his opportunity to wind up a group of Bournemouth fans during the closing stages of Manchester City's big win over the Cherries on Saturday evening. The defending Premier League champions needed to claim all three points at the Vitality Stadium to stay within touching distance of table-toppers Arsenal and duly delivered with an impressive team performance on the south coast.
Julian Alvarez fired City ahead after just 15 minutes before Erling Haaland and Phil Foden found the back of the net to give the visitors some breathing space before the half-time whistle. An own goal from Bournemouth defender Chris Mepham after the interval wrecked any hopes of an astonishing comeback from the hosts, who were firmly second-best for the vast majority of the contest to highlight the gulf in class between the two clubs.
Grealish, who was selected to start on the left flank for City, was clearly in a jubilant mood as the clock ticked down and found a moment to wind up some Bournemouth fans with a cheeky hand gesture aimed in the direction of the Cherries faithful. He turned to the stands and held up four fingers on one hand while making a circle with the other to remind them of the score while grinning smugly at a group of supporters behind the goal.
Bournemouth went on to hit back with just seven minutes remaining as Jefferson Lerma managed to grab a late consolation but it was too little, too late for the hosts, who came away empty-handed after letting City run riot thanks to a hugely dominant showing from Pep Guardiola's men.
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The result saw City move to within two points of Arsenal at the summit of the Premier League table, although the Gunners still have a game in hand over last season's English champions. It also pushed Bournemouth closer to a return to the Championship at the end of the campaign, with the Cherries just one place and three points above bottom-dwellers Southampton.
It remains to be seen whether City will be able to leapfrog Arsenal before the campaign draws to a close, with their Players eyeing a third Premier League triumph in as many seasons after beating the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium earlier this month. It will be crucial for them to avoid dropping easy points as the run-in begins to take shape and Saturday's win over Bournemouth will certainly have helped to settle some dressing-room nerves after they were held by RB Leipzig in the Champions League in midweek.
City defender Rico Lewis was delighted with his team's response after the full-time whistle at the Vitality Stadium and told BBC Sport: "The best thing to do to come back from a few poor results is to win. We are gutted not to get a clean sheet but it sends out a message, the early goal set the tone and we could have had more in the end."
There was a chance for City to go above Arsenal and retake the lead in the Premier League title race if the Gunners slipped up against Leicester City, but Mikel Arteta's side ultimately managed to claim the spoils at the King Power Stadium earlier on Saturday. Gabriel Martinelli's goal shortly after half-time proved to be the winner for the north Londoners, who still need to face City away from home before the campaign draws to an close.
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