In the 97th minute, the former Liverpool star swept the ball home with the aid of a deflection to break the Cherries’ hearts. Referee Mike Dean then showed Sterling a second yellow card for celebrating with the crowd, as emotions spilled over on the south coast.
Charlie Daniels had given Bournemouth an early lead courtesy of a thunderbolt, before Gabriel Jesus equalised shortly afterwards. It was Sterling who had the final say, though, giving City their second Premier League victory of the season and leaving Bournemouth still awaiting their first point.
Sterling provides the killer touch for City
The England man has an excellent goalscoring record against Bournemouth and added to it here – although he left it exceptionally late. It was a scruffy strike but that mattered not to him or his team-mates.
City had pressed in the second half but it looked like their exertions would go unrewarded until Sterling somehow bundled the ball into Asmir Begovic’s net. It may be early days, but on such moments can the destiny of the Premier League title hinge.
Having dropped two points against Everton on Monday night, the Citizens could ill afford another slip-up. Pep Guardiola has spent an enormous amount of money to transform his squad into genuine title contenders.
At times they were irresistible against Bournemouth, but ultimately it is only the result that matters. Sterling ensured they could make the long trip home a happy one.
Committed Bournemouth can take heart in defeat
Eddie Howe looked inconsolable after Sterling struck in the dying moments to deny his side a hard-earned point. Bournemouth are notoriously poor starters and the Cherries’ boss will be worried with their current position.
A tactical switch from his usual 4-4-1-1 to 3-5-2 paid dividends and gave Bournemouth a foothold, which they capitalised on through Daniels’ sensational half-volley that arrowed into the top corner.
City are the only team the Cherries are yet to take at least a point from in the Premier League. They came agonisingly close to breaking their duck here; nevertheless, Bournemouth can head into the international break with many positives.
Referee Dean steals the limelight once more
It was difficult to fathom what was going on in a chaotic finale, but Dean again found a way of being centre of attention. While City were still celebrating their last-gasp winner, the referee brandished a second yellow card to goalscorer Sterling for an excessive celebration.
Technically, Dean followed the letter of the law – but surely common sense should have been applied. Sterling had run towards his own supporters in pure jubilation, but was definitely not inciting violence. How was he expected to react in such circumstances?
That wasn’t the only controversial moment involving Dean, who had failed to dismiss Nathan Ake for a deliberate trip on Jesus in the first half. Ake, who was last man, had been dispossessed by the City striker and denied him a clear goalscoring opportunity by committing a foul. Dean’s leniency rightly infuriated Guardiola.
Bournemouth move may help to get Danny Ings’ career back on track
The past few seasons have been full of frustration for Liverpool centre-forward Danny Ings, with injury set-backs continually hampering his progress after derailing his Anfield career only months after it began. Now, it looks as though he may have a chance to revive it with a move to Bournemouth.
The 25-year-old has made only three starts in 2017/18 and even in a campaign where Liverpool were overloaded with fixtures thanks to a Champions League cup run, he barely featured and at times was below even youngster Dominic Solanke in the pecking order, casting an unfavourable forecast for his Anfield career.
That could make a season, or more, at Dean Court an appealing proposition. Ings has shown that even when he is struggling for fitness and game time, he is still an efficient finisher.
With pace and strength, he certainly fits into the tactical mould that Eddie Howe likes of his strikers, much like Callum Wilson, Josh King and Jermaine Defoe.
Given that there are reports from The Scottish Sun saying that Defoe may well be on his way out after a single season back at the club, and a disappointing one too, there could be a spot in the Cherries’ squad for a player like Ings to get the game time he needs.
Stagnation is a real risk for Ings career after such a promising few years at Burnley before moving to Liverpool and picking up two serious knee injuries, but if he can find form whilst with Bournemouth it could be his ticket back to the top of the game.
West Ham should bring Jermain Defoe back to East London
The 35-year-old made just 11 appearances in the league this season.
However, one result doesn’t shy away from a season of turmoil and rebellion from Hammers fans, as the club finished 13th with the toxic atmosphere in East London directed towards the owners.
The future is also uncertain for David Moyes but, if the Scotsman is to start thinking about potential transfers, the 55-year-old Scot should consider bringing former West Ham forward Jermain Defoe back to East London.
The 35-year-old hit 37 goals in 93 games for Sunderland before re-signing for Bournemouth on a free transfer last summer, a move that seemed a brilliant piece of business from the Cherries.
However, Defoe has been restricted to just 11 Premier League games this campaign, scoring just four goals. And, while the Englishman hasn’t hit the highs of last season, he is still a goalscoring threat to be reckoned with.
Despite Rangers being labelled the bookmaker’s favourites to sign the former Tottenham striker, according to Paddy Power, West Ham should definitely consider swooping for one of the Premier League’s ultimate poachers.
West Ham have struggled with their forward options this season with Javier Hernández becoming frustrated on the bench, whilst Andy Carroll has also failed to hit the mark having struggled with injuries.
Defoe scored 18 goals during his time at Upton Park, quickly becoming a fans favourite, so should the Hammers bring back one of their former club heroes?
Considering Bournemouth have the likes of Joshua King and Callum Wilson in their forward line, they may be interested in offers for the 132-time Premier League scorer.
West Ham struggled for attacking firepower this term, with Marko Arnautovic largely relied upon upfront. Therefore, reinforcements are likely to arrive at the London Stadium during the summer.
When a player like Jermain Defoe shows even a slight sign of being unhappy, in this case, due to a lack of game time, it should then become the club-in-need’s priority to swoop.
Wolves must ensure Benik Afobe stays at Molineux next season
Wolves have secured their promotion to the Premier League in emphatic style. Registering 99 points as champions is a fantastic achievement for the Midlands side.
However, there is still business that needs attending to before returning to the promise lands of England’s top division.
Wolves striker and Bournemouth loanee Benik Afobe’s future is still undecided and the Wanderers have to act fast if they are to make the deal permanent.
According to the Birmingham Live, there are terms of their loan agreement with Bournemouth that state the club have until May 31st to decide on whether they will make the deal permanent.
Despite not being a regular feature in the Championship all season, Afobe still boasts six league goals from nine appearances proving he could have more to offer next season.
Also, considering his experience in the Premier League, the 25-year-old would be a useful addition as they prepare for life in the top flight.
Afobe endured a successful first spell at the Molineux Stadium before his move to Bournemouth, reported by BBC Sport to be in the region of £10 million.
His initial two years at the club saw 23 goals in 48 appearances and the former England under-21’s star quickly became a fan favourite before leaving for the Cherries in 2016.
He rejoined Wolves in the January window, on loan, leaving the striker “crying in his car with happiness”, according to BBC Sport.
The 6ft striker has 63 Premier League appearances under his belt, and for £12 million it is surely worth the expenditure to have Afobe leading in the dressing room next season.
The move would be ideal for both parties as Afobe has failed to establish himself as Bournemouth’s first choice striker, falling behind the likes of Joshua King, Callum Wilson and Jermaine Defoe in Eddie Howe’s side.
Wolves supporters were delighted to see their former hero return home, and with a full season ahead of him, Afobe could be the man to help fire the goals that could keep the Midlands outfit in the division next season.
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