Bournemouth will host Manchester City on Saturday after having failed to register a point or a goal from their opening two matches of the season.

Bournemouth will face Manchester City on Saturday after managing to post their first positive result of the season on Tuesday as they beat Birmingham 2-1 in their League Cup tie. Their Premier League performances have looked distinctly below par, making Saturday’s encounter all the more daunting.

After losing against West Brom and Watford, they will now face a tougher test in Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s squad had a largely disappointing season last year as they failed to make a strong challenge for the Premier League title. Things seem different this time, and this match will provide a good chance to pick three crucial points.

Guardiola has rebuilt the squad this summer and spent well over £100 million merely on new full backs. They are now an extremely formidable outfit, capable of wreaking havoc at any given point. Traveling to Bournemouth will see them face-off against a relatively smaller side, ahead of a crucial game against Liverpool.

Team News and Tactics

Bournemouth

Simon Francis is likely to be ruled out of the game with the hamstring injury he picked up against West Brom over the opening weekend. Junior Stanislas is also out with a groin injury, while Callum Wilson is continuing to recover from a serious knee injury.

Jermain Defoe could retain his place up front when Bournemouth host Manchester City. Defoe played the full 90 minutes at Birmingham in the Carabao Cup midweek and Cherries boss Eddie Howe is understood to be quite impressed with his performances.

The Cherries have always been weak at the back, but last season they did look promising with their attacking play. The same can’t be said so far this season unfortunately, with them failing to score in either of their two league matches and failing to really make any sort of impact going forward.

Although Howe will take the positives from a much-changed team registering a 2-1 triumph away at Birmingham City in the EFL Cup, the pressure still remains. With a trip to Arsenal to come at the start of September, things will look rather bleak if they fail to register no points after four games.

Predicted lineup (4-4-1-1): Begovic, Smith, Cook, Ake, Daniels, Fraser, Arter, Surman, Pugh, King, Defoe

Manchester City

Benjamin Mendy’s knee injury will be assessed by the City medical staff, and could feature if all goes well. Ilkay Gundogan has also returned to first-team training but he was not involved in the squad for the league game against Everton. Meanwhile, Kyle Walker will have to sit this one out after picking up a red card on Monday.

City fans are understood to be unhappy and want Guardiola to ditch the 3-5-2 formation following the draw with Everton. The manager could attempt to get his players used to the set-up, and the game against Eddie Howe’s squad could provide the perfect chance to do so, since City’s sheer attacking power can eliminate chances of risks.

Leroy Sane and Danilo have hardly made any impact at left-wing-back so far this season but one of them will have to retain that spot if Mendy is not fit. Even if Guardiola goes ahead with the general starting shape, he could be likely to shake things up by bringing Raheem Sterling in place of Aguero or Jesus.

City enjoyed a solid game at Brighton in their opener this season and given the hosts’ current form, an away win looks likely. While their match against Everton ended in a draw, Guardiola will be confident after seeing a high number of chances created.

Predicted lineup (3-5-2): Ederson, Kompany, Stones, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Danilo, De Bruyne, David Silva, Sane, Sterling, Aguero

Key Stats

  • Bournemouth have lost all four of their previous Premier League meetings with Manchester City with a combined scoreline of 1-15.
  • Manchester City are one of only two clubs to have won away at Bournemouth in both 2015-16 and 2016-17 in the Premier League – the other being Chelsea.
  • Bournemouth have faced Manchester City on 10 occasions in league football previously, but haven’t won any of these games.
  • Eddie Howe’s men have lost both of their opening two league games, and if they lose on Saturday,  they will lose their first three league games in a campaign since 1994-95 in the third tier.

Prediction

Bournemouth 1 – 2 Manchester City

Manchester City do have minor issues to iron out in their side, but they should be able to win against Bournemouth comfortably. This could be an ideal opportunity for them to register three crucial points to ensure they don’t lag too far behind.

Although Bournemouth have put up some standout results against some of the Premier League’s big-hitters on the south coast, Pep Guardiola’s men are likely to return to winning ways. The Cherries are yet to keep a clean sheet in three games across competitions, and City have the attacking personnel to take full advantage of that.

City will come into this game after a very frustrating match, and they will want to reassert their dominance upon the league. Additionally, Bournemouth have struggled in the past with this City side. Thus, THT predicts an easy win for the Citizens as they travel to the south coast.

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