Bournemouth and Manchester City have played against each other eleven times in the Premier League since 2015, yet the Cherries boast an astounding loss percentage of 100% when facing this weekend’s opponents.
When Bournemouth travelled to the Etihad in August, City put three past them before half time, with the game eventually ending 4-0 to the heavy favourites. Pep Guardiola will be looking to put pressure on first-place Arsenal with a win at the Vitality Stadium, whereas Gary O’Neil will be desperate to keep his side above the relegation zone with a strong display on Saturday.
Bournemouth’s performances this season have fluctuated between being poor and average, but Gary O’Neil will be looking to build upon his sides 1-0 victory away at Wolves last week and gain some much-needed momentum ahead of the almost guaranteed relegation survival scrap.
Although the Cherries walked away with all three points and their first clean sheet on the road this season, Wolves dominated the fixture but they were unable to create any clear-cut opportunities in front of goal which has been their Achilles heel for most of the campaign. If Bournemouth allows City to operate in similar positions, then the only outcome will be a comfortable City win with numerous goals.
The last game at the Vitality saw Bournemouth take a point from Newcastle United, in a game which ended 1-1. Once again, their opposition dominated the attacking and possession statistics yet poor finishing and a lack of creativity made Bournemouth’s defence seem more secure than it actually is. However, only results matter come the end of the season and four points from two games is huge in regard to Bournemouth’s Premier League status.
How Manchester City dropped points away to Nottingham Forest last weekend will remain a myth. After re-watching the game, it is still mind-blowing that they didn’t walk away with three points and six goals to their name. The away side were completely dominant and the only shot on target they conceded all game was Chris Wood’s equaliser in the 84th minute which was a beautifully crafted goal.
Pep Guardiola doesn’t seem to be concerned about the recent dropped points and described their performance against Forest as “brilliant”, which is hard to disagree with. However, the main concern for City at the moment is getting the best out of Erling Haaland and helping him rediscover his form prior to the World Cup.
What Haaland provides is goals, and plenty of them. The general downfall to City’s game was their period of forcing the ball into Haaland too often, making the side a little too predictable. Yet in recent games, the creative players have displayed a changed approach and are now not feeding the Norwegian enough or taking those risks in the final third that we associate with City. A balance must be found and I’m sure Pep already has a solution up his sleeve.
Manchester City will win this game and we will see goals. Bournemouth do oppose a threat, however, especially on the break via their new signings Hamed Junior Traore and Dango Ouattara. City have the second-best away record in the Premier League and only Leicester City and Southampton have a worse home record than Bournemouth. Manchester City to win and 3+ match goals comes in at a reasonable 8/11.
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