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Other SportsBournemouth vs Manchester City: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

Bournemouth vs Manchester City: Preview, expected line-ups, how to watch and prediction

The State of Play

Having dropped two valuable points in the title race against Chelsea last week, Manchester City got back to winning ways on Tuesday.

Pep Guardiola’s champions weren’t exactly convincing as they edged past Brentford by a 1-0 scoreline at the Etihad Stadium, with Erling Haaland on target against the only side he had previously faced in the Premier League without scoring.

That result, however, proved an important one as Liverpool responded with a 4-1 triumph over Luton Town the following day. With the Reds not in Premier League action this weekend as they face Chelsea in Sunday’s EFL Cup final, City have a chance to move within two points of Jurgen Klopp’s leaders.

Guardiola’s men don’t tend to pass up such opportunities, but Bournemouth have proven their worth this season and could offer up a challenge at the Vitality Stadium.

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Andoni Iraola’s side are safely ensconced in mid-table after enjoying a productive festive period, but they have hit a rut lately, going six Premier League games without a victory.

Their former player Matt Ritchie haunted them last time out, netting a stoppage-time equaliser for Newcastle United as the teams shared a 2-2 draw at St James’ Park.

Bournemouth have never avoided defeat in 13 previous top-flight meetings with City. Can they defy the history books to provide another twist in the title race?

Team News

Bournemouth have a few long-term absentees, with the likes of Max Aarons, Ryan Fredericks and Tyler Adams still unavailable. Philip Billing, meanwhile, will complete his three-match suspension here after seeing red against Nottingham Forest earlier this month.

City will be without Josko Gvardiol and Jack Grealish, and they also have a concern about the status of Kevin De Bruyne. On Friday, Guardiola revealed the Belgian will travel to the south coast, though it is not yet certain whether he will be involved after suffering a knock to his hamstring.

Expected Line-ups

Bournemouth: Neto; Smith, Zabarnyi, Senesi, Kelly; Christie, Cook; Semenyo, Kluivert, Tavernier; Solanke.

Man City: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Ake; Rodri, Kovacic; Foden, Alvarez, Doku; Haaland.

What they Said

Iraola on the challenge of facing City:

“You definitely need them to have a bad day because they are a very strong team. You need them to miss some chances, to make some mistakes, but also we have to be on a very good day.

“You have to make them play uncomfortably and give them the opportunity to make mistakes.”

Guardiola on De Bruyne being an unused substitute for Tuesday’s win over Brentford:

“We took a good decision not to take a risk. We know people will ask why he didn’t play.

“He didn’t feel comfortable. I don’t know if he’s 100 per cent. The day after the game, he trained. We will assess him and decide but I am pretty sure he will travel.”

When and How to Watch

Saturday’s game will kick off at 17:30 at the Vitality Stadium and will be televised live by Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event in the UK. It can also be streamed via the Sky Go app.

Prediction

City haven’t won a Premier League game by more than two goals since they hammered Bournemouth 6-1 in November’s return fixture, in a game which saw Jeremy Doku register a goal and four assists.

Though the Cherries have struggled in recent weeks, we expect that trend to continue here, with City doing a professional job on a tough ground. We’re backing the champions to keep the pressure on Liverpool and Arsenal with a 2-1 victory, with Haaland and Solanke both on target.

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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