Saturday’s Premier League action kicks off at the Vitality Stadium as Bournemouth and Leicester City go head-to-head in a bottom-half six-pointer.
Scott Parker might have helped the Cherries regain their top-flight status last term. But only four rounds into the new season, the former Fulham boss is already out of the picture.
Interim manager Gary O’Neil has done a great job keeping Bournemouth outside the drop zone after taking charge of the side that suffered three defeats in the opening four Premier League rounds (W1).
With the club still searching for a new permanent manager amid talks linking American billionaire Bill Foley with an imminent £120 million takeover (via The Daily Telegraph), the team looks safe in O’Neil’s hands.
Undefeated in all four league fixtures as the Cherries’ caretaker coach (W1, D3), the 39-year-old has helped steer Bournemouth five points clear of 18th-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The hosts would be silly to let their fragile lead on the current relegation fighters tuck them in a false sense of security ahead of Leicester’s impending visit.
Following a wayward seven-game winless Premier League start (D1, L6), Brendan Rodgers’ side outclassed top-flight newcomers Nottingham Forest on Monday, claiming a morale-bolstering 4-0 home win.
However, Rodgers is not off the hook by any stretch of the imagination as the Foxes head into proceedings pinned to the drop zone, two points adrift of safety.
Having survived a deja vu that saw him fired by Liverpool in the opening week of October 2015, the Northern Irish manager will be looking to relieve more of the pressure mounting on him early in the season.
Prone to producing uneventful showings in the front third, Bournemouth have fired blanks five times in the first eight Premier League matches, doing so on more occasions than any other side in that span.
Yet Leicester’s visit could offer the home side’s wasteful frontline a lifeline, considering the Cherries have won their last two league H2Hs at the Vitality Stadium 4-1 and 4-2, respectively.
In stark contrast to Bournemouth’s recent free-scoring displays against the west Midlands outfit, Dominic Solanke & Co have drawn a blank in three straight home matches since a 2-0 win over Aston Villa on day one.
Leicester have done well to overcome their ‘Bournemouth hoodoo,’ going from a seven-game winless Premier League run against them (D5, L2) to winning two of their last three top-flight duels (L1).
Given the Foxes’ sub-par 19th place in the standings, it may sound a bit paradoxical that only five teams have scored more goals in the competition this season than Leicester (14).
Though scoring has not been an issue for Rodgers’ lads, a porous backline has often been throwing a spanner in the works, conceding a league-high 22 goals thus far.
Bournemouth vs Leicester City Potential Line-ups
Bournemouth (4-2-1-2-1): Neto; Adam Smith, Chris Mepham, Marcos Senesi, Jordan Zemura; Lewis Cook, Jefferson Lerma; Marcus Tavernier; Philip Billing, Ryan Christie; Dominic Solanke.
Leicester City (4-1-4-1) Danny Ward; Timothy Castagne, Jonny Evans, Wout Faes, James Justin; Boubakary Soumare; James Maddison, Youri Tielemans, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Harvey Barnes; Jamie Vardy.
How to Watch?
Bournemouth vs Leicester City Preview
Despite Bournemouth’s impressive unbeaten run under O’Neil, we expect Leicester to solidify their comeback and capture another win here.
Bournemouth 0-2 Leicester City
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