Manchester City’s catch-up game on Premier League leaders Arsenal continues on Saturday as they make a routine-looking trip to the Vitality Stadium to encounter relegation-battling Bournemouth.
Gary O’Neil’s side handed their survival bid a lifeline with a hard-fought 1-0 win over fellow bottom-half rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers last time out, ending an underwhelming seven-game winless league run (D2, L5).
Despite climbing out of the bottom three for the first time since the calendar year flipped to 2023, Bournemouth cannot afford to celebrate ‘small victories,’ with the big picture still looking gloomy.
Stuck only one point clear of the relegation zone, the Cherries are about to face a season-defining fixture schedule, with clashes against Liverpool and Arsenal following Man City’s visit to town on Saturday.
Pep Guardiola refused to make any substitution as the Cityzens slipped to an uneventful 1-1 draw at RB Leipzig in midweek Champions League action despite taking a half-time lead through Riyad Mahrez.
Without standout playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, City struggled to create many goalscoring chances at the Red Bull Arena, unlike last weekend’s 1-1 slip-up at Nottingham Forest.
Guardiola’s side spurned numerous glorious opportunities at the City Ground last Saturday, resulting in Arsenal retaking the top spot in the Premier League with a game in hand.
But since only two points divide the sides at the start of this round and the Gunners travel to a resurgent Leicester City side, Man City could return to the summit with a win at the Vitality Stadium.
Although Bournemouth posted a first Premier League win since league football resumed on Boxing Day, their massive scoring woes cannot inspire much confidence in O’Neil’s corner.
The Cherries have scored a league-low three goals since the league resumption in December, while they’ve drawn a blank in a league-high 12 matches this season.
Ominously for Bournemouth’s wishful attempt to defy the odds this weekend, they’ve never defeated Man City in league football in any of their 17 previous attempts (D2, L15).
Speaking of Man City’s formidable H2H record against the Cherries, they’ve won all 11 encounters against them in the Premier League, accounting for the best 100% win ratio in the competition’s history.
That bodes well as the Cityzens head into this matchday searching for a 200th away victory in the Premier League amid a rough spell of form outside the Etihad Stadium.
Guardiola’s charges have been victorious in just one of their last six competitive outings on hostile turf (D2, L3), scoring one goal or fewer in every failed attempt to land victory in that span.
Bournemouth vs Manchester City Potential Line-ups
Bournemouth (4-2-3-1): Neto; Adam Smith, Jack Stephens, Marcos Senesi, Jordan Zemura; Jefferson Lerma, Philip Billing; Dango Ouattara, Hamed Traore, Marcus Tavernier; Dominic Solanke.
Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson; Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji, Nathan Ake; Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri, Bernardo Silva; Riyad Mahrez, Jack Grealish, Erling Haaland.
How to Watch?
Bournemouth vs Man City, alongside all other fixtures in England’s top flight, is available to watch online via live Premier League streams.
Bournemouth vs Manchester City Prediction
While some trends are made to be broken, there’s a feeling Bournemouth won’t stand a chance on Saturday despite showing impressive defensive resilience at Molineux Stadium last time out.
Even without De Bruyne, Man City should have enough ammunition to break down the Cherries’ leaky backline, with Erling Haaland looking to return to the scoresheet after back-to-back scoring blanks.
Although we don’t believe the Cityzens will emulate a 4-0 thumping from the first leg, it’s still reasonable to expect them to score a couple of unanswered goals.
Bournemouth 0-2 Manchester City
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