League leaders Manchester City host promoted Bournemouth following the international break which wasn’t kind to them as two of their star players in Sergio Aguero and David Silva getting injured. It means that Wilfried Bony who has started just five matches in nine months is set to start and City will be relying on the magic of a certain 24-year-old who has set the league on fire since his multi-million pound move from Wolfsburg.
City came roaring back from a goal down against Newcastle in their last game to win 6-1 with Aguero netting five times and the Citizens will be expecting the goals to flow again against Eddie Howe’s adventurous side.
Last season’s Football League Championship winners faced fellow promoted side Watford FC in their last match at the Vitality Stadium being held 1-1 draw after taking the lead through Glen Murray.
The home side will be without Silva and Aguero as well as Gael Clichy and Fabian Delph who continue to miss out through injuries.
Yaya Toure and Aleksandar Kolarov will have late fitness tests as both of they are carrying knocks while Jesus Navas and Wilfried Bony are expected to start.
Captain Vincent Kompany featured for an hour for Belgium in their 3-1 win over Israel and will start for City after more than a month having suffered a calf injury against Juventus in the Champions League in September.
Callum Wilson, Tyrone Mings, Tommy Elphick and Max Gradel are all out injured while Harry Arter is lacking match fitness.
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Otamendi, Kolarov; Fernando, Fernandinho; Navas, De Bruyne, Sterling; Bony
Bournemouth (4-4-1-1): Boruc; Francis, Distin, Cook, Daniels; Ritchie, Gosling, Surman, Pugh; Tomlin, Murray
Head to Head
13 Feb 1999: Bournemouth 0 – 0 Man. City League Division Two
08 Sep 1998: Man. City 2 – 1 Bournemouth League Division Two
06 May 1989: Man. City 3 – 3 Bournemouth Second Division
19 Nov 1988: Bournemouth 0 – 1 Man. City Second Division
13 Feb 1988: Man. City 2 – 0 Bournemouth Second Division
01 Dec 1987: Bournemouth 0 – 2 Man. City Second Division
- Eddie Howe played in the last meeting between these sides; a 0-0 draw on the south coast in February 1999.
- Man City have won 10 of their last 11 home matches in the Premier League.
- Man City have scored at least 2 goals in 10 of their last 11 home matches in the Premier League.
- Bournemouth have conceded at least 2 goals in their last 3 away matches in the Premier League.
- Eddie Howe’s side have scored in 12 of their last 13 away league matches.
- Bournemouth have covered 944 kilometres in the Premier League this season – 18km more than any other side.
- City have failed to score in just one of their last 24 league matches.
Blast From The Past
City took a 3-0 lead at half time back in May 1989 only for Bournemouth to make a superb comeback to level things up via a 95th penalty.
Manchester City: Kevin De Bruyne
The former Chelsea midfielder has scored three goals and assisted two in his three Premier League starts for Man City and is already looking like the best signing in the division by a distance.
Three shots per game along with 3.3 dribbles to go with them will need to be maintained in the absence of Aguero and Silva, and De Bruyne will relish the opportunity to be the main man in the coming weeks.
The Belgian was involved in two goals for his country, scoring and assisting one in the 3-1 win over Israel having also scored against Andorra three days prior to that. He got a couple of assists along with a sublime volley against Newcastle, and it won’t be a surprise if he contributes to a couple of goals when Bournemouth visit on Saturday.
Bournemouth: Simon Francis
One of the players who has put in consistent performances for the Cherries has been their right-back Simon Francis.
Along with 3.8 tackles and 2.3 interceptions on an average per game, the 30-year-old has also averaged 1.8 key passes going forward which have fetched him two assists.
Francis has been a solid fixture at the back though it will be his biggest test yet up against £49 million worth Raheem Sterling. A lot of the play will go through him and it will be up to Francis to restrict the former Liverpool man from running havoc.
City to win 4-0.