Manchester City will be looking to bounce back from successive draws when they travel to the Vitality Stadium to face Bournemouth in the Premier League this evening.
The Citizens picked off the Cherries when the two teams met in the reverse fixture back in August, cruising to a 4-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium.
Bournemouth saw their nine-game winless run come to an end when they secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory away against Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend, picking up their first three points since the World Cup break.
The Cherries’ only attempt on target was with the thigh of Marcus Tavernier, who diverted a Dominic Solanke cross into the net four minutes after the break to secure their first away win since September.
Gary O’Neil’s side have now accumulated five points from their last four Premier League games and have subsequently climbed out of the relegation zone, sitting one place and one point above West Ham United in 18th.
Goals have been hard to come by for Bournemouth since the restart following the World Cup break, with Tavernier’s effort last weekend one of only three league goals in eight games, fewer than any other team in the top flight.
The Cherries have scored in five of their last eight meetings against Man City, though, which will provide them with some hope of causing an upset on Saturday, but they have never beaten the Citizens in 17 previous league encounters – the longest winless run endured by one team against another in English football league history.
Following a disappointing 1-1 draw away against Nottingham Forest last weekend, Man City were forced to play out the same result in Germany against RB Leipzig in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday.
The Citizens were deservedly in front at the break following a first 45 of sheer dominance in possession, with Riyad Mahrez netting a 27th-minute opener. However, to Leipzig’s credit, they came out in the second half with more ambition and a greater threat in the final third, and their efforts were rewarded when Josko Gvardiol headed home a 70th-minute equaliser.
Despite late appeals for a City penalty following an alleged handball from Benjamin Henrichs – with replays since showing that the ball instead struck the Leipzig defender’s shoulder – Pep Guardiola’s side were forced to settle for a draw, and the Spaniard has insisted that he was “delighted” with the result and performance, nevertheless.
City may have only lost one of their last eight matches in all competitions, but their recent form on the road leaves a little to be desired as they have failed to win five of their last six away games, conceding in each of their last five in the process.
However, Guardiola and co will fancy their chances of returning to winning ways against Bournemouth on Saturday as they boast a 100% record in the Premier League against the Cherries, claiming maximum points in all 11 previous meetings – the best win rate in the competition’s history.
The Citizens could find themselves five points behind leaders Arsenal before they even kick a ball at the Vitality Stadium, should the Gunners beat Leicester City in a 3pm kickoff, so claiming their 200th Premier League away victory this weekend could be crucial in their quest to retain their top-flight crown.
Bournemouth possible XI: Neto, Smith, Stephens, Senesi, Zemura, Billing, Lerma, Ouattara, Traore, Anthony, Solanke.
Man City possible XI: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Ake, Rodri, Bernardo, Foden, De Bruyne, Gundogan, Grealish. Haaland.