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Preview: Bournemouth vs. Manchester City - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Bournemouth vs. Manchester City - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Manchester City's Premier League trip to Bournemouth.
By , Senior Reporter | 4mo

Manchester City have the chance to reclaim top spot in the Premier League on Saturday when they take on Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

The Citizens trail Liverpool by a point ahead of this weekend's matches, but they are in action a day before the Reds and can up the pressure on their title rivals with victory on the south coast.


Momentum has been hard to come by for Bournemouth over the past four months, and Eddie Howe's men are at risk of sleepwalking their way towards a scrap to avoid relegation.

Thankfully for the Cherries, the gap between themselves and bottom three remains a healthy nine points, despite another poor set of results in the top flight.

Since a run of three wins from four in October that took them up to sixth place, just a point off third, Bournemouth have lost 12, drawn two and won only four matches.

Those four victories have been spread out, beating Huddersfield Town on December 4, Brighton & Hove Albion on December 23, West Ham United on January 19 and Chelsea on January 30.

One point from 12 since the start of the month is a disappointing return, only avoiding defeat in their home match with Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend, yet Howe's men are only two points off ninth place.

The manner of the 5-1 loss to Arsenal last time out would have annoyed Howe, making it nine successive away defeats in the Premier League since beating Watford and Fulham in back-to-back matches two months into the campaign.

Bournemouth have now lost 10 of their last 12 home league games against big-six opponents, though one of those victories did come less than a month ago when thrashing Chelsea 4-0 at the Vitality Stadium - a scoreline that will live long in the memory of their supporters.

The Cherries were superb that day and showed that they are more deserving of a place in the top half than scrapping it out at the bottom. Should their winless run extend by another couple of matches, though, they may well be left looking over their shoulder.

Howe is wary of that being the case, though at the same time Bournemouth are on course to surpass their previous best top-flight finish of ninth.

With just two games against members of the top six left to play - Man City this weekend and Tottenham Hotspur on May 4 - Howe will be keen to get some wins on the board to ensure that the campaign does not end on a negative note.

Recent form in Premier League: WWLLDL

Manchester City

One trophy already secured, Man City's quest for the quadruple is now well and truly on as they prepare for a tough period that sees them play four more times before the middle of March.

Three days on from edging out Chelsea on penalties at Wembley Stadium to lift the EFL Cup, City nearly came crashing back down to earth as they were made to work hard for their 1-0 win over West Ham United.

Sergio Aguero scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot to ensure that City remain within a point of Liverpool, who thumped Watford 5-0 on the same evening to send out a message.

The momentum has been on the Citizens' side for a number of weeks now, having won 15 of their last 16 matches in all competitions to set themselves up for a clean sweep of silverware, but they showed signs of fatigue in midweek and any sort of slip-up now could prove costly.

City have a last-16 return leg against Schalke 04 to prepare for in the Champions League and an FA Cup quarter-final trip to Swansea City over the next fortnight, but for now all focus is on picking up six points from six against Bournemouth and Watford.

With Liverpool heading to bitter rivals Everton on Sunday, Pep Guardiola will see this as a huge chance to increase the pressure on the Reds in what is turning out to be a thrilling title race.

However, Man City have lost three of their last six Premier League away games - more than they had in their previous 34 on the road - going down 2-0 to Chelsea, 2-1 to Leicester City and 2-1 to Newcastle United over the past 12 weeks.

Guardiola admitted after the shock loss at Newcastle that he thought his side's title hopes were over. Jump forward a month, though, and many have City - despite the fact that they are second with 10 games to go - down as the favourites to retain their crown.

After winning their last four league matches by an aggregate score of 12-1, it is clear to see why. Unless Bournemouth can produce a shock result, top spot will be City's again come kickoff in the Merseyside derby - how Liverpool handle the pressure in that one could well determine where the title ends up come the end of May.

Recent form in Premier League: WLWWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWWW

Team News

Aguero is one of those that looked tired in the narrow win over West Ham, but he is unlikely to be given a breather as Gabriel Jesus is still struggling with a thigh injury and is unlikely to be available.

Benjamin Mendy is closing in on a return to first-team action after being named on the bench in midweek, though he will be made to wait for his first start as Oleksandr Zinchenko has performed well at left-back.

There will be no Fernandinho because of injury, meanwhile, and centre-backs Aymeric Laporte and John Stones are also on the sidelines.

Elsewhere, Kyle Walker did not feature until against United, while Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling were second-half subs, so all three are in line to be used from the off at the Vitality Stadium.

That is bad news for Bournemouth as Sterling has scored in all six Premier League matches against them and could become the fourth player to score in seven consecutively against an opponent, and the first since Romelu Lukaku in October 2016 against West Ham.

In terms of the home side, Jefferson Lerma is still absent because of a two-game ban for an accumulation of yellow cards, leaving Andrew Surman as the most likely candidate to fill in alongside Dan Gosling in central midfield, as he did against Arsenal.

Howe also has a number of injury problems to contend with, including the likely absence of Steve Cook and Dominic Solanke at either end of the pitch, which will restrict the number of changes he can make on the back of the heavy loss in North London.

Joshua King is fit to lead the line, however, and he has had a hand in five goals in his last three Premier League home games, scoring four and assisting one.

Bournemouth possible starting lineup:
Boruc; Clyne, Mepham, Ake, Daniels; Ibe, Gosling, Surman, Fraser; Mousset, King

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Kompany, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Gundogan, D.Silva; Bernardo, Aguero, Sterling

Head To Head

Bournemouth have failed to beat Man City in any of their previous 13 league meetings and have lost all seven encounters in the Premier League, conceding 24 goals and scoring just three.

The Citizens' perfect win return in seven matches with the Cherries is the best in Premier League history and the joint-best in top-flight history, along with Brighton against Wolves (also seven wins from seven).

Goals from Bernardo, Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan earned Guardiola's men a 3-1 victory in the reverse fixture three months ago.

We say: Bournemouth 0-3 Manchester City

Man City have won all six of their Premier League games on the south coast under Guardiola, with their last such defeat coming at Southampton in May 2016. Anything other than a straightforward away win seems unthinkable, piling the pressure on Liverpool ahead of their trip across Stanley Park.

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