Manchester City vs AFC Bournemouth Preview: Guardiola hints of changes as City aim to go five clear
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Manchester City vs AFC Bournemouth Preview: Guardiola hints of changes as City aim to go five clear

Manchester City welcome the visit of Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon, here’s everything you need to know ahead of the game. 

Josh Slinger

Manchester City have thus far been as relentless as they were last season, as Pep Guardiola’s men look to pursue their second successive Premier League crown. 

On Saturday afternoon, the Blues will welcome the visit of AFC Bournemouth to the Etihad - the Cherries have also impressed so far this season.

Guardiola hints at rotation 

Recently, City have been struck with many injury blows, as the fixtures pile on as Christmas approaches. 

Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan will all undergo fitness tests ahead of the game, whilst Kevin de Bruyne has been ruled out. 

Guardiola has spoken of the busy fixture schedule, and the impact it has on his players. 

"After this game we have another game in three days.” Started the Spaniard, “It is a tough period. Everyone deserves to play and they are going to play."

Despite the busy schedule, it goes without saying that City have one of the strongest squads in Europe and with their deppth should be able to cope. 

Man City predicted XI: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy; Fernandinho, David Silva, Foden; Mahrez, Aguero, Sane. 

Cherries aim to improve on an abysmal record

Like many sides in England’s top flight nowadays, Bournemouth have a miserable record at the Etihad. 

Eddie Howe’s men have lost 4-0, 4-0 and 5-1 on their preview three trips to the blue side of Manchester, although this isn’t stopping the boss from being optimistic ahead of the long trip up north. 

"Every time we have gone there we have really grown and learnt from the experience although they have been painful.” Admitted Howe, “They have been useful exercises for us during the season and I think we have come back and been a better team for it.”

Bournemouth have endured injury problems of their own recently. Dan Gosling could miss the game due to a slight knock, whilst Jefferson Lerma is unavailable through suspension and Adam Smith is ruled out due to a knee injury. 

AFC Bournemouth predicted XI: Begovic; Francis, S.Cook, Ake, Ming; Cook, Gosling; Brooks, King, Fraser; Wilson.

Bournemouth’s best shot at a result?

Whilst Guardiola’s City are a different animal to what they have ever been before, could Saturday’s game prove one of Bournemouth’s best shot at getting points from the Etihad? 

The south-coasters are yet to win a game against City in the Premier League, even though they have previously matched up 12 times.

However, Bournemouth have thus far proved a well-organised side, with a clear team spirit as well as the ability to hurt the opposition with their pace going forward. 

This one is far from a foregone conclusion, and could prove to work out as one of the games of the weekend, should Howe’s men play to the best of their ability.