It was a day to forget for Andoni Iraola's AFC Bournemouth in November, when they were dismantled by Manchester City in a 6-1 thrashing at the Etihad, with Jeremy Doku starring the show.

The Belgian winger played the role of conductor in Pep Guardiola's spectacle, recording four assists whilst also adding himself to a jam-packed scoresheet.

Surprisingly, Erling Haaland failed to add his name to the scoreboard with the other five goals coming from former Cherry Nathan Ake, Manuel Akanji, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva, who got himself a brace. 

Nevertheless, the Norwegian striker still posed a threat to Iraola's defence, with his powerful presence and direct runs allowing space for the other City attackers to exploit.

  • So, how can the Cherries pin down the sharpshooter?

Haaland's scoring versatility means that it is extremely hard to tell what he will do.

It seems that he can score with almost every part of his body, and his inhumane statistics in his Premier League career so far show this. 

This season, he has scored 17 goals in 20 Premier League matches.

13 of his strikes have come on his stronger left foot, with three coming from his head and the other being struck on his right. 

Despite his three headed goals, it was clear in City's stalemate with Chelsea last weekend that Haaland's aerial finishing has room for improvement as he missed a hat-trick of headed attempts. 

Therefore, keeping the 23-year-old in the air may be a solution to the problems he causes.

In doing this, though, the Cherries will have to numb the ability of Guardiola's side to go direct. 

  • What shape can Iraola use to do this? 

Against Chelsea, we saw the champions struggle in their traditional use of pushing players up to outnumber the opposition's defence.

Akanji was dispatched into midfield during attacking phases, moving City into a 3-2-4-1 shape. 

Kevin De Bruyne and Julian Alverez were used as attacking midfielders meaning City had five in attack against Chelsea's four but, Mauricio Pochettino had cancelled out this extra number terrifically. 

Doku was constantly doubled up by Cole Palmer and Malo Gusto, but Gusto's aggressive right-back position meant that space opened between Axel Disasi up for Alvarez to exploit.

This was covered by Moises Caicedo, though, meaning the rest of the back four could stay in their fixed positions ready for a switch in play. 

Jeremy Doku struggled to surpass Malo Gusto last weekend ( image by Simon Stacpoole/offside)

Gusto was barely dribbled past during the fixture, showing that doubling up on the tricky Belgian worked a treat.

However, Chelsea switched to a back five deep into the second half and shortly after, Rodri found the equaliser. 

In the reverse fixture, it was a back five that Iraola used, in the form of a 5-4-1, and it failed dramatically.

Playing a back five against City is a danger due to how they love to dominate possession and keep probing the defence. 

Iraola's decision in November was a surprise, however, as it was the only time the Bournemouth boss has used such a formation this season, having used a 4-2-3-1 in the majority of fixtures. 

Hence, it may be best to stick to his traditional shape and set up in Mauricio Pochettino's doubling-up format. 

  • What can Man City expect from the Spaniard's side? 

Iraola has taken his heavy metal style of play to Bournemouth and it has worked to an extent, with promising performances against Manchester United and Newcastle United before Christmas. 

Andoni Iraola's last win in the premier league was on Boxing Day at home to Fulham (Image by Lee Parker - Camerasport)

In these victories, high pressing and counter-attacking were key.

Their use of constant pressure on the opposition paid off and it is almost like a steeplechase for whoever they play against.

This fearlessness was lacking in the 6-1 thrashing and this is due to the use of a more conservative five back.

Although they have struggled of late, Bournemouth picked up 13 points in five games before Christmas which at the time was the second most within Europe. 

They achieved this astonishing tally in the 4-2-3-1 and utilised fast-breaking to their advantage whilst also tightening up at the back. 

If they can tighten their backline up again, their relentless style could thrive against Guardiola's defence, due to how he moves his players into attacking phases.

It will be interesting to see if Bournemouth can rediscover the defensive solidity they had earlier in the season, and if they do against City, then there is the chance of a historic win at the Vitality Stadium.