Bournemouth welcome Manchester City to the Vitality Stadium in the early kick-off on Saturday as they look to earn their first points of the season. It will be a difficult fixture against Pep Guardiola’s men, but the Cherries had a good home record during the last campaign and will be hopeful of similar this time around.
They are currently one of five teams that haven’t managed to earn a single point in the first two matches, but it is early days. Bournemouth started slowly last season and it seems to be a recurring theme with Eddie Howe’s team. Their signings of Asmir Begovic, Nathan Ake and Jermain Defoe led to optimism, but two poor results have seen doubts start to emerge.
Manchester City have started the season in reasonable form, but they have yet to find their stride with problems emerging with their new formation. They are struggling to fit all of their best players into the team, with others struggling to impact the play in the formation. The best example of this is Kevin de Bruyne, who hasn’t been able to get into advanced positions frequently enough to be at his most effective. Guardiola will need to address this sooner rather than later.
Bournemouth have lost their first two matches without scoring a goal. The first weekend was always likely to be tricky against a well-organised West Brom side, but their home defeat to Watford was a surprise. They managed to bounce back with a win over Birmingham City in the week, but they will be desperate to get off the mark in the Premier League.
During the opening weekend, Manchester City overcame a stubborn Brighton side and took a well-deserved three points. It wasn’t convincing, but there was enough about their performance to encourage supporters. Last week, they struggled to create clear-cut chances against Everton and could have lost the game on another day. Their starting eleven looks disjointed and adjustments need to be made if they are to be successful.
Jermain Defoe could be given his first Premier League start of the season in place of Benik Afobe. That is the only change that the home side are likely to make.
Danilo will start at right wing-back in place of the suspended Kyle Walker. Raheem Sterling could be pushing for a start after his strong showing last weekend, but there isn’t an obvious place for him in this formation.
Simon Francis and Junior Stanislas remain a couple of weeks away from a return. Meanwhile, Callum Wilson isn’t expected to be back from his ACL injury until October.
Kyle Walker is set to miss out through suspension, which means Danilo is likely to be given another Premier League start. Benjamin Mendy and Ilkay Gundogan are both nearing a return to the first team.
Score prediction – Bournemouth 1-2 Manchester City
This should be an away win, but they haven’t convinced in the Premier League yet and that should give Bournemouth confidence. The fact that the home side have yet to pick up any points in the league suggests they won’t be in the right frame of mind to pull off a shock. City are likely to run out winners, but it won’t be as comfortable as many would expect.