Manchester City fans were left with a mixture of emotions after a frustrating draw with Everton on Monday that saw the Blues reduced to ten men following a dubious Kyle Walker second yellow card. The frustration and anger was left to settle down, and now attention turns to the weekend, where another trip down south awaits.
Tomorrow, Guardiola’s men line up against Bournemouth, a side which they have registered a 15-1 aggregate score since the Cherries’ promotion to the top flight.
Despite a sticky start to the season, Bournemouth have invested well in the window and will be eager to get their first points of the season on the board against City, as they look to further cement their position as a solid mid-table side in this division.
Let’s have a look inside the opposition and try and figure out where the danger lies…
Eddie Howe has strengthened wisely this window, adding to his defence and attack equally. Jermaine Defoe was signed from relegated Sunderland on the back of a brilliant season for the Black Cats.
Talking after the win at Birmingham mid-week in the Carabao Cup, an upbeat Howe said that Defoe is better prepared for his first Premier League start for the club following a positive performance at St Andrews.
In the previous two league games, Howe has opted for Benik Afobe. The Cherries have failed to score so far, so fans will be eager to see Defoe in action.
Marc Pugh will be looking to start, after replacing Ibe off the bench in the loss against Watford.
Unlike most sides we come up against, I think Howe’s men will try and go for a win, and create some moments to get the home crowd off their seats. Therefore I don’t see Bournemouth tinkering with their formation too much to park the proverbial bus.
Player to watch
Josh King had a brilliant season last season, really flourishing in the latter ends of it (and being a star man for my fantasy team). The Norwegian managed 16 goals in the league last season, which is a mean figure considering he was a bit of an unknown quantity to many outside of the Bournemouth fan base.
The former Manchester United man attracted attention from Tottenham and Everton, but has opted to stay at Bournemouth where he is one of the main men, rejecting the lure of European football in doing so.
Before Christmas, King was used to the right or left of the attack, but when moved more central his goal scoring rates became more and more consistent. It wouldn’t be rash to suggest King won’t hit the heights of last season, but he will be a solid contributor to Bournemouth’s point tally, with Defoe and others brought in to bolster their chances.
A view from the opposition
I caught up with big Bournemouth fanatic and ex-Ipswich Town player Alex Deutsch to ask about his take on Bournemouth’s slow start, their transfer window and how he feels about the season as a whole for the Cherries.
Thoughts on the start of the season, and what the season may hold in general
The results don’t worry me but the manner of defeats are a cause of concern. We’ve been outplayed by two teams we really should be competing with, if we want to progress and build on last season’s points total. Our footballing philosophy has always seemed to be ‘you score 3 and we’ll score 4’ but our lack of creativity over the last two Premier League games meant we didn’t even come close to scoring. It’s difficult to address exactly the cause of this problem but I believe this falls down to the two Central Midfielders massively underperforming and being far too negative and losing play easily – whilst creating nothing for our attackers.
Views on Bournemouth’s transfer window
Probably a solid 8/10. We’ve signed Jemain Defoe on a free transfer, who is, historically, arguably one of the best Premier League strikers when you look at his goal stats. He’s not quite up to fitness yet but the early signs from him are good – although, without giving him the ball we’ll never know! (Hint hint Central Midfielders)…
Nathan Ake is our record signing at £20m and he’s been by far our stand-out performer. An excellent start by him in what has been a dismal start by the team. Begovic comes a very close second, who looks assured between the sticks and is, in my opinion, an upgrade from Boruc – who I believe is AFCB’s best ever goal keeper.
I’d really like us to sign another right-back as I think there’s not a lot of competition in that area. An attacking CM would be nice too – anyone know what Wilshere is up to?
Thoughts on City’s window from an outside perspective
Without trying to come across bitter, it’s difficult to relate with City’s transfer window in any way, since at a sum of £219,870,000 City have spent more in this window than AFCB have spent in their history. I don’t have a problem with this, as City are by far a bigger club in every aspect and enjoy the increased revenue that come with it. In reality though, Bournemouth have spent £30m in transfer fees this season and that makes it difficult to truly compete with the likes of City. Stick a bid in for Messi and see what happens.
Expectations for the game and who City fans should fear
Unless I’m mistaken, Bournemouth have managed to take points from every Premier League side during our two-season stay in the Premier League. Everyone, that is, except City who truly petrify me every time we play them. The speed in which City attack is lightning and is something you don’t quite realise until you witness it live. And when you compare it to what I’ve watched in the lower leagues (League Two for example), the speed is even more impressive. We’ve scored 1 goal against you in 4 games in the Premier League. We’ve conceded 15. Given our form coming into this game, I don’t expect much. Maybe keep an eye on ‘Wee Man’ Ryan Fraser, who is probably our most direct footballer and wins us plenty of penalties.