Bournemouth vs Man City – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Saturday 25th February 2023
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we take a look at Manchester City’s visit to the Vitality Stadium. City can’t afford to be dropping more points, and Bournemouth have avoided defeat in 7 of 11 home games. Can they do it again? Read on with our Bournemouth vs Man City prediction.
Bournemouth vs Man City Match Preview
Bournemouth earned something of a respite from their relegation woes with their first Premier League win since mid-November to pull themselves out of the drop zone, temporarily at least. At first glance, the statistics from their 1-0 victory away to Wolves don’t look too healthy – 31% possession, 1 shot on target from five attempts in total, three of them blocked by the Wolves defence. However, Bournemouth’s goal came from a well-fashioned, clear opportunity where it would have been easier to score than miss, and as a result, the xG stats were 1.25 – 1.09 in favour of Wolves, but not quite the fluke victory that some observers felt it was.
Some excellent last-ditch defending from the Bournemouth defence and a couple of teasing Wolves crosses that narrowly missed their targets meant that Bournemouth earned their second away win of the season and what’s more, their first clean sheet. While we’re certainly not going to prematurely claim that Bournemouth’s chances of Premier League survival have undergone a dramatic transformation, they now have five points from their last four Premier League matches which has surely given the south coast club some hope.
Following Arsenal’s last-gasp victory over Aston Villa in the early Saturday afternoon kick-off, Man City failed to keep pace with their title-challenging rivals after they failed to make their dominance pay against an obdurate Nottingham Forest side, who had Keylor Navas to thank with a string of saves and also the crossbar which denied Erling Haaland. City were duly made to pay for their profligacy, with Forest scoring via a rapier counterattack with Chris Wood able to finish at the back post to earn the home side a valuable, unexpected point against the champions.
This result leaves City two points behind Arsenal having played an additional match. Over the course of their last 10 games, Pep Guardiola’s men have now dropped 10 points from 10 matches, and they’re perhaps fortunate that Arsenal have done exactly the same (although City’s victory at the Emirates Stadium accounts for three of those dropped points). After dropping points to one newly-promoted side who aren’t out of the woods yet, City can ill-afford to drop points to another relegation-threatened club.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Lerma, Stanislas, Tavernier, Zabarnyi, Zemura
Will Not Play: Brooks, Cook, Kelly
Might Not Play: De Bruyne, Laporte
Will Not Play: Stones
Bournemouth vs Man City Lineups (Predicted)
Bournemouth (4-4-1-1): Neto; Zemura, Mepham, Senesi, Smith; Tavernier, Lerma, Billing, Ouattara; Traore; Solanke
Man City (3-3-3-1): Ederson; Ake, Laporte, Dias; Silva, Gundogan, Rodri; Grealish, De Bruyne, Mahrez; Haaland
Bournemouth vs Man City Analysis
Bournemouth’s Improving Defence
Continuing our theme of improved defences for sides in the bottom five of the Premier League table, Bournemouth have conceded just three goals in their last four matches as they seek to tighten up at the back and make themselves difficult to play against first and foremost. It’s having the desired effect – a priceless victory away to Wolves follows an impressive 1-1 home draw against high-flying Newcastle. A game in which, arguably at least, despite having 33% possession and fewer shots on target (five to Newcastle’s seven), Bournemouth were the better side overall having created the better chances.
A recurring theme in Bournemouth’s defensive improvement is their ability to defend compactly and put their bodies on the line. While this may seem simplistic, it’s worth noting that in losing to Manchester United 3-0 and Brentford 2-0, Bournemouth blocked a total of two shots in 180 minutes plus. Against Forest, Brighton, Newcastle and Wolves combined, they blocked 20 shots – an average of five blocked shots every 90 minutes, at five times the rate of their limp defeats to United and Brentford. Simply put, better defending is yielding better results (we hesitate to say effort, as that implies that Bournemouth’s defenders were guilty of being unprofessional and we try to avoid such insinuations).
Are City Better Off Playing More Directly Here?
When you’re facing a team battling for survival and managing to remain compact, blocking shots and restricting the opposition to a goal here and there, it’s perhaps prudent to ensure that the opposition isn’t able to reset themselves too easily. One of the risks of playing a highly controlled, possession-based style of football is that the opposition can allow your team to have the ball in relatively benign situations i.e. around the halfway line, and then engage with the press as the attacking team enters the final third in the hopes of winning the ball and breaking at pace into vacated space.
Some tend to confuse direct play with old-fashioned long-ball play, but that’s not the case. City have the ability to play at a higher tempo against Bournemouth, and perhaps it’s incumbent upon them to dispense with some of the additional passes that they use to maintain control while waiting for positional lapses. At their best, City are capable of breathtaking, high-tempo one-touch football to force the issue and provide their goal threats, particularly Haaland and Mahrez if he starts here, with the opportunity to run onto chances rather than having to force their way through a packed defence. We know how Bournemouth will play here, and it’s City’s responsibility to not allow Bournemouth the opportunity to settle and organise.
Anybody with even a passing interest in the sport can predict the flow of the game here. Bournemouth will be compact and look for opportunities to press and break from midway in their own half. A higher line of engagement for the Bournemouth press provides City with too much room to operate, so this makes sense. While City will be happy in terms of the chances they created against Forest, they will be aware of the need to move the ball quicker against a side who, despite being pegged as a defensively poor team, have defended well over the last four games and continue to improve in that respect.
Therefore, we’re going to predicate our prediction upon the assumption that City have the talent and experience to adapt and make their chances pay this time out. However, we’re not predicting the kind of rout that some are predicting. Yes, this is football and City could very well win 6-0, but we’re going to give Bournemouth credit for their improved defensive displays and state that we’re of the opinion that City will emerge with what some would describe as the stereotypical ‘professional’ win.
Bournemouth 0-2 Man City
Bournemouth vs Man City Betting Tip – Man City -1 (Win by Two Goals or More) Odds:
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