Having already mathematically secured second place in the Premier League, following their 5-0 rout at Brighton last time out as well as their impending European ban now overturned, Manchester City are now safe in the knowledge that they will be in Europe’s elite competition next season.
Pep Guardiola’s side welcomes Bournemouth to the Etihad on Wednesday night, with Eddie Howe’s side embroiled in one of the most hotly contested relegation battles in recent years.
The Cherries are just three points adrift of safety, following a resounding win over Champions League-chasing Leicester in their last game. However, in their last three outings to the north-west, Eddie Howe’s side have conceded ten, so the size of the task that awaits them is there for all to see.
In fact, the visitors have lost all nine Premier League meetings against City with an aggregate score of 28-4. This is incidentally, the best 100% record one opponent has over another in English top-flight history.
25.08.19 Premier League Bournemouth 1-3 Manchester City
02.03.19 Premier League Bournemouth 0-1 Manchester City
01.12.18 Premier League Manchester City 3-1 Bournemouth
23.12.17 Premier League Manchester City 4-0 Bournemouth
26.08.17 Premier League Bournemouth 1-2 Manchester City
13.02.17 Premier League Bournemouth 0-2 Manchester City
Sergio Aguero remains out for the season after undergoing knee surgery so will be unavailable to Pep Guardiola’s side for the foreseeable future.
Joao Cancelo is also carrying a slight knock so could pave the way for Kyle Walker to come in at right-back for the hosts.
Bournemouth will be unable to call upon Nathan Ake for the trip north it seems. This after the Dane limped off during the victory against Leicester and is a substantial loss as Eddie Howe’s side look to beat the drop.
Simon Francis and Chris Mepham will be unavailable for selection on Wednesday night, so Steve Cook should slight in alongside Lloyd Kelly in defence against City.
Although at times Bournemouth looked a team possessed, I think it’s safe to say that that result last time out surprised many as the Cherries have looked average for the most part in their games since the restart.
A trip to the Etihad is daunting for any visiting side and the loss of Nathan Ake is so significant and severely hampers Bournemouth’s chances of even getting a point here. It would be a truly remarkable feat if they were to come out of this game with anything other than a loss and it's no disrespect to lose to Manchester City in any case.
But dropped points earlier down the line and a defeat to City will not only cost Bournemouth a chance at being triumphant on Wednesday but will result in just another unfortunate setback, in my opinion, as they look towards second-tier football next season I’m afraid to say.
Match Preview written by Jack Mirkovic