Manchester City's quest for a third successive Premier League title continues as they travel to the Vitality Stadium to face Bournemouth on Sunday.
Despite dominating proceedings in their clash with Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, Pep Guardiola's men had to settle for a point as a combination of Lucas Moura and VAR denied them victory over the north London side.
Nevertheless, they are placed third in the table going into the weekend's action, whilst their opponents are in seventh courtesy of a win and a draw in their first two games of the new season.
Where to Watch
|When is Kick Off?||Sunday 25 August|
|What Time is Kick Off?||14:00 (BST)|
|Where is it Played?||Vitality Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Sky Sports Main Event|
Where to Buy Tickets
Tickets for the game are, as ever, available on both team's official club websites, though membership is required in order to purchase. In terms of resale, both teams provide the option to make season tickets available for others to use, if a supporter is unable to attend the game themselves.
The hosts will be without seven senior players after a series of injuries rocked the club. Long-term absentees Lewis Cook and Simon Francis continue to receive treatment for their respective cruciate ligaments tears, with Junior Stanislas having also been sidelined since the 2018/19 season.
Knee surgery in April has seen Eddie Howe lose the forward for an extended period of time, though Stanislas is expected to return by the end of August. However, midfield duo David Brooks and Dan Gosling will both be out for several months with muscular problems.
Howe is likewise without summer signings Lloyd Kelly and Arnaut Groeneveld, both of whom damaged ankle ligaments during pre-season.
Guardiola has been considerably more fortunate with regards to the fitness of his squad, though a serious knee injury will keep Leroy Sane out until the new year.
Benjamin Mendy is once again plagues by knee issues, but he should make his return by mid-September, whilst fellow defender John Stones will be assessed closer to Sunday's game as he looks to overcome a thigh strain.
|Bournemouth||Ramsdale: Smith, Mepham, Cook, Ake, Rico; Billing, Lerma; Fraser, King; Wilson.|
|Manchester City||Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Cancelo; Fernandinho, De Bruyne, D. Silva; B. Silva, Sterling, Aguero.|
Head to Head Record
Bournemouth's greatest ever result against the Sky Blues is a 3-3 draw in May 1989. That second-tier encounter is one of just two matches with City in which the Seasiders have avoided defeat.
Since their promotion to the Premier League in 2015, the Cherries have endured several hammerings at the hands of the champions. However, they came close to ending a run of seven straight losses in March, only for Riyad Mahrez to break their resolve on the hour-mark.
Guardiola was mightily frustrated by both Bournemouth's mean defence and the rare lack of quality shown by his own players. With midfield linchpin Kevin De Bruyne limping off in the first half and the Belgian's teammates looking lost for ideas, City's £60m record purchase rose to the occasion to score the decisive goal of the game.
Brought off the bench to replace De Bruyne, Mahrez gathered David Silva's poked pass before drilling a low effort through Artur Boruc to keep his side in the hunt for the league title.
Sergio Aguero and co had a total of 30 shots on goal and amassed 13 corners, yet there was a distinct lack of composure once the Lillywhites had been opened up.
Guardiola will demand they make amends for their wayward finishing, though the overall display has still left many pundits predicting another season of City superiority in domestic competition - the immaculate performance of De Bruyne goes some way to explaining that.
For the mean time, however, they have the same points tally as Bournemouth, who have begun the new campaign in impressive form.
A draw with Sheffield United - a team that should not be underestimated - is a respectable result, whilst the victory away to Villa demonstrated that the Cherries possess a killer edge and have a well-drilled defensive setup.
Here's a look at the two teams' last five results.
|Brentford 1-3 Bournemouth (27/7)||Kicthee 1-6 Manchester City (24/7)|
|Bournemouth 3-4 Lazio (02/8)||Yokohama F. Marinos 1-3 Manchester City (27/7)|
|Bournemouth 3-0 Lyon (03/8)||Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City *(4-5 pens) (04/8)|
|Bournemouth 1-1 Sheffield United (10/8)||West Ham United 0-5 Manchester City (10/8)|
|Aston Villa 1-2 Bournemouth (17/8)||Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur (17/8)|
Howe and his troops may have home advantage, yet the Citizens are still overwhelming favourites to emerge triumphant on the south coast.
After failing to down Spurs at the Etihad Stadium, nothing short of a win will do for their insatiable manager. Even three points may not be enough to satisfy the Catalan.
Such intensity can either propel teams to stratospheric levels or lead to a collapse. Given City's record under Guardiola in the last two campaigns, we are likely to see the former, making it difficult to imagine anything other than an away win.
Prediction: Bournemouth 0-2 Manchester City