Manchester City will be looking to retain their increasingly slender grip on a Champions League place when they visit a Bournemouth side which will still be harbouring ambitions of a top-half finish.
Home boss Eddie Howe will be calling on his team to produce an improvement for this one after they rather went down without a fight in their last match away to title hopefuls Tottenham. Behind within a minute, the Cherries rarely looked capable of mounting a recovery and duly ended up suffering a comprehensive defeat which ended an impressive run of three successive wins. On the positive side, they will not have to face Harry Kane again this season after they again fell victim to his scoring exploits.
With all the pressure here set to be on the visitors, Bournemouth may sense a chance of adding another notable scalp to the collection they have amassed during their first year in the top-flight. With Man City looking so vulnerable defensively at present, this will be a day for the returning Junior Stanislas to make his mark, while Benik Afobe can always be counted upon to capitalise on any hesitation at the back. Victory for the Dorset club will move them on to the safe haven of 41 points.
The alarm bells must be sounding louder and louder at Man City at every passing bad result, which are invariably being matched by insipid performances. It is a run that is putting their hopes of featuring in Europe’s leading competition for next term in serious doubt, with the teams queing up behind them to take their place in the top four should they slip up again. There may be a key Champions League clash with Paris St. Germain coming up in midweek, but there is a pressing need for victory here.
Before the international break it was the Manchester derby, but despite the magnitude of the occasion City were flat as can be throughout and never looked like troubling the scorers. Martin Demichelis was singled out for having a nightmare at the back, but in truth the whole team was lacking, with David Silva especially appearing far from his usual self. A win at the Vitality Stadium would not solve all the club’s current problems, but it would at least see them heading back in the right direction.
Harry Arter and Josh King are both doubts for Bournemouth, while Tyrone Mings has suffered a setback in his recovery from a long-term knee injury.
Willy Caballero will be in goal for Man City in place of the injured Joe Hart, while they also unable to call upon Fabian Delph, Vincent Kompany, Raheem Sterling and Yaya Toure.