Manchester City vs Bournemouth predictions: Goal-hungry Haaland to devour Cherries

Simon Barlow
Spotlight
Pep Guardiola will be eager for Manchester City to chalk up another victory
Pep Guardiola will be eager for Manchester City to chalk up another victory

Bournemouth have never beaten the blue half of Manchester and their sorry sequence against City in the Premier League era suggests they will return empty-handed from the Etihad Stadium.

Scott Parker's side took advantage of an inept display from Aston Villa last Saturday to make early inroads into their 38-point survival target.

But there will be no such helping hand from Pep Guardiola's side, who got their title defence off to the perfect start with a 2-0 win over West Ham.

Summer signing Erling Haaland displayed his gluttony for goals and, in colourful fashion, his dismay at being substituted when on a debut hat-trick.

So the former Borussia Dortmund striker should welcome the chance to seek out more at a place where City averaged three goals a game last term.

Team news

Spain international Aymeric Laporte is the only absentee for the defending champions as the central defender recovers from knee surgery. 

And Guardiola could roll out the same XI because City did not pick up any fresh concerns at the London Stadium.

Manchester City dominated West Ham in the opening match of the season
Manchester City dominated West Ham in the opening match of the season

Unchanged teams and the Spaniard are not often heard in the same sentence and he has been provided with the deepest squad in the Premier League for a reason.

He did, however, play the same starting line-up three times in a row at the start of last season as the champions strolled to 5-0 victories over Norwich and Arsenal.

And on the previous occasion he kept faith with the same XI, his side destroyed Stoke 7-0.

As for Bournemouth, new signings Neto and Marcos Senesi could be involved.

Neto will be battling for the No1 spot at Bournemouth
Neto will be battling for the No1 spot at Bournemouth

Parker confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Argentinian centre-back Senesi will feature at some stage. 

But it would be tough on Mark Travers to lose his place to new Brazilian goalkeeper Neto after a clean sheet.

The Cherries boss is hopeful of welcoming Ryan Fredericks into the fold following a calf injury, although Joe Rothwell is unlikely to be fully fit after a thigh problem.

The stats

Haaland has scored a brace on the opening league weekend in each of the past three seasons.

As far as a Premier League debut goes, it was close to perfect as the Norwegian completed 21 of his 24 attempted passes for a completion rate of 88%.

His goals capped off a wonderful team display from the Premier League champions at the London Stadium in which Guardiola's team had possession for more than 46 minutes — translating to just over 75% of the time the ball was in play.

Bournemouth benefitted from Jefferson Lerma's early strike — the quickest goal scored on opening weekend by a newly-promoted team in Premier League history — after one minute and 56 seconds against Villa.

But the Cherries have lost each of their last 11 meetings with City dating back to 2015, conceding 32 goals and scoring just six times in the process.

Prediction

The Premier League occasionally throws in the odd curveball but this game is unlikely to go any other way than badly for Bournemouth.

City can dominate possession against even the best teams in the division — or Europe — so how the Cherries get on will come down to their ability to find an outlet ball to the striker and if they can stop the hosts' world-class attack.

An intriguing angle is already emerging on which of the two big-money striker signings made by City and title rivals Liverpool will finish with more goals — or if either can better Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane.

Haaland has fitted in so perfectly to Guardiola's game plan that he looks a major candidate to hog the headlines again here, with two more goals likely to be added to his tally.

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