Date: 11th February 2017 at 3:51pm
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City travel south once again for their next Premier League fixture and will hope that they can plunder the same goal mine that they have found on recent trips to the nation`s capital against West Ham and Crystal Palace.

Despite the best efforts of the schedule planners at Sky and the Premier League the City faithful will turn up once again in numbers despite this game being scheduled for 8pm on a Monday evening at a ground about which is as far away from Manchester as it is possible to get in the league – 252 miles. Good try guys but with all the away tickets sold out weeks before the game it would seem that plan failed. Well done to all those Blues making the trip.

Pep once again will have a full squad to pick from so good luck to those on VMC who play ‘Be The Manager’ – trying to guess who he might select has proved to be one of the biggest challenges this season. By the time the team sheet is announced at 7pm on Monday I expect the ‘OMG how dare he treat Aguero like that’ media frenzy to once again have built to another hysterical frenzy. Having retained a winning front line against Swansea last weekend and been vindicated when his new signing Gabriel Jesus scored the winning goal and secured all three points in added time, you might be forgiven for thinking the media would focus on the astute management and decision making of the coach who kept faith in this young talent. Instead we were subjected to days of endless speculation and media punditry drivel about how ‘you can’t leave a player like Aguero on the bench’ and which club might be ‘in for Aguero’ I am only surprised that language specialists weren’t engaged to dissect the comments made by the player and the manager [D’OH]. Pep may well select both Aguero and Jesus against Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth but I doubt that it even that would dampen the speculation swirling around Sergio Aguero’s future. I suppose it is inevitable but the shallow nature of much of what has been produced on this subject since the weekend has been painful, hypocritical and fatuous with much of it falling into the ‘You HAVE to play Aguero’ despite the previous gross under appreciation of his contribution to the Premier League as identified in an article highlighted in separate thread – click here for details.

Should Sterling make way to accommodate Aguero’s return doubtless the media will run the headlines ‘Sterling CRISIS’ swiftly followed by the denunciation of Pep for treating ‘young British talent’ so harshly accompanied by photos of Raheem saving money shopping at Aldi or driving a car which SHOCK HORROR, hasn’t been washed. Go figure.

Kompany may be due for another outing in defence especially as the Champion’s League last sixteen fixture against Monaco grows nearer and Caballero seems likely to retain his position between the posts but frankly picking the defence is like a lucky dip these days. The rest period probably since the Swansea game means that the creative duo of De Bruyne and Silva may well be retained ahead of Yaya Toure but whether Pep will once again choose to deploy Fernandinho as a False Full Back is anyone’s guess. Fun times!!

Bournemouth have been struggling of late with their most recent outing seeing them ship 6 goals against Everton. They have yet to win a game in 2017 but they have scored three against Arsenal and the same number at Everton so caution is required and Pep will be well aware of their threat. City have fared well against the Cherries since they joined the Premier League and would be looking to continue this pattern. Aside from winning the game I am hoping that for once we can leave the pitch having acquired fewer cards than our opponents – the puzzle as to why City, so often with vastly superior possession stats, seem to collect so many more cautions etc than the opposition remains a puzzle. Neil Swarbrick is the man with the cards this week – let’s hope he doesn’t have any controversial calls to make. Harry Arter is likely be gunning for young Jesus this week especially if Gabriel is played on the left. Arter was the player who got underneath Nolito’s skin when the sides met at the Etihad and so I suspect he will make it his mission to continue Gabriel’s ‘Welcome to the Premier League’ induction package given he tops the home side’s discipline table. So far the young Jesus has shown himself to be pretty robust and unafraid of the physical side of the game though so I am hoping he can leave the Bournemouth defenders trailing in his wake a few times.

Eddie Howe’s stock seems to have fallen somewhat since he was being mentioned as a possible choice for the England job. He certainly wants his side to play football and so must be given due credit for that but given that his side sat in 7th place when the team’s last met in September he must be casting anxious glances over his shoulder at the relegation trap door now that they sit in 14th place*. They have a five point buffer at the moment but as we have seen in the past it is not uncommon for a side to get sucked back into the relegation battle despite appearing to sit comfortably above the drop zone. Their display at Goodison Park should give City and Pep pause for thought – they conceded a three goal lead but got themselves back into the game pulling two goals back before conceding again so no lead can be taken for granted; there can be no laurels rested upon.

Bournemouth will be keen to end their miserable run and avoid being dragged back into the relegation dogfight; with all the main title rivals (& the rags) having played before the teams take the field on Monday evening City will know what they have to do…which would be the same as if they kicked off at 3pm Saturday afternoon. Win the game, and win it well.

This could be a cracker!

Come On City!!!

Team News

Man City
Out – Gundogan
Doubtful –

Out – Wilson
Doubtful – Daniels; Smith; Francis

Form (last 8 all comps)

Bournemouth LWDLLDLL
Manchester City LWWLDWWW

Previous meeting (last 3 matches)

EPL 17/09/16 Manchester City 4 Bournemouth 0
EPL 02/04/16 Bournemouth 2 Manchester City 4
EPL 17/10/15 Manchester City 5 Bournemouth 1

Goals – Bournemouth 1 City 13
Y Cards – Bournemouth 2 City 4
R Cards – Bournemouth 0 City 1

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