City host the Premier League’s newcomers on Saturday afternoon, hoping for a victory in their first competitive fixture back after the much-dreaded international break.
A chance centre-stage: Navas and Bony
The latter has struggled for form in a sky Blue shirt since his January switch from Swansea – where he was their best player, target man, and most-feared opponent. Since his move though, he’s been unable to replicate his impressive performances on a regular basis. Partly because, he’s being overlooked with Agüero’s presence ruling the roost, but also because he’s suffered from a few troublesome injuries since, and needs a good run of form under his belt.
As for Navas, he represents a frustrating symbol for Manuel Pellegrini to constantly ponder every week. Fans are constantly bewildered as to how, and why, the pacey Spaniard manages to make the matchday squad on a regular basis. Not because he’s not good, but he’s simply not consistent enough. A ditherer in possession, he frequently finds himself in excellent positions to create chances, square the ball in the box, or even take a shot.
de Bruyne’s settled in well and in style
Instead, he’ll squander the chance. Over, and over again. The signing of Kevin de Bruyne is undoubtedly a big one, not only because the former Chelsea man has flourished since his move from Stamford Bridge back in January last year, but his quality is undeniable too. Dangerous on the counter, the creative Belgian adds another dimension to City’s play going forward – he fits the David Silva mould, of a player who loves to create chances galore and is silky on the ball.
Bournemouth: A side with nothing to lose
Anyways, enough about the hosts. After all, they entertain Eddie Howe‘s side, and they’ve only picked up two wins out of a possible eight this term. Apart from perhaps Liverpool, the Cherries had every right to pick up much more points than they have done. Draws against Leicester City and Watford (both home), are not particularly bad – but their losses (Norwich excluding) have been slender, meaning they’ve left wanting more from results.
Their losses this term:
- Opening day: 1-0 (h) against Aston Villa
- 17 August: 1-0 (a) against Liverpool
- 12 September: 3-1 (a) vs Norwich
- 26 September: 2-1 (a) vs Stoke City
See what I mean? Their enthralling 4-3 victory away at Upton Park, against West Ham – that was a prime example of their never-say-die attitude. There’s no reason as to why they cannot replicate the same kind of performance against the Citizens, especially with nothing to lose at the Ethiad.
With five players on the injury list, Bournemouth will certainly be the underdogs in their trip to the blue half of Manchester. Amongst them, is Callum Wilson – who scored the League’s first hat-trick and netted six goals in just five appearances. With the underwhelming form of Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane at the moment, the 23-year-old forward was on the verge of his first England call-up, but disaster unfortunately stroke. During their game against Stoke City before the international break, he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament, and has been ruled out for at least six months as a result.
Bournemouth’s creative spark, has also been cruelly stripped away from them. Max Gradel, who started life in England’s top flight commendably well, suffered a similiar injury to Wilson – and will be out until March, at the earliest. Then, just when you thought it couldn’t get much worse.. Tyrone Mings, their highly-rated young defender, has a knee problem of his own. Having had surgery to repair the damage, he could be out of action for nine to TWELVE months, having torn both his anterior cruciate ligament, as well as his medial ligament too.
Harry Arter (hip) and Thomas Elphick (achilles) are the other two absentees and shall not feature in the matchday squad.
*Data correct to the 11th of October, 2015.