Manchester City entertain Bournemouth on Saturday as Pep Guardiola’s men look to continue their perfect start to the season. City are currently on a 7-match winning streak and a good amount of money is on them making it 8. They had the midweek hiccup in terms of scheduling when their match against Borussia Monchengladbach got postponed by 24 hours due to treacherous playing conditions which was a result of torrential downpour and lightning. Pep might have a couple of his usual stars missing on Saturday with the likes of David Silva unlikely to be risked. Though it is expected to be too big an ask for the Cherries, they will be fearless going into the fixture and will look to put pressure on the back-line who like to take risks and have conceded in every match in the league so far.
We look at 3 key battles which will transpire between the sides when they meet at the Etihad tomorrow.
JORDON IBE VS ALEKSANDAR KOLAROV
The Serbian has been pretty impressive since the start of the season but he has also played the maximum number of minutes along with Fernandinho for the Sky Blues till now. Jordan Ibe hasn’t been able to express himself completely since sealing the big money move from Liverpool. He will be fresh and eager to impress against a big team and due to their tendency to play out from the back, the likes of Ibe will have to harry the defenders, especially Kolarov who will be playing on the left-hand side. If Ibe is on form, it will considerably curtail the freedom with which Kolarov would normally operate.
CALLUM WILSON VS JOHN STONES
After notching up their maiden win of the campaign Bournemouth will be high on confidence but they will also be wary of losing their shape against the brilliant City which could result in annihilation. They are likely to sit tight and look to hit on the counter which will leave the likes of Wilson under the obligation of converting the low number of chances they are going to get.
Also in the event when they aren’t in position, Wilson and King will be tasked with putting pressure on the City backline who are expected to keep the ball for long periods of time. The manner in which Wilson pulls off the dual responsibility will have a bearing on the outcome of the match.
KEVIN DE BRUYNE VS COOK & FRANCIS
In the likely absence of David Silva and the ban on Sergio Aguero, the Belgian will again be the creator-in-chief for the flourishing City side. He has slowly grown into this new role and the clinical nature of his play along with the undebatable flair puts him on the list of the most dangerous attacking midfielders in the League.
The Cherries backline will be wary of the threat posed by him and they can ill afford to give him any space to operate in whatsoever. A solid understanding with the midfield will be the need of the hour, or rather 90 minutes on Saturday.