Both Manchester City and Bournemouth began the 2022/23 Premier League season with 2-0 wins over West Ham and Aston Villa respectively. The two sides will now battle it out and will be looking for sustained momentum at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
While new star signing Erling Braut Haaland went viral on Twitter for failing to hold back his expletives in the post-match interview, on the pitch, the new City striker marked a sensational start to life in the Premier League. It was his brace that allowed Pep Guardiola’s side to begin their title defence with a comfortable 2-0 victory away from home in the London Stadium against West Ham.
The Norwegian number 9 won and converted a penalty in the 36th minute of the match to open his scoring account in the first division in England. He then latched on to just the perfectly-weighted pass from midfield talisman Kevin De Bruyne in the second half and finished it off with aplomb in order to get City’s campaign up and running.
With this splendid brace, Haaland has already announced himself as an early candidate for the Premier League Golden Boot race. Not only have City begun their title defence in perfect fashion, the first few weeks in the Premier League calendar this season look kind to Pep Guardiola and co.
There might be a certain voodoo attached to the fact that Manchester City will now play their first Premier League fixture at home given that Leicester City had thumped them 5-2 at the Etihad Stadium at the beginning of the 2020-21 season. However, that embarrassment at the hands of the Foxes represents the only defeat for the Citizens from 22 fixtures at home at the start of the season. They have also been particularly dominant on home turf in recent years and will be desperate to not lose any momentum going forward.
The reigning champions of England have won four of their last five Premier League fixtures at the Etihad Stadium. Guardiola’s side has also managed to score two goals in each of their last eight matches in front of the City supporters. With the likes of Haaland and De Bruyne already looking menacing, it could spell danger for Bournemouth.
When Bournemouth took on Aston Villa at the Vitality Stadium in their opening Premier League fixture on Saturday, the two clubs were coming off the back of very different summers. The newly-promoted side had been quite frugal in the market and had no major activity to report. On the other hand, Aston Villa have been big spenders so far this summer.
However, on the pitch, that counted for nought as Scott Parker led his side to mark another embarrassing failure on Steven Gerrard’s CV as a manager. The Liverpool legend has come under some pressure, especially after he oversaw his side’s horrific slump in the final stages of the final match of the Premier League last season where Manchester City scored three goals against Aston Villa to overcome a two-goal deficit and lift the Premier League crown in front of their own supporters.
At the Vitality Stadium, Gerrard also had to witness Jefferson Lerma scoring inside two minutes which is now the quickest goal ever scored for a newly-promoted side on the first weekend of the season in Premier League history. In the second half, Kieffer Moore headed home past stranded goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to send the stadium into frenzy and secure a comfortable 2-0 win.
While their blistering beginning to the 2022/23 Premier League campaign offers plenty of promise, it will be interesting to see whether they are able to sustain that momentum, especially, when facing the defending champions in their own den. It could prove to be tall order for Bournemouth who have also shored up the defence with prolific signings of Neto and Marcos Senesi from Barcelona and Feyenoord respectively.
While Parker’s side did end the 2021-22 Championship season unbeaten in the last four away fixtures and also keeping clean sheets in three of them, he is still awaiting his first slice of victory against Manchester City as a manager after suffering four consecutive defeats during his years managing Fulham. In fact, Bournemouth, as a club, have also not been able to defeat Manchester City on a single occasion in Premier League history.
Manchester City will definitely be gunning for an 11th win out of 11 matches against Bournemouth in the Premier League this weekend. This also represents the best 100% winning streak for a club against any single opponent in the entire history of the Premier League. It goes without saying that the visitors would like to do away with the jinx as soon as possible.
MCI vs BOU, Premier League 2022/23
Date: 13th August, 2022
Time: 7:30 PM IST
Venue: City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester
Manchester City Premier League form:
Bournemouth Premier League form:
Manchester City wins: 10
Bournemouth wins: 0
Manchester City Team News:
Manchester City don’t have a lot of injury concerns at the moment and they should be able to enter Saturday’s match with Aymeric Laporte as the only notable absentee as he is recovering from knee surgery. The match against West Ham at London Stadium also didn’t see the side suffering any fresh concerns.
Bernardo Silva was left out of the starting XI in City’s opening Premier League fixture this season. The Portuguese’s links to Barcelona continue and it will be interesting to see whether the move does end up happening given the Catalan club’s difficulties in registering the new signings. Bernardo has refused to close the door on an exit from the Etihad Stadium this summer but he has made it clear that he doesn’t want to go out through the back door and wants to respect the club if a move does end up taking place.
Riyad Mahrez is also involved in a battle to regain his starting spot on the right side of the attack after Phil Foden had displaced him from the lineup against West Ham. Talented Spanish youngster Sergio Gomez’s arrival from Anderlecht in Belgium is also set to be completed this weekend but it’s extremely unlikely he will play any part in this fixture as the signing hasn’t even been made official yet.
Bournemouth Team News:
On the other hand, as far as Bournemouth are concerned, Scott Parker will be expecting the return of Ryan Fredericks into the mix of things as he recovers from a calf strain. However, there may not be space for Joe Rothwell who is still struggling with thigh problem and it may take him longer to recover.
David Brooks also remains in contention to return to group dynamics as soon as possible after he was diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin lymphoma last year. He has been focusing on his subsequent medical recovery since then and the vibes surrounding his return are positive.
Meanwhile, Scott Parker must also decide whether to throw new signings Neto Murara and Marco Senesi to the deep end straight away. This fixture represents the most difficult challenge on the Premier League calendar for the Bournemouth side and as a result, they might opt for caution instead of recklessness when it comes to the new signings.
Parker would instead love to ease the duo into life in the Premier League from the substitute bench. This could result in Mark Travers starting in goal for Bournemouth at the Etihad this weekend.
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Dias, Stones, Cancelo; Gundogan, Rodri, De Bruyne; Foden, Haaland, Grealish
Bournemouth possible starting lineup:
Travers; Smith, Kelly, Mepham, Lerma, Zemura; Tavernier, Pearson, Billing, Solanke; Moore
Bournemouth deserve plenty of plaudits given the way that they not only saw off the threat from Aston Villa on the opening weekend, but also outperformed them throughout the match. However, a trip to the Etihad Stadium will be an entirely different league of challenge.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City has been one of the most dominant sides in English football and four titles wins in the last five seasons confirm that. As a result, the top-heavy City attack and resourceful midfield should hardly find any problems breaching through Bournemouth’s low block and defence-heavy setup.