After taking four points against two newly promoted sides, things get much tougher for Bournemouth in the Premier League this weekend when they host reigning champions Manchester City at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday (9am ET).
The fixture generator handed Bournemouth a soft start to the season by making Sheffield United and Aston Villa their first two opponents. While a 1-1 draw at home to the former was a little disappointing, Bournemouth then took three points away to latter last weekend.
Eddie Howe’s side came flying out of the blocks and found themselves two goals to the good inside the opening 12 minutes. First, Callum Wilson was clumsily upended by the Villa goalkeeper for a penalty converted by Josh King two minutes in. Then, Harry Wilson picked up possession and fired in a deflected long-range shot to double their lead.
Thereafter, Bournemouth were fairly content to sit back and look for opportunities on the counter-attack. Villa did pull one back with 20 minutes left to play, but Bournemouth held out to take their first win of the season. Four points from two matches represents a solid start, not least because of how much they tailed off during the second half of last season.
Over the first half of the campaign, Bournemouth had the 12th best record in the league, having taken an average of 1.37 points per match. Ten matches in, they were sitting as high as sixth in the table. But they were the fifth-worst team in the league over the second half of the campaign, taking just one point per match. That is a rate that would have only narrowly seen them avoid relegation if extrapolated over the entire season.
If Bournemouth had begun this season in a similar vein, it might have looked like an irreversible issue. As it is, they have been given the opportunity to get some points on the board early on, although it is very unlikely they will add to their haul this weekend.
Bournemouth did defeat both Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur on home soil last season, but they otherwise struggled to compete against the top six. Their other four home matches against them all ended in defeat, as did all six of their away engagements. Man City recorded a 1-0 win at the Vitality Stadium and a 3-1 win on home soil at the Etihad.
Those results were entirely par de course for this fixture. Man City have won all eight matches between these sides since Bournemouth’s promotion to the top flight in 2015 and have often done so by wide margins. Four of those matches saw them triumph by four goals. Just twice have they only won by a single goal.
Pep Guardiola’s side gave ample demonstration of their attacking talents in their opening match of the season when they recorded a 5-0 win away to West Ham, with Raheem Sterling scoring a hat-trick. They could easily have got another three or four on the board last weekend, in an eventually frustrating 2-2 draw at home to Tottenham.
Man City did, in fact, seem to have scored a late winner after goals from Sterling and Sergio Aguero had twice been equalized by the visitors. Gabriel Jesus’ strike was ruled out due to an innocuous handball from Aymeric Laporte in the build-up. VAR and the new handball rule combined to deny Man City the victory their dominance of the match probably deserved. They outshot a fellow top-four side by an incredible 30 shots to three.
It provided further, albeit circumstantial at this stage, evidence that City could end up being even better than they were last season, perhaps even than they were in 2017-18. They bought well over the summer and if they get a full season out of Kevin de Bruyne, provider of both assist against Spurs, who missed half of last season with various injuries, that might just be.
Our Preview’s Bournemouth vs Man City Predictions & Picks Verdict
What is clear is that Man City should be expected to comfortably overcome Bournemouth on Sunday. Five of their eight consecutive victories against them have been achieved without conceding, including their triumph at the Vitality Stadium last season. There is some value in a score/win double that includes Sterling given that he’s scored in six of his last seven matches against Bournemouth, but it is the win to nil market that looks most attractive with the online American sports betting sites. So here are our Bournemouth vs Man City predictions:
- The pick is to bet on Manchester City to win to nil. The way to do this is find the “match result and both teams to score” market with the excellent Bovada Sportsbook and then bet on “Manchester City Win and No” @ odds of +105.