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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Man City v Bournemouth: Home in on handicaps for rampant hosts

Man City v Bournemouth: Home in on handicaps for rampant hosts

Manchester City will make changes but Dave Tindall still expects Pep Guardiola's side to cruise past Bournemouth on Wednesday evening...

Man City v Bournemouth
Wednesday, 18:00
Live on Sky Sports Premier League

Euro boost for goal-crazy City

Manchester City have lost twice since football returned but the overriding impression has been of a side blowing sides away with an explosion of goals.
Those two defeats came on the road and exposed ongoing weaknesses but they've certainly given a reminder that their best is better than anyone else's.
They come into this one on the back of a pair of 5-0 victories - away to Brighton on Saturday and at home to Newcastle last Wednesday.
That makes it three 5-0 wins in seven Premier League matches since lockdown ended while they've also thumped champions Liverpool 4-0 and Arsenal 3-0.
Add in the filter of home games and the score reads: Man City 17 Opposition 0.
Talking of aggregate scores - and Bournemouth fans will be acutely aware of the lopsided nature - City have won the nine meetings against the Cherries by a tally of 28-4.
And if all the above numbers aren't enough, City come into the game boosted by the knowledge that their two-year Champions League ban has been overturned.
With that uncertainty removed, maybe City will have an even bigger strut in their stride.

Bournemouth not down and out yet

Wins for West Ham and Watford at the weekend briefly left third-bottom Bournemouth six points from safety.
And when Leicester took a 1-0 lead at the Vitality on Sunday, it only seemed to confirm that Eddie Howe's side were on an inevitable path towards relegation which they could seemingly do nothing about.
However, just when scripts seem written, sport can throw in the most unexpected twists.
My personal experience of that game was a check on the scoreline after an hour (still 1-0 Leicester) and then another just over 30 minutes later which produced a widening of the eyes and a double take - Bournemouth 4-1 Leicester.
Those four goals - Junior Stanislas, Dominic Solanke (2) and a Jonny Evans' OG - came in a mad 17-minute spell and, while it's still a huge ask for them to get anything from a trip to a rampant City, at least they can go there with a more positive outlook.
And with games at home to Southampton and away to an out-of-sorts Everton on final day, Bournemouth still have hope that a great escape is possible.

Handicaps will be of more interest

For the record, the basic Match Odds show Man City at 1.17, with The Draw 9.80 and Bournemouth 21.00.
The Cherries have lost their last nine away games so it hardly seems likely they'll snap the sequence at the Etihad.
But given those four City home wins since the restart - 3-0, 5-0, 4-0 and 5-0 - punters will be far more inclined to check out the handicaps.
They show Man City -1 at 1.44Man City -2 at 2.12 and Man City -3 at 3.30.
Perhaps Bournemouth will put up a bigger fight than expected given that Leicester result and maybe City will have one eye on Saturday's FA Cup semi-final with Arsenal.
But the fact is, City are rampant so it's hard to see how they fail to do what they do best and score a series of picture book goals and win this easily.
Being able to make five subs has allowed Guardiola to rotate his big players and play them for 30 or 60 minutes so, although he's promising six changes to the side which started at Brighton, that doesn't put me off getting firmly behind them here.
That view is helped by Bournemouth losing their best defender, Nathan Ake, to a groin injury which almost certainly rules him out.
Looking at those recent City games, Raheem Sterling made it seven in seven with a hat-trick at Brighton at the weekend, Gabriel Jesus has ended a drought with strikes in his last two games and others are chipping in too.
City have won this fixture at the Etihad by 3-1, 4-0, 4-0 and 5-1 since Bournemouth were promoted so, on all the evidence, I'll split stakes between Man City -2 (the first odds-against price) and Man City -3.

BTTS betting surprisingly tight

Those four thumping wins to nil at the Etihad in the last month suggest that Bournemouth have a massive task to get on the scoresheet.
That said, they've scored in two of their last four trips to the Etihad so it's daft to simply strike a line through the idea.
However, plenty will be happy to pull the trigger on City to win to nil at 2.08.
As for the Both teams to Score market, it's closer than you might think, with 'Yes' at 2.00 and 'No' 1.98.
While holes can be picked in City's defenders on an individual basis, just how much of the ball will Bournemouth see and, therefore, how many decent chances will the visitors get?
Very few could be the answer and City have the best home defensive record in the league.

Sterling has feasted on Cherries

In terms of goalscorers, all roads seem to lead to Raheem Sterling although you may want to see starting XIs before pulling the trigger.
As well as his treble at Brighton, he's scored in all three home games he's played since football came back.
Just as compelling is that Bournemouth just don't know how to handle him. Sterling has scored nine goals in eight games against them, drawing a blank just once.
Sterling is 1.88 to add to his tally.
Kevin De Bruyne at [2.62] is another option. Winding back, he has six in his last 12 matches and has finally become Pep's go-to penalty taker.

Opta Stat

Man City manager Pep Guardiola has won his first seven Premier League matches against Bournemouth; only versus Malaga and West Ham (8 each) has he won his first eight league meetings against a single opponent in his managerial career.