Saturday, 2 April 2016

Can Cherries take advantage of Man City's pressure to stay in top four?

As the international break has brought a period of reflection and at the top of the league their remains that unusual look about it and Man City are fighting just to hold on to fourth place. But City look like an injured animal. Raheem Stirling is out for up to four weeks with a groin problem and Joe Hart has damaged his calf and missed the international matches this last week as well. Yaya TourΓ© is out and Vincent Kompany too is back on the sidelines with his calf failing in the Dynamo Kiev match when they also lost Nicolas Otamendi. But the good news for City is that Fabian Delph is expected back having missed the last nine games, and so is Samir Nasri, while Adam Smith may have his work cut out if he is up against a returning Kevin De Bruyne.

Taking out a few of Man City's top players is a bit of a help, but of course they have tremendous talent and the amazing AgΓΌero and Silva are hardly going to be taking it easy on the Cherries with a top four finish at stake. Manuel Pellegrini has decisions to make though with the Champions League quarter-final first leg match against Paris St Germain coming just four days after the Bournemouth match.
AFCB's visit to the Etihad was memorable, but let's hope
for a very different game at Dean Court.

Even more concerning for Pellegrini is Man City's lack of form on the road. They have only won one of their last three away in the Premier League and have only scored one goal in those matches away at Sunderland. While the Capital One Cup was successfully bagged in the last few weeks, it is not a season that many Man City fans will be pleased about unless they can remain in the top four and go further in the Champions League. Pellegrini may have to decide whether the team is strong enough this season to have a real tilt at the Champions League or if it is more important to secure a place behind Leicester, Spurs and probably even Arsenal!

How Man City approach the game against AFCB will indicate much about what that choice is. A 5-1 thumping up at the Etihad last October will still be a dark memory for AFCB players. Eddie Howe needs his players to believe that they can compete against this very best and this is another chance for them to do that. Even the weakened team that Pellegrini put out against Chelsea in the cup was a young side that held their own in that match for 45 minutes, so Eddie knows that even a weakened Man City will have players that are eager to have the opportunity to play and the Cherries will have to be at their very best.

I just have a sneaky feeling that AFCB may have a secret weapon waiting on the bench to come on in this game! 

Man City Away Form
WDWDL

AFCB Home Form

WLLWW

Possible AFCB team: Boruc (GK), Smith (RB), Francis (CD), Cook (CD), Daniels (LB), Ritchie (RM), Surman (CM), Arter (CM), Gradel (LM), Grabban (FW), Afobe (FW)

AFCB subs
Federici, Distin, Elphick, O’Kane, Gosling, Pugh, WILSON?

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