Manchester City host AFC Bournemouth at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon looking to maintain their fine post-international break form.
City come into the weekend’s contest fresh off the back of a full midweek break from competitive club duties, having not been involved in Carabao Cup fourth round action due to their early exit from the competition.
Last time out in the Premier League, Manchester City comfortably dismissed of Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United at Old Trafford, with Erling Haaland scoring a phenomenal brace and assisting another strike finished off by Phil Foden.
Manchester City come into the weekend’s scheduling sitting third in the Premier League table, level on points with last season’s title challengers Arsenal and two points behind the current leaders Tottenham – who remain unbeaten this season.
Pep Guardiola has a fully-fit squad at his disposal once again this weekend, with the exception of Kevin De Bruyne – who remains ruled out for a prolonged period of the ongoing season having undergone surgery on a hamstring problem earlier in the campaign.
As such, the meeting with Bournemouth may allow for Pep Guardiola to strategically rotate his side with upcoming matches in mind, and with Champions League qualification for the knock-out stages now within reach following three wins from their opening three group contests.
Ahead of the clash between Manchester City and AFC Bournemouth, as well as Nathan Ake’s reunion with the Cherries, here is how we predict Pep Guardiola will line-up his side on Saturday afternoon in a traditional 3PM kick-off!
Ederson will start in goal against Bournemouth, despite comments from his colleague Stefan Ortega Moreno in midweek outlining his ambitions of becoming first-choice goalkeeper for Manchester City.
We expected Kyle Walker to start at right-back for Pep Guardiola’s side, and as such allow for Rico Lewis to then come into the line-up during the Champions League affair against BSC Young Boys at the Etihad Stadium.
John Stones and Ruben Dias make up our traditional centre-back pairing against the Cherries, although we anticipate the former to make the step into midfield and join the defensive midfielder when in offensive possession.
Making a reunion appearance against Bournemouth, we predict that Nathan Ake will start at left-back on Saturday afternoon, enabling Josko Gvardiol to take a seat on the bench and take on some much-needed rest.
Rodri will start as Manchester City’s traditional lone defensive midfielder.
Ahead of the Spaniard, we expect Mateo Kovacic to come back into the starting eleven, and see the Croatian being partnered by Julian Alvarez in the continued absence of Kevin De Bruyne – who is not expected back until early 2024.
Bernardo Silva will be hoping to build on an outstanding performance against Manchester United last Sunday by starting once again this weekend, operating as a wide right-sided forward at the Etihad.
Erling Haaland will take on the lone striking role, as per standard procedure.
We anticipate Jeremy Doku to start as the left-sided winger for this one, as the Belgian hopes to instil the same attacking prowess that we saw during the last Premier League meeting at home – a game that James Milner will certainly want to forget.
Starting XI: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Dias, Ake; Rodri, Kovacic, Alvarez; Bernardo, Haaland, Doku.
Substitutes: Ortega, Lewis, Akanji, Gvardiol, Phillips, Nunes, Foden, Grealish, Bobb.
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