Man City have won this competition for three seasons running, winning 17 of their last 18 in this tournament when including penalties, but Pep Guardiola has already confirmed that the academy will play a heavy role here as his side focus their energy on reclaiming the Premier League.
They bagged all three points in their potentially tricky opener at Wolves on Monday, but with Leicester to come this weekend and a number of injuries to contend with, there will be plenty of unfamiliar names on the team sheet.
Indeed, the likes of Zack Steffen, Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Tosin Adarabioyo, Adrian Bernabe and Liam Delap could all be handed a chance here, with regular stars Sergio Aguero, Ilkay Gundogan, Joao Cancelo and Oleksandr Zinchenko unavailable.
Meanwhile, Aymeric Laporte, Bernardo Silva and Eric Garcia are all highly doubtful and unlikely to be risked. 35-year-old veteran and new club captain Fernandinho should also make way as he cannot play three times a week at his age, though Ferran Torres and Riyad Mahrez can both expect minutes and so City will certainly be dangerous in the wide areas.
Bournemouth have started the new season unbeaten, beating Blackburn Rovers courtesy of a late goal at the Vitality Stadium, as well playing out stalemates with Crystal Palace in the previous round and drawing away Middlesbrough.
Eddie Howe has been replaced by Jason Tindall, but the new man in the dugout was the former’s assistant across two spells with Bournemouth and another with Burnley going back to 2008, so we wouldn’t expect the south coast outfit to suddenly morph into a different side.
Both Teams To Score
The Cherries’ record against the better teams during their top-flight stay will provide plenty of anxiety ahead of this clash.
They were just W3-D2-L28 when visiting the traditional ‘Big Six’ in all competitions, including 12 defeats from 13 since 2018/19, as nine of the last 11 have seen their opponents ahead at both half-time and full-time.
In fact, up against Man City alone they lost all 10 of their Premier League encounters by an aggregate 30-5 scoreline, while against dominant duo City and Liverpool, they’ve lost all 12 since 2017/18 by a combined 34-5.
Further, Bournemouth’s regression over the past two seasons saw them lose 17 of 18 league trips to the teams that finished in the top nine of the table, while they conceded at least twice in all but two of those defeats.
The big question mark however remains the team news, with it unclear just to what extent Guardiola will ring the changes.
Man City started their season a week late and with a hectic fixture list there will be opportunities for Bournemouth to capitalize, with Tindall expected to name a strong team.
The Cherries’ head-to-head record is too shabby for us to think about getting behind them to claim a result of any sort, but the makeshift nature of their opponents’ backline should enable them to get on the scoresheet at the Etihad.