Bournemouth’s 4-1 win over a 10-man Leicester was certainly an out of the blue result, but in reality, it’s a case of too little too late and this could well be the moment where Bournemouth’s fate is effectively sealed.
With the two teams directly above them, West Ham and Watford, set to play each other on Friday, at least one of those relegation rivals are guaranteed to register a point or three on the board and edge further away from the Cherries.
Man City Over 2.5 Team Goals
Pep Guardiola’s outfit look hungry despite the league season being over for them, perhaps unsurprisingly given the fierce competition for a starting spot when the Champions League resumes in August.
They may have forgotten their shooting boots when visiting Southampton recently, but their previous fixture saw them thrash Liverpool 4-0 and they’ve since recorded 5-0 wins over both Newcastle and Brighton. In fact, at the Etihad alone they’ve won all four league games since the restart by a combined 17-0 scoreline.
That attacking prowess should scare the visitors, especially as one dreads to think where they’d be if not for star centre-back Nathan Ake, who looks set to miss the remaining games having injured himself making a last-gasp tackle to deny Jamie Vardy last time out.
The Dutch international has understandably drawn admiring glances from a number of clubs and in the last three games he’s missed, Bournemouth have lost to Brighton (2-0), West Ham (4-0) and Burnley (3-0).
Man City To Beat Bournemouth 3-1
The South Coast side are usually great entertainment for the neutral as their defence under Eddie Howe has long been the concern. They’ve actually been very good at finding the net themselves against the top sides, doing so in 14 of 18 matches with the top nine in the table across all competitions this season.
Eight of these saw their opponents take the spoils despite conceding, including a 3-1 win for City in the reverse fixture, which was the same exact score in this fixture at the Etihad last term.
Given Bournemouth, for all their defensive problems, only shipped more than three goals in one of those 18 matches with the top nine, the correct score appears appetizing.
Against the bottom 12 in the table, City have won nine of 10 unbeaten home matches this season, with over half of them coming by at least three clear goals.
They bagged an average of 3.6 goals per game, rising to 4.3 when limited to results against the bottom six alone. That remains fairly consistent with last season’s output, where they scored 3.0 gpg against the bottom 12 at home and 4.0 gpg when facing the bottom six.
Given Bournemouth have the potential to register on the scoreboard but are by no means certain to do so, we’ll avoid the handicap and stick with backing the hosts to bag at least three goals of their own.