Manchester City will face Bournemouth on Saturday with the Cherries coming on the back of a closely contested tie against Arsenal which they eventually lost 1-2.
The Cherries are currently in the 8th spot having collected 20 points from 13 matches. Their initial momentum has slowed down slightly but led by the enigmatic Eddie Howe, one can never undererstimate the ambitious men in red and black.
City on the other hand played out a difficult 2-2 draw away at Lyon thus confirming their participation in the Round of 16. But Pep will have been alarmed at the number of chances the home team created and this is something he has already stressed on after a couple of games this season.
Thus, the Sky Blues will want to get back to doing what they have done for the majority of the season. Dominate games and score goals while keeping a clean sheet.
Looking at the past record between the two, this is not something which will come as a surprise if City indeed come away with a comfortable win.
- City have scored 20 goals in 5 home games against Bournemouth.
- They have never been beaten by the Cherries in 12 games, winning 10 and drawing two.
- Raheem Sterling has scored nine goals and claimed two assists in six career games against Bournemouth.
Kevin de Bruyne, Claudio Bravo, Benjamin Mendy and Eliaquim Mangala are long-term absentees. Ilkay Gundogan, Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva missed the important trip to Lyon and will be assessed though their issues have been deemed minor.
PREDICTED MANCHESTER CITY LINEUP VS BOURNEMOUTH (4-3-3)
Ederson will start in goal. The Brazilian has grown in confidence and importance this season and will be keen to continue his upward trajectory.
Kyle Walker will be the right-back with Fabian Delph likely to line up as the left-back. Aymeric Laporte should start in defence and we expect John Stones to continue alongside him. Nicolas Otamendi will be pushing for a start though.
Fernandinho is nailed on as the lone defensive midfielder. David Silva will take up a slot in the midfield 3 and will look to carry on his fine scoring form this season. There will be a fair bit of contention regarding the third midfield slot in case Gundogan and Bernardo Silva fail to recover in time. We expect Pep to spring a surprise and hand Phil Foden a rare start and give him the stage to impress.
But regardless of whether Pep eventually decides to take such a decision, City fans are desperate for such an occurence and it might well come on Saturday.
Leroy Sane is in fine form and should get a game on the left-wing even more so with the injury to Mendy. On the opposite wing, Raheem Sterling is expected to start with Sergio Aguero once again leading the attack.