Manchester City return to Premier League action on Saturday with a trip to Bournemouth in the evening kick-off.
Pep Guardiola’s side will be looking to return to winning ways following a frustrating 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest last weekend and another 1-1 draw with RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Wednesday.
With Arsenal traveling to Leicester earlier in the day, City could take to the pitch at the Vitality Stadium five points adrift of the current Premier League leaders.
Guardiola will be desperate to prevent that lead from growing any further, especially given how hard his side worked to close the gap with a 3-1 defeat of the Gunners just 10 days ago.
On Friday Guardiola suggested that Kevin de Bruyne could return to the side after missing the midweek trip to Germany through injury, although he doubted either Aymeric Laporte (illness) or John Stones (hamstring injury) would be involved.
Team news prediction
Ederson will of course start in goal, with Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake starting in the heart of defence. On the evidence of recent performances, barring injury, Dias and Ake won’t be dropping out of the side any time soon.
Kyle Walker has reclaimed his place in the starting XI from Rico Lewis in recent weeks, but the youngster could return to the side to give his senior colleague a rest. Guardiola spoke about fatigue in his squad during his Friday press conference, and Walker looked a little leggy in midweek.
Against Leipzig Guardiola opted to start Ake at left-back in order to provide more solid defensive cover, but against a Bournemouth side that has scored just three goals in six league outings in 2023 and find themselves 17th in the standings, he could deploy Bernardo Silva as an ‘inverted’ full-back.
Some of City’s usual starters clearly need a rest, but that opportunity will come against Bristol City in the FA Cup next week. Rodri will likely anchor the midfield with Ilkay Gundogan and the returning De Bruyne ahead of him.
Jack Grealish put in another fine performance in Germany and is undroppable at the moment, but Phil Foden could come into the side after Guardiola showered him with praise in his pre-match press conference.
The manager was asked why the 22-year-old hasn’t played much recently and labelled him City’s “diamond.” His fresh legs could give Riyad Mahrez a chance to catch his breath.
Erling Haaland cut a frustrated figure against Leipzig, so Bournemouth’s defenders should beware.
Predicted lineup: Ederson, Walker, Dias, Ake, Bernardo, Rodri, De Bruyne, Gundogan, Foden, Haaland, Grealish