Bournemouth v Manchester City: Back Iraola's men to land a blow

Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola
Andoni Iraola is having a fine first season with Bournemouth

Manchester City's title push continues at Bournemouth, and Kevin Hatchard believes the Cherries can put up a decent fight.

  • De Bruyne in great form after injury

  • Bournemouth capable of at least scoring

  • Solanke shots can aid 2.546/4 Bet Builder


  • Bournemouth v Manchester City
    Saturday 24 February, 17:30
    Live on Sky Sports Premier League

    Iraola gamble has paid off

    Bournemouth raised plenty of eyebrows when they parted company with manager Gary O'Neil in the summer, not least because he had taken a squad that looked out of its depth under Scott Parker, and achieved survival with room to spare. However, the Cherries had a plan, and it involved the recruitment of Rayo Vallecano boss Andoni Iraola.

    O'Neil has further proven his credentials as a Premier League manager by leading Wolves into mid-table and securing recent wins at Chelsea and Tottenham, but Iraola has also justified Bournemouth's faith. It took a while to convince his players that his high-pressing style could work, and it took time to work out which players could actually carry out his instructions effectively.

    The results are now there for all to see. Bournemouth have lost just seven of their 24 top-flight games this term, and according to understat.com's Expected Points table, they should be a couple of places higher in the table on 32 points. As it is, their actual points tally of 28 means they have an eight-point cushion in the relegation battle.

    Bournemouth have started to make the Vitality Stadium a fortress. They have lost just one of their last six home games in the league, and that was an understandable 4-0 thrashing against the leaders Liverpool.

    Midfielder Philip Billing is still suspended after his red card against Nottingham Forest, while Tyler Adams and Ryan Fredericks are still injured.

    City still on track for double-treble

    For all the talk of Manchester City slipping below their usual high standards, Pep Guardiola's side are still just four points off top with a game in hand, and barring a total disaster against Copenhagen they will use their 3-1 first-leg lead to sail into the Champions League quarter-finals. City have won 14 of their last 16 competitive games, and they haven't lost since a 1-0 reverse at Aston Villa in early December.

    Although star striker Erling Haaland missed a number of presentable chances in the recent 1-1 draw with Chelsea, he did bounce back to score the winner in Tuesday's 1-0 win over Brentford, and he has smashed in 25 goals for club and country this season. The big Norwegian's overall Premier League record stands at a staggering 53 goals in 55 games, which is a better goals-per-game ratio than he managed in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund.

    The other scary thing for City's rivals is the impressive form of Kevin de Bruyne since his return from injury. The Belgian sensation has delivered a goal or an assist or both in four of his last five appearances. According to transfermarkt, de Bruyne has been involved in 259 goals in 366 Premier League appearances. These are staggering numbers in what is supposed to be the best league in the world.

    On that basis, I'm happy to back de Bruyne to pick up an assist here at 1/12.00 on the Sportsbook.

    In terms of team news, City are without the injured Josko Gvardiol and Jack Grealish.

    Back Kevin de Bruyne in the Anytime Assist market at 1/12.00

    Bet now

    Solanke shots can inspire Bet Builder

    It's been a superb season for Bournemouth striker Dominic Solanke. The former Chelsea and Liverpool centre-forward has netted 14 times in the Premier League this season, which is a remarkable output for a player who only scored six times in his previous top-flight campaign and grabbed three goals in the one before that.

    If we look at his shot data, we see that he's attempted two shots or more in 20 of his 24 Premier League appearances this season. In the reverse fixture, he had three shots, despite that fact Bournemouth were crushed 6-1.

    The next part of our Bet Builder is backing Both Teams To Score. Bournemouth netted at the Etihad, and they have scored at least once in 15 of their last 16 games in the top division. If we look at Manchester City's lack of clean sheets (they have managed just one in their last 11 Premier League away matches), then it appears there is strong evidence to support BTTS being odds-on.

    Finally, I'll throw in Over 7.5 Corners. City generate 7.3 corners per match in the league this term, while Bournemouth average 6.2. That puts these two in the top five in the league, and if you look at the average number of corners per game for both teams, it's way above the eight we need here.

    That gives us a combined price of 2.546/4 on the Bet Builder.

    Back BTTS, Over 7.5 Corners and Dominic Solanke to have 2+ shots at 2.546/4

    Bet now

    Now read Kev's Bundesliga column here!


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