Manchester City VS Bournemouth AFC, hosts are favorites

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Match Time: 9/25/2020 02:45 Friday(GMT+8)

EFL Cup -- Manchester City VS Bournemouth AFC

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Manchester City begin their quest for a fourth EFL Cup in a row when they take on Bournemouth at the Etihad Stadium in round three on Thursday evening.

 

The Citizens have been a dominant force in this competition under Pep Guardiola, but the Catalan boss has vowed to make mass changes for this tie against second-tier Bournemouth.

 

Match preview

City's 2019-20 campaign ended in disappointed as they relinquished their grip on the Premier League title and fell short in the Champions League once again.

 

The EFL Cup was their only piece of major silverware in an underwhelming campaign, with the Citizens overcoming Aston Villa at Wembley just before the coronavirus pandemic struck.

 

Guardiola's men have won 17 of their last 18 games in the competition, the exception being a semi-final second-leg loss to Manchester United last term that ultimately did not matter.

 

They enter this fixture as overwhelming favourites, too, given that they have won their last 10 meetings with Bournemouth by an aggregate score of 30-5.

 

Each of those encounters were in the Premier League, with this the first ever meeting between the sides in a cup competition of any sort.

 

City also looked sharp in their opening fixture of the campaign on Monday, seeing off Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-1 through goals from Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus.

 

However, Guardiola revealed after that match he will field his youngsters against Bournemouth, possibly giving the Championship side hope of pulling off a big upset.

 

Since Bournemouth's last defeat to City, they have suffered relegation to the Championship and replaced long-serving boss Eddie Howe with Jason Tindall.

 

The Cherries have made a positive enough start to their new tenure, following up a 3-2 opening-day victory over Blackburn Rovers with a 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough last time out.

 

This will be just the second time Bournemouth have faced the holders of the EFL Cup, losing the other such match 3-0 against Arsenal in 1987-88.

 

Tindall is expected to go with a fairly strong starting lineup on Thursday, and the hope will be that Bournemouth can at least give City a run for their money in this latest clash.

 

Manchester City form (all competitions): W

Bournemouth EFL Cup form: W

Bournemouth form (all competitions): WWD

 

Team News

Guardiola has made clear that he will give as many of his first-team players the night off as possible on Thursday.

 

That is not to say the Citizens will not still have world-class talents in their ranks, though, with Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte in need of minutes after being forced to miss training following a positive coronavirus test.

 

Joao Cancelo and Oleksandr Zinchenko are out of action until after the international break, meanwhile, so Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy may have to be used in the full-back positions.

 

The likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia and Bernardo Silva have all been ruled out.

 

As for Bournemouth, Junior Stanislas missed the Middlesbrough match through injury, but Tindall later revealed "it is nothing serious".

 

Asmir Begovic was drafted in for that draw, as were Dan Gosling and David Brooks, with Mark Travers and Lewis Cook joining Stanislas in dropping out of the XI.

 

Tindall is expected to go with a strong starting lineup for this trip to the Etihad Stadium, even if Sunday's league meeting with Norwich City takes priority.

 

Manchester City possible starting lineup:

Steffen; Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Mendy; Fernandinho, Bernabe, Doyle; Mahrez, Delap, Torres

Bournemouth possible starting lineup:

Travers; Smith, Mepham, Kelly, Rico; Arter, L.Cook, Ofoborh; Brooks, King; Surridge

 

If there is one thing City like more than winning the EFL Cup, it is beating third-round opponents Bournemouth.

 

The Cherries knocked out Premier League side Crystal Palace on penalties in the last round, but this will surely be a test too far for Tindall's men.

 

Pick: Manchester City 3-1 Bournemouth AFC

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