Premier League preview: Manchester City vs. Bournemouth

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  • Man City aiming to go 5-for-5 to start season
  • Sergio Aguero suspended two more games
  • B’mouth looking for points in third straight game

It’s been quite the successful week for Manchester City thus far: there was the victory in theManchester derby on Saturday, followed by a thorough outclassing of Borussia Monchengladbach in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday. Come Saturday, Pep Guardiola‘s side welcomes Eddie Howe‘s Bournemouth to the Etihad Stadium (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with an eye toward a fifth straight victory to open their 2016-17 Premier League campaign.

After picking up their first victory of the season last weekend, at home against West Bromwich Albion, all four of the Cherries’ points were won from their last two games, a stretch which includes a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace before the most recent international break. Callum Wilson scored the winner against West Brom, his first PL goal since the ACL injury that cost him most of the 2015-16 season, while Jack Wilshere made his Bournemouth debut in a 27-minute cameo off the bench.

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With Sergio Aguero suspended three games, Kelechi Iheanacho scored the winner at Manchester United and figures to make the start on the weekend. However, the City train is firmly under the direction its conductor, Kevin De Bruyne, who scored the opener against Man United and very nearly grabbed the winner himself before Iheanacho slotted home his rebound. Through four games, the Belgian has just a goal and two assists to his name, but has easily been the league’s standout player thus far, at age 25.

When these sides met last season, City were victorious on both occasions, by a combined score of 9-1. Will we see further City dominance, or a measure of revenge for Bournemouth on Saturday?

INJURIES: Man City OUT: Sergio Aguero (suspension); QUESTIONABLE: Vincent Kompany (groin) | Bournemouth OUT: None

What they’re saying

Aguero, on the Guardiola effect: “Pep is very different to all the coaches that I’ve had. He speaks a lot, demands a lot. He doesn’t allow you to relax, and that is good. I just need to do the best I can for the team and do what he asks of me. I think Wednesday’s game was our best since Guardiola arrived. We played really well. We are happy because we are playing how he wants us to play.”

Howe, on the City challenge: “I see Manchester City as potential champions. They have a manager who, in my opinion, is right at the very top — they’ve obviously started incredibly well. The impact that the new manager has had early on is the biggest compliment I can give him, he’s stamped his authority on the team. I don’t usually say this about opponents but I enjoy watching them.”

Prediction

Considering the form City have already realized under Guardiola, they’re simply too much for any side with the slightest fear of relegation this season, especially at home, where they were far and away the most prolific scoring side in the PL last season (47 goals in 19 games — Southampton second-most, with 39). Another win for Pep, this time it’s 3-1 to City.