Experts and armchair afficiandos are all pointing to a Man City victory. They may be a strong team, but will they shine against the Cherries tonight. We get the thoughts of Ric Turner from City fan site Bluemoon.
Q. With Chelsea ten points ahead of City, do you think your title chances are over?
If we win tonight the gap will be down to eight points, which isn’t insurmountable – we chased down the same deficit when we won the league in 2012, and that was with only six games remaining. I think it will be very difficult, because Chelsea are hard to beat and our own form is a bit inconsistent, but I’m not quite ready to concede the title just yet!
Q. How do you rate Pep Guardiola? Do City fans like him?
I genuinely believe that he’s the best coach in the world, and he is immensely popular with the City fans. He’s not infallible, and has made mistakes (notably with Joe Hart and Claudio Bravo), but he is clearly an exceptional manager. Our squad is in need of an overhaul, with many of our players aged 30 or over, and it will take time for Guardiola to get the players he needs to implement his style of play. I think we’ll see a much stronger City next season.
Q. Help Eddie out and tell us how you think City will line-up against AFC Bournemouth?
I think we’ll stick with the 4-3-3 system that we’ve been using recently: Caballero – Sagna, Stones, Otamendi, Kolarov – Toure, Silva, De Bruyne – Sterling, Sane, Jesus
Q. Which AFC Bournemouth players do you think Pep will be targeting in his gameplan?
I’m sure he will be looking to exploit your defensive frailities, particularly if Francis, Daniels and Smith miss out through injury. It could be a difficult evening for you if you have a makeshift back four.
Q. Who do you think will be the key men for City on matchday?
Gabriel Jesus has been a revelation since joining in January, and has scored three goals in his last two games. He’s formed a potent attacking trio alongside Sterling and Leroy Sane. All three have great pace, and will be a handful for most defences.
Q. AFC Bournemouth have struggled defensively this season. What do you view as City’s weak point and what has Guardiola does to resolve the issue?
Likewise, our defence isn’t great either. As mentioned earlier, our full backs are all aged over 30, whilst Nicolas Otamendi is prone to moments of madness at centre half. We struggle to keep clean sheets, and the goalkeeping situation obviously hasn’t helped either.
Q. With 14 games to go, as an outsider, how would you assess AFC Bournemouth’s season so far?
It’s been a good season so far for Bournemouth, and Eddie Howe is doing a great job. Assuming you avoid relegation, which I think you will, it will have been a very successful campaign.
Q. In the January transfer window Jack Wilshire was a player linked with City. Is he good enough for City or should he stay at Bournemouth?
I rate Wilshere highly as a footballer, even though I find him pretty dislikeable. He certainly has the ability to play for City, but his injury problems remain a concern. Fair play to him though for going out on loan rather than sitting on the bench at Arsenal. It would be a great coup for you if you manage to sign him permanently.
Q All our Premier League games against City have ended in ended in heavy defeats. Do you see this changing Monday? What’s your prediction?
I think it will be closer than the previous encounters, but I think we should have enough to win the game. I’ll say 2-1 to City.