BOURNEMOUTH welcome Manchester City to Dean Court on Super Sunday. Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) previews the encounter, picking out his best bets.
Bournemouth v Manchester City | Sunday 25th August 2018, 14:00 | Sky Sports
Pep Guardiola described Manchester City’s 1-0 win at Bournemouth in March as “one of the best performances we’ve ever played”. Of course, such hyperbole reaction in the aftermath of another routine Citizens success needs to be taken in moderation, although the Catalan coach has reaffirmed such a statement numerous times over the following few months.
Why was Pep so enamoured by the victory? Well, firstly City overcame injuries to Kevin De Bruyne and John Stones either side of half-time, but most importantly in Guardiola’s eyes, was their remarkable defensive efforts. The defending champions enjoyed 82% of the ball and restricted Bournemouth to zero attempts at goal across the 90 minutes.
Unsurprisingly, it was the first time the Cherries had failed to register a shot in a Premier League game, whilst also recording their lowest possession figure since promotion. Eddie Howe admitted his team weren’t able to impose themselves on City and duly fell to their eighth defeat in eight encounters against the Citizens in the top-flight. The aggregate of those meetings? 25-3.
Bournemouth’s record against the Big Six
It’s a frustrating, and probably bewildering, position to be in for Howe. Bournemouth have often attempted to go toe-to-toe with the Premier League’s elite and often come unstuck as Big Six sides have exposed the Cherries soft underbelly. This is the Dorset club’s fifth campaign in the top-tier but their performances against the Big Six remain bleak.
Bournemouth have returned W7-D4-L39 across their 48 fixtures against the Big Six since 2015/16 – an 81% loss rate. Those figures show a W5-D2-L17 effort at Dean Court with the loss rate dropping to 71% as Howe’s outfit have recorded three shutouts in those 24 home outings, shipping twice or more on 17 (71%) occasions in front of their home supporters.
The Cherries conceded more goals than any team that stayed up last season (70) and question marks hover over their ability to keep things tight against Man City. The away side have averaged 2.40 goals per-game since beating Arsenal 3-1 back in February and easily fired five past West Ham on the opening weekend of the new season.
Guardiola’s charges were near flawless – bar the final score – against Spurs last time out, winning the shot count 30-3 and conceding with Tottenham’s only two on-target attempts. City generated 3.39 Expected Goals (xG) and attempted 12 efforts from inside the penalty area as they displayed their dominance as the team to beat across the continent in 2019/20.
The betting angles
In such a one-sided betting heat, it’s hard to pinpoint value opportunities, particularly when opposing a Manchester City side that’s returned W50-D5-L2 against non-Big Six clubs over the past two seasons, as well as 25 victories from 29 on their travels, is out of the question.
City sealed W-W half-time/full-time Double Results in 19 of those 25 triumphs but a repeat is no bigger than 4/6 (Coral). However, we can bolster the price to 3/4 (Betfair) by backing the Citizens to win, be ahead at half-time and score Over 1.5 Goals.
Elsewhere, Jefferson Lerma is far too big at 14/5 to be carded. He’s odds-on in places and quoted at 2/1 across the board, apart from at BetVictor where that price deserves to be punished. The odds imply the Colombian has a 26% chance of picking up a caution; since moving to Europe, the combative midfielder has been booked 50 times in 121 appearances – that’s once every 2.42 games and once every 184 minutes.