Everything You Need To Know: Man City vs Bournemouth (Carabao Cup Third Round)

Brandon Evans

After kicking off the season with a win at Molineux, Pep Guardiola’s men return to Manchester as the Blues host recently relegated Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup - a competition that Manchester City have won in each of the previous three seasons. 

City have won the competition seven times in total - a feat only bested by Liverpool - and they will be looking to lift the trophy for the fourth successive time this campaign.

Following the victory over Wolves, Pep Guardiola, with a congested fixture schedule, a depleted squad, and frankly more pressing fixtures in mind, stated that he will field “mostly academy players” in the Bournemouth fixture. This has prompted suggestions that the likes of Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Tommy Doyle are in line to start. Pep may also be tempted to field players who remained on the bench against Wolves, such as Nicolas Otamendi and Riyad Mahrez in order to build their match fitness.

Pep Guardiola insinuating that several academy players are set to feature provides a great opportunity for Manchester City fans to observe youth prospects such as Adrián Bernabé, who might one day feature regularly in the City set-up.

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(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

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Team News:

Just one game into the season, Manchester City have found themselves amid an injury crisis, with several first-team players unavailable. Sergio Agüero remains absent as the Argentine continues his recovery from a knee injury, Eric Garcia will miss the game following a head injury, Ilkay Gundogan is currently unavailable after testing positive for COVID-19, whilst Portuguese duo Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo are also unlikely to feature for several weeks. Other absentees are Aymeric Laporte, who currently lacks match fitness, and Oleksandr Zinchenko who has a muscle injury.

Bournemouth meanwhile look set to be heading into the fixture with a fully fit squad, and with Manchester City likely to field several youngsters, the Cherries could fancy their chances of progressing to the fourth round.

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(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Head To Head:

This Thursday will see the two sides meet for just the 16th time – the first in a cup competition. Manchester City head into the game with an exceptional record against the Cherries having won 14 of those encounters whilst drawing the other two. They have also emerged victorious over the Cherries in each of the previous 10 meetings, and the Blues head into the game as firm favourites.

The two sides last met at the Etihad Stadium in July, where Manchester City ran out 2-1 winners and is perhaps best remembered as being the game in which David Silva scored his final goal in a City shirt via a fantastic free-kick.

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Form Guide:

Following the 3-1 victory over Wolves on Monday, and having only played one game this season, Manchester City head into the match with a 100%-win record. City dominated the first half at Molineux, but looked vulnerable defensively after the break and were perhaps fortunate to concede only once considering that Wolves managed 10 attempts on goal. As expected, City dominated possession and managed almost twice as many passes as the West Midlands side, and City are again expected to dominate possession on Thursday night.

Bournemouth are in a period of transition having lost their manager Eddie Howe and several key players following relegation, however the Cherries head into Thursday’s clash with an undefeated record this season. New boss Jason Tindall began his first season in charge with a win against Blackburn, before besting a second-string Crystal Palace side and then earning a draw away to Middlesbrough. Despite losing the likes of Nathan Aké and Callum Wilson, Bournemouth still possess a decent squad and will be hopeful of achieving a top six Championship finish.

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Match Officials:

Jonathan Moss will take charge of the cup tie at the Etihad. The select group official took charge of four Manchester City fixtures last campaign, and the Blues emerged victorious in the first three before falling to Arsenal in the FA Cup Semi-Final. Moss will be joined by Marc Perry and Neil Davies as assistant referees, while David Coote is the fourth official. As the game is being hosted at a Premier League ground, VAR will be in operation.

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You can follow Brandon on Twitter here: @brandonevans_18

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