By Oliver Dyer – (@Olidyer)
AFC Bournemouth host Manchester City tonight, hoping to bounce back from their 6-3 hammering at the hands of Everton last weekend.
The Cherries haven’t won in their last seven games in all competitions and sit just six points above 18th placed Hull City.
Bournemouth succumbed to a 4-0 defeat in their previous fixture against City earlier in the season and manager Eddie Howe said his side must improve this time out.
He said: “I thought they [City] were very very good and I actually thought our performance was ok.
“They scored a number of world class goals against us but that was a really good experience.
“We try to analyse and learn from those moments and come back a better team so we’re going to need to be very good this week to get anything.”
In contrast to Bournemouth, opponents Manchester City lie 5th in the Premier League and are unbeaten in their last four matches in all competitions.
Despite City’s resurgent form boss Howe isn’t worried, with the Cherries already securing good results this season against two other top six clubs.
Howe’s men drew 3-3 against Arsenal at home earlier this year and also beat Liverpool 4-3 at the Vitality, courtesy of a dramatic late winner from former Chelsea loanee Nathan Aké.
Discussing Bournemouth’s record against the top sides this season, Howe said: “Yeah we’ve got tough games but that’s the league we’re in and you can’t shy away from the challenges that we face.
“We’ve done well against some top teams this year.
“There’s been no problem there, we’ve been able to be very competitive and able to inspire some good performances so we’re going to have to do that again.”
The Cherries go into this game without main talisman Callum Wilson who underwent successful surgery for a cruciate knee ligament injury on Thursday.
The striker has been ruled out for the rest of the season but Howe is still confident his side can score the goals required to keep them up this year.
He said: “We have a good team of strikers here and I’ve maintained that all season.
“The guys we have: Benik [Afobe], Josh King, Lys Mousset and young Sam Surridge, I think they’re outstanding individuals so hopefully they will show that in the coming weeks.”
The Cherries face a City side boasting Gabriel Jesus who has scored three goals in his last three league appearances since moving to the Etihad in January.
However, despite the 19 year olds fine start to life in England, Howe insists his side mustn’t be intimidated. He said: “I’ve been impressed [by Jesus] for sure.
“You look at their team and they’ve been very impressive and he’s [Jesus] been a big player for them but they have other players that can turn a game in a second.
“We respect their players but there’s no way we can be fearful or worried about any of them.”
Eddie Howe has confirmed that Adam Smith, Charlie Daniels and Simon Francis are all doubts with the defensive trio not training ahead of the match.
Francis and Daniels are both struggling with hamstring injuries whilst Smith is a doubt after missing the game against Everton last weekend.
Callum Wilson is out for the season after undergoing surgery on his knee on Thursday.
City have no new injury concerns other than long term absentee Ilkay Gundogan (knee).
Both Claudio Bravo and top scorer Sergio Aguero are both anticipated to remain on the bench after dropping down the pecking order in recent weeks.
Willy Caballero is expected to retain his place in goal and Gabriel Jesus is in line to keep his spot up front.
The game at the Vitality kicks off at 8pm this evening.