Man City v Bournemouth preview: Jack Wilshere's wait may go on
Last Updated: 17/09/16 3:35pm
Jack Wilshere's wait for his full Bournemouth debut may continue when the Cherries travel to Manchester City on Saturday.
Eddie Howe, who said he will be cautious with Wilshere, will be hoping his side can put an end to City's 100 per cent start to the Premier League season, with Pep Guardiola having guided his team to four wins out of four.
City will be looking to emulate last season's success over Bournemouth, when they won both league meetings by a four-goal margin with 5-1 and 4-0 victories.
Guardiola's men were in action on Wednesday, opening their Champions League campaign with a handsome 4-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach at the Etihad Stadium.
Sergio Aguero, who missed last week's derby against Manchester United after being handed a three-match Premier League ban, will again sit out of Saturday's showdown.
And while City showed against their Manchester rivals they have the quality to cope without the striker, the absence of the 28-year-old could be keenly felt against a Bournemouth side that has displayed some strong defensive performances to concede just one goal in their last two games.
Despite the Argentine international's absence, Guardiola is not stuck for options when it comes to attacking talent, with Kelechi Iheanacho and Kevin De Bruyne providing strength in depth to the current league leaders.
Insisting he will take no risks until Wilshere is back to his best, Howe said: "With the outstanding quality he has, there's no doubt about that. We'd like to see him in the team as quickly as possible.
"It's a delicate balance between rushing him into the team and the long term. We have to think of that. We wan him to play a lot of games for us so we'll put him in when we think it's right.
"I've been really pleased. I thought he had a big impact when he came on at a time in the game when the game was in the balance really."
Raheem Sterling's first Premier League hat-trick came against Bournemouth in October 2015.
Iheanacho has scored nine goals from just 13 shots on target in the Premier League for Manchester City.
City could become only the second different team in top-flight history to win their opening five league games in consecutive seasons, to join Chelsea who managed the feat in 2009/10 and the following season.
If the hosts can see off Bournemouth, Guardiola will become only the second manager to win his opening five Premier League games, alongside Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti who reached six.
Bournemouth have to win the games against the teams around them and that's what they did against West Brom. This is completely different; it's basically a free swing.
Manchester City are playing great football at the moment. They ripped Manchester United apart and did the same to the third best team in Germany in the Champions League in midweek.
I have said Chelsea all along for the title, but it's going to take some doing to compete with Man City. They looked head and shoulders above United even without Sergio Aguero.
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-0 (Sky Bet odds 7/1)
Manchester City are just 1/4 with Sky Bet to see off 10/1 outsiders Bournemouth, while the draw is priced at 5/1. Kelechi Iheanacho heads the first goalscorer betting at 100/30 in the absence of Sergio Aguero, while Callum Wilson is considered the Cherries' main threat at 11/1 to net first.
Last weekend's victory at Old Trafford saw Pep Guardiola's men cut to 10/11 to win the Premier League, while Bournemouth drifted out to 4/1 to be relegated following their first win of the season.
Manchester City v Bournemouth is included in this week's Soccer Saturday Super 6 line-up. Enter your predictions here for the chance to win £250,000.