Ahead of today’s trip to the Etihad, it’s time to predict what side Eddie Howe will select to take on Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
Ryan Fraser (hamstring) is out and Fabian Schar (foot) a doubt after struggling to train this week, however Callum Wilson could return to the squad – and Kieran Trippier also has an outside chance of making the bench.
Keeping all of the above in mind, here’s the side we can see starting come 4.30pm today:
(4-5-1): Dubravka – Krafth, Lascelles, Burn, Targett – Almiron, Guimaraes, Shelvey, Joelinton, Murphy – Saint-Maximin.
OUT: Fabian Schar and Joe Willock IN: Jamaal Lascelles and Jacob Murphy.
Howe admitted in Friday’s presser that Schar was yet to train, so it seems likely that the skipper comes back in for the Swiss international at centre-back.
In midfield, Joelinton’s presence could be needed, meaning Willock could miss out and Murphy get a rare start out wide – as his pace in both directions and ability to carry the ball on the counter could be useful.
I have my doubts about Saint-Maximin – Howe didn’t seem too enamoured by THAT interview in his latest presser and he’s way out of form – however he remains our best hope of a break away goal and more likely to hurt Man City than Chris Wood, so could start in a free role up top that requires him to do less running defensively.
Wilson is back in the mix, but seems far more likely to get minutes from the bench after being sidelined since December 2021 with a calf/achilles injury.