(Reuters) - Manchester City, third in the Premier League and on a run of three successive wins in all competitions, face a wounded Bournemouth side thumped 6-3 by Everton last weekend. Here is what the fans have to say about their respective clubs:
Steve Jenkins, Tales from the South End (www.thesouthend.co.uk]: “I think it was pretty obvious to anyone watching what went wrong against Everton. We forgot how to defend. The new system with three at the back didn’t work, and the poor back pass and an in-form (Romelu) Lukaku didn’t help the cause.
“City are not as good as they have been but it will still be a very tough game but perhaps not with as many goals as last weekend - just four this time out. With a bit of luck and some better defending then we will get the draw we deserve.
“I hope that Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero get injured in the warm-up and miss the game. Let’s also hope that John Stones has a poor game and Josh King plays a blinder. “You would think being 10 points behind and Chelsea being so strong that City have no hope of winning the title, and that’s exactly what I think.
“Eddie Howe is a top class manager but like all managers he is not perfect. He is still learning and still making mistakes. His purchases haven’t been the best but he is keen to buy talent and nurture them, meaning it may take a while to get the best from them.
“The fans with half a brain and those who haven’t been brainwashed by all the media hype that goes with being in the Premier League are all behind Howe. We are going through a sticky patch and that’s when the moaners appear.
“Callum Wilson has been struggling to get in the starting XI and he hasn’t been at his best but his absence will still be a big blow because we have less backup. Our other strikers will have to step up and take their chances.
“The players that have impressed me the most are Jack Wilshire and Steve Cook. They have both been impressive all season. More recently it has been Josh King that has stepped up to the plate and shown his metal, so long may that continue.”
Ric Turner, Bluemoon MCFC [www.bluemoon-mcfc.co.uk]: “We go into the game with a lot of confidence after three successive victories and our new attacking trio of (Leroy) Sane, (Raheem) Sterling and (Gabriel) Jesus are looking extremely dangerous.
“I can’t imagine Bournemouth will play as badly as they did last weekend - particularly at home, but I can see a high scoring game given their defensive woes - and indeed ours at times this season.
“I’m predicting City to win 3-1. I think we’ll have too much for them from an attacking perspective, and hopefully it’s a good time to play them. They’ve just suffered a heavy defeat and effectively have nothing to play for.
“Jack Wilshere looks like he has rediscovered his form after a disappointing few years at Arsenal and Harry Arter has always looked impressive when I’ve seen Bournemouth play this season.
“Manager Eddie Howe comes across as a likeable guy and he has done a great job with limited resources. With so few young English coaches in the Premier League it’s nice to see him doing well.
“The media criticism that Pep Guardiola receives is absurd at times but not entirely unexpected. Certain sections of the press seem eager for him to fail but the fans are very much behind him. We’ve seen glimpses of brilliance from this team already and we are only likely to improve. The longer he stays at City the better.
“We’ve made up ground on our rivals for a top-four finish in the last few weeks, and need to keep our momentum going. Ten points is a big gap at this stage of the season and Chelsea are in remarkable form.
“It’s hard to see them losing enough of their remaining games a team to catch up, but I‘m not conceding the title just yet. Manchester City chased down an eight point deficit to Manchester United in 2012 with just six games remaining, so anything is possible.
“Missing out on the top four would be a disappointment but it wouldn’t be a complete failure given the overhaul that our squad requires - particularly the defence. It’s a fiercely competitive league this season and there are six teams competing for four places so two big names will have to miss out.”
Reporting by Claire Bloomfield, Editing by Ed Osmond