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Manchester City at Bournemouth, 2017 Premier League: Players to Watch

The Cherries welcome the Blues on Saturday’s early kickoff

West Bromwich Albion v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images,

The Premier League is back this weekend, and the first game of Matchweek 3 is the meeting between AFC Bournemouth and Manchester City at the Vitality Stadium, home of the Cherries.

Bournemouth lost to Watford last week and will be looking to rebound from two straight losses to start the Premier League season, but their chances of losing a third consecutive match are high given the opposition. City come in as title favorites and fought very hard to get a 1-1 draw with Everton last Monday despite playing with 10 men for the entire second half.

The Blues have enjoyed great success against Bournemouth over the last two seasons. City won all four meetings between the sides, and Pep Guardiola’s men will once again be favorites to get a victory on Saturday’s early kickoff.

Both teams have made good additions to the squad during the summer transfer window, and a few of the new signings will be key to the outcome of the game. Here are a few players from both sides you need to keep an eye on.

Jermain Defoe

The former Sunderland striker signed a three-year contract with Bournemouth over the summer but is yet to score for them. Defoe has struggled with a groin injury since joining the Cherries but is close to 100% fitness and is certain to feature against City, at least as a substitute.

Defoe recently found the net against City when Sunderland visited the Etihad in the opening match of last season, scoring the first goal of the game in the second half. City ended up winning 2-1 in Guardiola’s managerial debut for the Blues, but Defoe certainly made things tough that day and will look to do it again on Saturday.

Danilo Luiz

The Brazilian has made most of his appearances at left wing-back during preseason, but because of Kyle Walker’s red card on Monday, Danilo played on his natural position at right-back against Everton and is bound to start on the same position this weekend.

Danilo was very impressive against Everton with his superb supporting runs and his ability to create chances with his pace and skill, and it was his cross from the right flank that led to Raheem Sterling’s equalizer on Monday. Danilo will be hoping to have a similar positive effect on Saturday’s match and give City a good shot at victory.

Joshua King

The Norwegian international was without a doubt Bournemouth’s best performer last season, scoring a career-high 16 goals in 36 league appearances last season. King usually plays as a number 10 in behind the main striker (Benik Afobe or Jermain Defoe), and has the ability to score goals himself or set up others.

King has pace and size to create plenty of trouble to Vincent Kompany and the rest of the City defense, and he will need to replicate last season’s form for the Cherries to have any chance of winning this weekend.

Kevin De Bruyne

The Belgian will be looking to rebound this weekend following a poor performance against Everton. De Bruyne had trouble finding spaces to operate against a strong Toffees defense, but against a poor Bournemouth backline he should have a good performance.

De Bruyne absolutely loves facing the Cherries, with the Belgian recording 2 goals and 2 assists in four league appearances against Bournemouth. KDB will be looking to contribute to another goal or two this weekend, and there’s no reason to believe he can’t do it.