Bournemouth (13th, 9pts) vs. Leicester City (19th, 4pts)
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Date: Saturday, October 8
Time: 10:00 am ET, 3:00 pm UK
Location: Vitality Stadium - Bournemouth, UK
TV: Peacock (USA), BT Sport Score - Studio Updates Only (UK)
Both Leicester City and Bournemouth are experiencing their best runs of form since the start of the league campaign. For Leicester, this meant getting their first win of the season. The Foxes had an offensive explosion and battered Nottingham Forest for a dominate 4-0 victory.
For the first time all season, Brendan Rodgers is displaying cautious optimism despite the fact the Foxes are currently in the relegation zone. Rodgers called the victory “season-changing” and noted that there has been an uptick in training since the victory.
“I can see the determination in the players. I think it’s a game that can be a springboard for us” Rodgers said in his weekly press conference.
Furthermore, Rodgers highlighted James Maddison’s maturity. While the midfielder is only 25, he has over 150 appearances for the club and is doing everything possible to drag the squad back into form. If Leicester are going to pick up points away from King Power Stadium, Maddison will need to continue dominating and take a more prominent leadership role despite his youth.
Despite the good news, there is still some cause for concern. Wilfred Ndidi and Nampalys Mendy were both ruled out for this weekend’s match. Ndidi was injured during the international break and is expected to be out for a couple of weeks with a hamstring strain. Mendy picked up a knock in training and should return early next week.
Meanwhile, since Bournemouth’s 9-0 embarrassment against Liverpool that resulted in Scott Parker being sacked, the Cherries have picked up points in four straight matches under caretaker manager Gary O’Neil. Somewhat surprisingly, defense has been the clubs calling card since that aforementioned lopsided defeat. The Cherries have kept clean sheets in two out of their past four. It could have been three if they had not surrendered a late spot kick to Newcastle in their 1-1 draw in the game prior to the international break.
Unfortunately, the offense is struggling to produce anything in the final third. In their past four, the Cherries are averaging less than three shots on target per match. Their worst performance was their last match against Brentford that ended in a scoreless draw. Bournemouth only had one shot on target.
While the gaffer has been feverishly working towards a solution by changing formations, O’Neil will need striker Dominic Solanke to step up. Last season in Championship, the England international scored 29 times in 46 appearances. Through six appearances so far this season, Solanke has managed only one goal. If the Cherries want to turn draws into wins, Solanke will need to start converting chances into goals.
While outsiders may consider this an ordinary match for Bournemouth, it comes at a pivotal time for the club. US Billionaire Investor Bill Foley is traveling to the south coast where he is expected to purchase the club for £120m (Currently $134m). In his first game at Vitality Stadium, the prospective owner will surely be evaluating whether the caretaker manager should get a permanent appointment and which positions require transfer market activity to ensure that the Cherries remain in the Premier League.
This match would play out entirely differently if Ndidi was starting. Instead, he is resigned to the bench for multiple fixtures. However, Leicester looked sensational for the first time all season in their last match while Bournemouth are struggling to produce offense. While it won’t be three points, the Foxes get a much needed point away from home with a 1-1 draw.