Manchester City vs Burnley
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Referee: Jonathon Moss
Manchester City welcome Sean Dyche’s Burnley to the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon as they look to regain their dominance at the top of the Premier League table.
The Citizens missed a golden opportunity to go two points clear at the top of the table before the international break after summer newcomer Riyad Mahrez, blazed an 86th minute penalty over the bar in their 0-0 draw with Liverpool. Although the Citizens picked up a point on a difficult away trip, it could have been so much sweeter for Guardiola’s men and it could be a pivotal point in their campaign.
As for the visitors, they come into this game off the back of a strong run of results before the international break. They haven’t lost in their last three league games and have managed to climb up to 12th in the table during this turn around of fortune after a tricky start to the season.
Any Europa League shaped excuses Sean Dyche once had are now long gone and the focus for the Clarets has shifted to the Premier League. The Burnley players should be fresh and well drilled following the international break and if they want any chance of beating City, they will without doubt have to be at their best.
Last season this was a comfortable 3-0 win to the home side although Burnley did manage to hold City to a 1-1 draw when they came to Turf Moor. Dyche has managed to outfox Guardiola once before yet it is hard to see it happening again this time round.
Manchester City are currently tied at the top of the table alongside Liverpool and Chelsea yet before kick-off at the Etihad they could lie in second if Chelsea manage to overcome Manchester United or even get a point in the early kick-off. Therefore, nothing but a win will do here as Pep and his players attempt to retain their Premier League crown. The big team news for Manchester City is the potential return of Kevin de Bruyne. The mercurial midfielder has been out since suffering lateral collateral ligament damage in mid August and although City have hardly struggled without him, it will without doubt be a welcoming return for the Belgian maestro.
Danilo and Ilkay Gundogan are doubts for the fixture whilst Claudio Bravo, Fabian Delph and Eliaquim Mangala are all unavailable.
In this fixture last season Sergio Aguero scored to become City’s joint all time top scorer, with five goals already this campaign, he will certainly see this fixture as an opportunity to add some more to the tally and chase down Eden Hazard who is the earlier leader of the golden boot. As for Riyad Mahrez, he will certainly be looking for redemption after his penalty miss in the game against Liverpool; the Algerian needs to put in a good performance if he wishes to keep his place in the team with the likes of Sane on the bench and de Bruyne returning from injury.
Burnley have no new injury concerns and are still without long-term absentees Nick Pope, Robbie Brady and Ben Gibson. James Tarkowski could make his return after picking up a slight knock before the international break.
Ben Mee and James Tarkowski have been on fine form lately and they are very much the poster boys of this Burnley side. The central defensive duo will be under constant fire from the outset in Manchester and will have to be at their best if there is any chance of keeping City at bay.
Predicted Starting XI’s:
Manchester City: (4-3-3) Ederson; Walker, Laporte, Stones, Mendy; Bernado Silva, Fernandinho, Silva; Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling
Burnley: (4-4-2) Hart; Lowton, Mee, Tarkowski, Taylor; Lennon, Westwood, Cork, Gudmundsson; Barnes, Vokes
Score Prediction: Manchester City 3 Burnley 0
It is really difficult to see past anything other than a City win for this one. You would expect it to be a comfortable afternoon for the Champions. They have scored 13 home goals in four games already and it would be no surprise to see Guardiola’s side comfortably add to that come Saturday.