Burnley vs Manchester City: Match preview and predicted line-ups

Manchester City have still got some way to go before consistently hitting the levels that Pep Guardiola expects after only drawing in the week against Borussia Monchengladbach. However, they will be confident of picking up the three points on Saturday as they travel to Turf Moor to face newly promoted Burnley. It will be another test for Guardiola in English football, but they are overwhelming favourites and it could be the perfect opportunity to build some real confidence.

Burnley are well positioned in mid-table after a good start to life back in the top flight. Many believe that this is their best chance of stabilising in the Premier League, but a 4-0 loss to West Brom on Monday showed that there is plenty of work to do before they can maintain their status in the division. Sean Dyche has spoken out against the top tier managers in the Premier League and believes their methods are overrated in the media which could provide an interesting side-plot during the match this weekend.

The visitors are currently in third place and only one point off the top of the table. They could reach the summit if they beat Burnley as Chelsea face a difficult match against Tottenham in the late kick-off on Saturday. Guardiola’s men could pile the pressure onto Chelsea with a big victory at lunch-time and that is exactly what the Spaniard will expect of his players. Although their performance level hasn’t been at the level that he expects, his side have only lost one Premier League match all season and are almost certainly going to have a major say in the title race when it comes to May.

Recent form

The home side had been in good form before their humbling defeat to West Brom. They had taken seven points from their previous three Premier League matches. Their best asset is their defence, which is why the fashion of their defeat to West Brom was so surprising. It is crucial that they bounce back with a strong performance against Manchester City, even if they can’t secure a positive result.

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Manchester City have won only two of their last six Premier League fixtures as they enter their first slump under Pep Guardiola. It was always going to be a project that took time for the Spaniard as the squad was an ageing one when he took over. He has started well and it is clear that everybody is pulling in the same direction. Although there will be a battle for the title this season, there is a feeling that Manchester City could emerge as the biggest force under Guardiola and it is easy to see why.

Predicted line-ups

I’m not expecting any changes from Burnley, despite their defeat to West Brom as Dyche likes to show faith in his players. Andre Gray is pushing for a start, but Sam Vokes is better suited to this type of game as he can hold the ball up and relieve pressure on the defence.

Yaya Toure should come back into the side after missing out in mid-week due to being left out of the Champions League squad at the beginning of the season. The only change that I expect from the side that beat Crystal Palace is John Stones coming in for the injured Vincent Kompany.

Burnley                                                       Manchester City

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Injuries/suspensions

Burnley don’t have any injury concerns ahead of their home match against Manchester City, which is a huge boost for Sean Dyche. They only have a small squad, therefore it is important that they limit injuries as much as possible to stand a chance of survival.

 

Fabian Delph is back in training after his hip injury and could be in contention to be involved this weekend. Vincent Kompany is suffering with a knee injury and won’t return until December at the earliest.

Verdict

Pep Guardiola is still adjusting to the Premier League and it won’t be a straightforward victory for his side on Saturday, despite their obvious advantage when it comes to talent. Their defence has been poor this season as shown by only one clean sheet in their last seven Premier League matches. That said, they should have enough to earn the three points on Saturday, especially after Burnley’s defeat against West Brom. The last thing they need is a match against one of the best attacks in the league and I expect the quality to shine through on the day.

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