The Big Match Preview: Burnley vs Manchester City (Premier League)

Three games to go. Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side have only three games left for the season. Winning all three against Burnley, Leicester and Brighton will hand Pep and his players, back to back titles for the first time in ten years. 

The first of the testing trilogy is Burnley. Man City face the challenge of a lifetime ahead of this season’s title dream in playing away at 14:05 at Turf Moor on Sunday. However looking at City’s form and the fact Guardiola has proven he can play against the stubborn defensive negative teams like United and still put out a two-goal winning side, you would hope he can do the same as the Citizens edge one step closer to lifting that Premier League trophy for the second time in two years. 

All Blues will be hoping that the Burnley players will be ‘on the beach’ in this game, with Sean Dyche’s men having secured the magic forty points generally known to be the tally teams stay up with, as well as amassing a far superior goal difference to Cardiff. Dyche himself will no doubt want his players to put in a performance to show the world that he really is just as good as Guardiola, as some opposing fans and Pundits may lead you to believe. His side have been in amazing form and will indeed provide a stern test for City. 

From Burnley’s midweek 2-2 draw with Chelsea, they have managed to avoid any injury as well as getting a great result. This means Dyche will likely go with a similar team as he did against Sarri’s men in that match to build on their newly found form. 

After winning their last two games at Turf Moor, Burnley have also not lost a game since mid April. It will definitely be interesting to see if Sean Dyche’s men will be instructed to go all in for this City match or to rest from all that hard work and focus on picking up a point, should they need it, to guarantee safety for the season in their last two matches against Everton and Arsenal instead. 

City should be fully focused, coming off the high from winning in United’s back yard on Wednesday night. Guardiola will need to get his players to rise to the occasion again, putting behind them the fantastic win against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, and to take each game as it comes. He will look to have the players with him, encouraging them to see that the title is in their hands, at mere touching distance. 

Fernandinho was the only noted player who picked up an injury from the match at old Trafford. He was seen walking off after holding up a hand to receive some treatment just at half time began. From watching his reaction to being subbed, it seems as though the injury may not be as serious as expected, however Guardiola has since confirmed the Brazilian picked up a slight niggle in his knee and might miss the match. 

On the other hand, Ilkay Gündogan played much better when he sat back in that role. He seems to find it easier to play with the match played ahead of him sitting in the defensive midfield role rather than the pushed forward number eight. His skills to dip balls over and in behind the defensive line may just be what Guardiola needs against a nine or ten man defense on Sunday.

Aside from this, we will see who will be ready and available to push for the title charge with the fitness of the usual suspects, Mendy and Kompany along with all others to be assessed. Guardiola will have to weigh up his options and players desire, form and fitness to play out these last three crucial games.

 From looking at Liverpool’s form and fixtures, it is unlikely they will drop any points for the remainder of the season. Guardiola has said this himself and knows what his team must do, so all City fans will likely be biting their nails and checking their watches throughout the remaining games.

This City fan is hoping we can all put our nerves aside and get behind the lads, home and away to give them the final push they will need.

Here’s hoping City can take home the three points and set the countdown to push for back-to-back Premier League titles, of which they deserve for all the hard work throughout this and last year’s amazing Centurions season.

You can follow the author on Twitter here: @CianGWalsh

You can follow us on Twitter for more Manchester City content: @City_Xtra

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