Today, Manchester City lock horns with an in-form Burnley side away at Turf Moor. City will look to continue their title charge after coming off the high of Wednesday night’s derby victory, but will have to work hard if they want to keep up with Liverpool, who got a 5-0 result against Huddersfield on Friday. Should they be able to win, it will leave only two games left for City to become the first side to win back-to-back Premier League titles in ten years.
Burnley have recorded ten points in four games since mid-April including Monday night’s draw away to Chelsea. Understandably, most City fans will look at past results away to Burnley and be slightly nervous. Last year, Guardiola’s men only managed a 1-1 draw and Liverpool fans will be hoping the same can happen again. Sean Dyche has managed to get Burnley back to form after some rough times compared to last season’s unexpected achievement. His side boast a two game winning streak at Turf Moor and will look to add to that in order to fully ensure survival for this season.
City will look to build upon Wednesday’s Manchester derby victory and get the three points to take them one step closer to the title. Pep has made comments about the competition for the league title, saying that for title challengers, ninety points plus is a must, which in a sense is crazy. In past years, a lot of title winners never managed to hit ninety points but such are the ebbs and flows of football. But Pep knows how to motivate teams to hit those highs and is better than anyone at closing out a season’s title challenge when ahead, so Burnley are sure to come up against a highly motivated side come five past two.
Kevin De Bruyne has been ruled out, likely for the remainder season. Fernandinho also faces a late fitness test, however there is word of him walking with a leg brace today which will not be great news to City fans.
Burnley come into the game with an almost fully fit squad. Bardsley was the only player left out in the last game with a gash on his leg. Sean Dyche will probably keep the Clarets side unchanged from the result against Sarri’s men. They will use their home advantage to get the support behind them in their defending and rush forward on their quick counters with the promising Dwight McNeil looking to impress upon his breakout season.
CITY XTRA LINE-UP PREDICTION
I suspect the team will likely remain similar to the last two games, but it doesn’t take a genius to put Ederson in goal. The defence will probably feature Oleksandr Zinchenko, Aymeric Laporte and Kyle Walker, however I reckon John Stones may drop in also. His ability to keep and pass the ball around the back with the expected high possession for the match could be vital if City are looking to break down a typically stubborn Sean Dyche team.
From past matches and Wednesday’s game, Ilkay Gündogan will likely play a pivotal role in the number six position. His skill to unlock defences by dipping balls over and behind the defensive line will come in handy against a stern defensive side like Burnley.
In keeping with the ‘unlocking’ theory, who better to call in but Bernardo Silva and David Silva? With both providing exceptional quality against United, the signs are showing that both men are on form, which is particularly encouraging given the recent sluggishness from El Mago.
Finally, the attack could very well see Leroy Sané earn a start on the back of his impressive substitute appearance at Old Trafford. Partnering Raheem Sterling and Sergio Agüero, Leroy’s hunger to impress could very well be the decisive factor against a side that has confirmed their safety, with the potential to be less bothered than if they were fighting for Premier League survival. Ultimately, I think Pep will cut no corners in putting Burnley to the sword, especially with a week’s rest coming after the match.
City Bench: Aro Muric, Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Nicolas Otamendi, Danilo, Phil Foden, Vincent Kompany
You can follow the author on Twitter here: @CianGWalsh
You can follow us on Twitter for more Manchester City content: @City_Xtra