March 14, 2015; 17.00 GMT
Burnley take on Manchester City on Saturday in a crucial fixture that could determine the Clarets’ Premier League future as well as City’s hopes in giving Chelsea some fight for the title. Last time the two sides met, Burnley showed incredible fight to come back from two goals down to secure a draw at Eithad.
Team News & Tactics
Burnley find themselves in relegation battle and their remaining 10 games are going to be very tough. If they want to remain in the top division, they will want to get at least six-nine points in the games against City, followed by Southampton, Tottenham and Arsenal. While it will be a tough task, if they don’t get some favorable results in these four games, they might find themselves in a position from which they won’t be able to rescue themselves and will go down just one year after admirably getting promoted.
Sean Dyche’s side is currently winless in seven games and desperately need to turn things around. They don’t have the luxury of easy fixtures, as already mentioned. It is really unfortunate for the side because despite playing well often, they don’t have the points to show that. City are not in a good spot currently and after their losses to Liverpool and Barcelona, problems in the midfield were to be seen. That should be the area Burnley should look to expolit. If they could stop a pressing game from happening and nullify the effect of Yaya Toure (primarily) and David Silva after that, the hosts could stand a chance of at least rescuing a draw in this tough fixture.
Kevin Long, Matthew Taylor and Dean Marney are still sidelined through injury. Dyche would be concerned if Danny Ings misses the game as he is a slight doubt after having picked up a knock at Anfield. The England U-21 striker has been one of the side’s key men this season and is absolutely essential for their fight for survival. After almost a 10 day gap however, Ings is expected to be okay to play the defending champions.
City are nothing like the side one would expect defending champions to be like. The Blues have won three of their last 10 Premier League games. They look under confident, their defence is abysmal, there is no real spine in the team, there is clear overreliance on star players. Not to mention there is also talks of disharmony in the dressing room. Manuel Pellegrini needs to get things sorted, and he needs to do it quickly. If his side loses to Barcelona and finish the Premier League campaign without a real fight for the title, there’s no doubt that the odds will be on Manuel Pellegrini getting sacked. If City don’t improve their game, they could well finish in the third spot or below as well.
Manuel Pellegrini has the luxury of a fully fit squad to choose from for this game. After dropping captain Kompany against Leicester, the Chilean is likely to bring him back for this game, especially so that he can warm up for Champions League action. Eliaquim Mangala and Kompany are expected to be the centre-back partnership for City for this game as Demichelis, who is being called City’s best defender (also extended his contract recently) will be saved for the trip to Spain. Zabaleta and Clichy could start as full-backs for the game. In the midfield, Fernando, Toure, Navas and Silva are expected to start. Wilfried Bony might start the game partnering Aguero in attack. The winter capture would hope he can be the X factor City have been desiring in the last two months or so.
City can’t afford to take Burnley lightly, and they will be well aware of the fact after the incidents in the reverse fixture at Etihad in December. They would need to contain the threat of Ashley Barnes, who has done a good job as the number 10 for Dyche recently, as well as Danny Ings, who City are said to be interested in in the coming summer. Ings is Burnley’s biggest goal threat and has been in impressive form lately. The defence will need to pull up its socks and will need to make sure the two don’t get enough space and time to cause damage.
Possible starting lineup (4-4-2): Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Mangala, Clichy; Silva, Fernando, Toure, Navas; Aguero, Bony
- Burnley are winless in 13 league and cup games against Manchester City (D5, L8) since beating them 2-1 at Turf Moor in October 1974.
- City have won just three of their last 10 games in league and cup (D3, L4).
- Burnley have scored 13 goals in 14 Premier League home games this season.
Player to watch out for
Danny Ings (Burnley)
With 9 goals so far, Ings has been Burnley’s best player this season. Importantly, he has sustained his good form from last season where he netted 21 goals in 40 appearances that made him the Championship Player of the Year. A free agent in the summer, a host of clubs including Liverpool, Chelsea and City themselves are reportedly interested in his services. The 22-year old hardworking striker could be the difference and could get his side something from the game.
Burnley 1 Manchester City 3
When City do turn up, they win rather convincingly. Expect the visitors to win this game, but Burnley are a good side, even though the table doesn’t show that. They won’t go down without a fight but City would still look convincing, at least through the scoreline