Manchester City will look to bounce back from their 2-0 defeat to Tottenham as they host a Burnley side that are just above the Premier League relegation zone.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City find themselves at a lowly 13th on the Premier League table. Despite having a game in hand over most of the chasing pack, Guardiola would not have envisaged falling 8 points behind the leaders Tottenham so early on in the season.
Their title credentials have been questioned in the recent gameweeks and Manchester City would want to send a warning message out to fellow title hopefuls that they are still worthy of the challengers’ tag, at the very least. The packed festive schedule would be the best time to dive deep into the squad and pull out results in a row.
Also, Guardiola has seen his side drop crucial points against the lowly teams in the 2020/21 Premier League, something he would have on his mind; something that needs to be corrected lest Manchester City face the prospect of conceding the title challenge early on.
Burnley have finally gotten a win on the board and the narrow 1-0 result over Crystal Palace was enough for them to jump above the drop zone and be seated at 17th on the Premier League table. The Clarets have an abysmal record against Manchester City in recent times, especially during their trips to Etihad.
Their last visit to Manchester City in the Premier League ended in a miserable 5-0 defeat and Sean Dyche will hope there isn’t a four-peat of the scoreline when visiting Etihad. Let us take a closer look at the two squads.
Team News & Tactics
Nathan Ake is the only first-team regular in doubt due to injury for Manchester City. Ederson should be in goal for the home side, with Kyle Walker likely to be stationed on the right, especially after having been given a rest during the midweek.
Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias should be the centre-back pairing, with Benjamin Mendy likely to come in for the doubtful Ake on the left. Up ahead in midfield, Fernandinho is likely to be given a rare start in midfield. Kevin De Bruyne should also return to the starting eleven after being rested during the Champions League midweek.
Ilkay Gundogan should ideally complete the midfield three. Raheem Sterling is an absolute certainty on the left side of the three-man attacking lineup. Ferran Torres was on the bench against Olympiacos and should likely be stationed on the right against Burnley.
Sergio Aguero’s fitness woes could mean another start for Gabriel Jesus. However, Pep might want to see how Aguero’s fitness levels hold up.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Mendy; De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Gundogan; Torres, Aguero, Sterling
Jack Cork and Dale Stephens are both sidelined for the match against Manchester City. Robbie Brady will also be unavailable after picking up an injury during last weekend’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.
The back four picks itself, with the likes of Matthew Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee and Charlie Taylor protecting the goal, which will be guarded by English international Nick Pope.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Dwight McNeil will both have their work cut out, with Sean Dyche likely to ask them to track back and stick to positions to stifle the Manchester City players for room. Josh Brownhill has been impressive and will likely partner Ashley Westwood in centre of the midfield.
Ashley Barnes is unlikely to start, with Dyche preferring the duo of Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez up top.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Gudmundsson, Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil; Rodriguez, Wood
1. Over 3.0 Match Goals @ 1.700
1. Over 3.5 Manchester City Team Goals @ 2.75
1. Manchester City have an aggregate score of 13-1 in their last five matches in all competitions against Burnley.
2. The scoreline is even grimmer when it comes to the last five home games, with Manchester City boasting of a 22-1 in aggregate.
3. Manchester City have scored just 4 goals in their 3 home games in the 2020/21 Premier League.
4. Burnley may be seven points adrift of Manchester City but are just 3 places below the former Premier League champions on the league table.
5. No Manchester City player has scored more than 2 goals in total so far in the 2020/21 Premier League.
Player to Watch
2 goals and an assist in 8 Premier League games is not a pretty tally for someone like Raheem Sterling, who has been almost topping the scoring charts in the recent seasons. With Aguero not really being his fittest self, the onus will be on the English international to provide the goals in attack for Manchester City.
Despite Manchester City’s domineering recent record against Burnley, Sterling has scored just one goal against Burnley and none in a Manchester City jersey. Saturday will be an opportune time to prove his credentials once again and improve his record against the Clarets.
Manchester City 5-1 Burnley
The Citizens are slowly coming back in the groove and despite the lack of goals, their matches have seen an improvement in performances. Pep Guardiola will be hopeful of the historical data coming into the play and the Etihad fear factor for Burnley will be enough to emulate the last few results.
Manchester City usually have a breakout match where they demolish opponents as the marker of them getting into their groove. Burnley just might be the opponent at the end of a similar event. IF historical data is anything to go by, Manchester City will be good for all three points, with 5 goals a real possibility for the home side. It will be very tough for Burnley to get even a single point on Saturday at Etihad.