Champions Manchester City need to get back on track in the Premier League, and that starts with an away match at Burnley.
Group EPL Turf Moor, Burnley, England
Key Stat: Manchester City are unbeaten in their last eight matches against Burnley, winning seven of them.
Expert Verdict: A draw with Newcastle United, in which they struggled to get out of a pedestrian gear, cast Manchester City further adrift of leaders Liverpool. They still go into this game at Turf Moor as favourites, however, and Pep Guardiola will be desperate for his team to get back to top form.
Johann Gudmundsson is closing in on a return to fitness, but might not be risked against Manchester City. Matej Vydra is also sidelined with a hip injury, and Erik Pieters looks set to replace Charlie Taylor, after the latter picked up a hamstring injury last weekend. Danny Drinkwater is back in the squad, but has yet to break into the starting XI.
Ashley Barnes – The striker started the season in superb form and has six to his name so far. He has been a menace to Manchester City in the past too.
Chris Wood – The New Zealander is another whose height and physicality has caused, and will cause again, problems for the Manchester City defence.
Ben Mee – The former FA Youth Cup-winning captain in the Manchester City Academy will be key in defence -the longer the Clarets keep City out, the more choice the hosts have of nicking a result.
Burnley were in good form either side of the international break, putting three unanswered goals past both West Ham and Watford, but they lost 2-0 at home to Crystal Palace last weekend. Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood scored in each of their two victories, before an own goal sealed victory at home to the Hammers and James Tarkowski’s late effort matched that scoreline away to Watford.
Defenders:Philip Bardsley, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Erik Pieters
Midfielders:Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, Jack Cork, Dwight McNeil
Forwards:Ashley Barnes, Chris Wood
Manchester City remain without Sergio Aguero, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane. From the draw with Newcastle, Bernardo Silva could come back into the starting line-up, while the height and prowess of Burnley’s centre-forwards may mean Rodri comes into the starting line-up too.
Raheem Sterling – Scored his 15th City goal of the season in the draw at Newcastle to continue an excellent season in front of goal – though he still has more to give too.
Kevin de Bruyne – A stunning goal looked like snatching three points for City last weekend, only for Newcastle to hit back. Nevertheless, he still produces magic moments for Pep Guardiola’s side.
Bernardo Silva – A quiet season compared to the last one, but he has scored goals in this fixture before and generally caused problems for the Burnley defence.
Manchester City have won just one of their last five matches in all competitions. That win came at home to Chelsea, however, with Kevin de Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez scoring City’s goals. They have twice drawn in the Champions League, securing top spot with 1-1 results against Atalanta and Shakhtar Donetsk, but twice threw away a lead against Newcastle to lose further ground in the Premier League title race – Raheem Sterling and De Bruyne scored City’s goals but Newcastle hit back twice.
Defenders:Joao Cancelo, John Stones, Fernandinho, Benjamin Mendy
Midfielders:Kevin de Bruyne, Rodri, David Silva
Forwards:Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling
Manchester City twice put five past Burnley last season, winning 5-0 at home in both the Premier League and the FA Cup. Their most recent meeting, at Turf Moor, was settled by a solitary Sergio Aguero goal, however. Aguero also scored in both home matches as City had five different scorers on both occasions. Bernardo Silva also scored in both games, while Fernandinho, Riyad Mahrez and Leroy Sane were on target in the league, and Gabriel Jesus, Kevin de Bruyne and a Kevin Long own goal made the difference in the cup.
Here are the results of their last five competitive matches:
Apr 28, 2019: Burnley 0-1 Manchester City
Jan 26, 2019: Manchester City 5-0 Burnley
Oct 20, 2018: Manchester City 5-0 Burnley
Feb 03, 2018: Burnley 1-1 Manchester City
Jan 06, 2018: Manchester City 4-1 Burnley
Manchester City continue to stutter this season, dropping more points at the weekend despite twice leading at Newcastle United.
They remain favourites for this game, but this is another fixture in which – though they have generally dominated against Burnley – they have looked unconvincing at times.
Last year they won 1-0 with a scrappy goal, while they drew at Turf Moor in their 100-point season – two of only 14 points they dropped all season.
Still, there were enough positive signs in the win against Newcastle to suggest City just need to step back up to top gear to get back to their best and build some momentum ahead of next weekend’s Manchester derby.
Kevin de Bruyne’s goal was the exact sort of moment he has provided so often to get City out of tricky positions and it was unusual for Pep Guardiola’s side to then concede another equaliser afterwards.
Raheem Sterling’s 15th goal continued his good season too – though recent performances, despite more goals, have not been at his usual best either.
If City hit top gear, they could blow Burnley away – but very few teams come to Turf Moor and manage that, and Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes could cause problems at the other end.
The key for City will be getting an early goal and settling any nerves. Do that, and they should win. At any rate, you can not back against the champions.
Manchester City are favourites to win away to Burnley and can be backed at 1/4 to win with Ladbrokes.
With City’s defence unconvincing, conceding in each of their last five matches, both teams to score could be a productive bet at evens with Bet365, Betfair, Paddy Power, Betway, 10Bet and 888sport, however.
Raheem Sterling has scored 15 times this season for Manchester City, however, and he can be backed at XX to score at any time again.
Manchester City need to step back up to top gear and they will not find it easy at Turf Moor – but they are still favourites to win.