Burnley vs Manchester City Preview: Citizens look to open temporary 18-point gap against out-of-form Clarets

Burnley vs Manchester City Preview: Citizens look to open temporary 18-point gap against out-of-form Clarets

Manchester City will look to open a bigger gap at the top of the Premier League with their lunchtime clash at Turf Moor.

Danial Kennedy

Manchester City will have the opportunity to open up a seemingly uncatchable 18-point gap at the top of the Premier League even if for a few hours, as they make the short trip to the out-of-form Burnley in Saturday's lunchtime kick-off. 

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Looking to kick it back into gear 

Burnley have defied many people's expectations this season with their form especially in the early part of the campaign but will be looking to recapture that magic to end their winless run of eight games. 

Clarets fans have been on cloud nine throughout most of the campaign with Burnley even touching the dizzy heights of the Champions League places, their excellence saw Sean Dyche and his backroom staff rewarded with a new bumper contract but the Englishman will need to pull out their best work to get the outfit back on track. 

Four draws and four defeats have seen Burnley fall away from the top six positions with Arsenal now holding a seven-point gap, but with Leicester City and Everton creeping up, a top ten finish could soon be threatened. 

It could have easily been five defeats midweek when they visited St James' Park and trailed to a Jamaal Lascelles header but a late howler from Karl Darlow saved a 1-1 draw against Newcastle United, but having already tasted two defeats at the hands of Pep Guardiola's men fans' optimism of a win will remain somewhat optimistic. 

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Increasing the gap further and further 

Guardiola spoke frequently ahead of their first league defeat to Liverpool about how important City's reaction to such a defeat, and it seems that The Citizens have handled the loss at Anfield as well as they could as they look to head to Turf Moor in search of a fifth consecutive victory in all competitions. 

The midweek round of fixtures couldn't have gone any better for City with all their main title rivals all tasting defeat, City didn't suffer a similar fate as goals from Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Agüero giving them a 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion and more crucially a 15-point gap over nearest rival Manchester United. 

It could well be 18 depending on the result at Turf Moor with United not playing until 3 pm with their clash with Huddersfield Town, but regardless of the result in Lancashire, it does seem that City have made significant strides towards their first league title since 2014. 

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Team news 

The big boost for Dyche will be in his defence as the in-form James Tarkowski. The Englishman was missing from the midweek draw on Tyneside with a groin injury but could well be fit to take on an attack that has already managed over 100 goals in all competitions. 

In contrast, the Clarets will be without influential midfielder Steven Defour with Dyche confirming that the Belgian needs surgery to repair damaged cartilage in his knee, and joins Robbie Brady, Dean Marney, Tom Heaton and Chris Wood on the sidelines. 

There was some concern for the fitness of David Silva after the Spaniard was taken off early during the win midweek, but it remains to be seen if Silva will be recovered for the clash at Turf Moor. 

City have quite the significant injury list growing, with; Fabian Delph (knee), Phil Foden (ankle), Gabriel Jesus (knee), Benjamin Mendy (knee) and Leroy Sané (ankle) will all miss the clash through injury. 

Burnley will host Manchester City at Turf Moor on Saturday, February 3 with kick-off at 12:30 pm GMT.