Burnley vs Manchester City Preview: Can Clarets further frustrate Pep's men?
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Burnley had their confidence dented with a recent 2-0 slump at home to Crystal Palace. Sean Dyche saw his players put together two back-to-back 3-0 wins against Watford and West Ham United but the team struggled to adjust to falling behind against the Eagles.

Manchester City have stumbled in their bid to retain the title. Pep Guardiola’s men responded well to their defeat at Anfield with an authoritative 2-1 victory over high-flying Chelsea but a 2-2 draw with Newcastle United has once again halted their momentum.

City did the double over the Clarets last season. A resounding 5-0 win at the Etihad was contrasted with a much grittier 1-0 victory at Turf Moor, three points that nudged them towards their Premier League title.

Burnley currently sit in tenth. They are six points ahead of the drop but are only one point behind seventh-placed Sheffield United. City have scored the most goals in the league (39) but find themselves in third behind Liverpool and Leicester City.

Team News

Charlie Taylor is set to miss out after coming off against Palace with an injury; this should allow Erik Pieters a swift return to the starting eleven after being dropped only a few weeks ago. Danny Drinkwater was fit and ready for the Clarets on Saturday afternoon but remained an unused substitute. The on-loan Chelsea midfielder may be called upon this time, though, with Ashley Westwood now nursing a slight knock. Dyche may opt to utilise Jeff Hendrick at right-midfield to solidify the middle of the park.

Guardiola has a number of injuries to contend with at the moment, allowing the Spaniard to flex the muscles of his squad’s depth. Sergio Aguero is a confirmed absentee so Gabriel Jesus should lead the line again. Ilkay Gundogan will miss the match with a suspension which should mean another match for the ageing legs of David Silva. Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane remain huge long-term casualties.

Predicted Line-Ups

Burnley

Pope; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters; Hendrick, Cork, Drinkwater, McNeil; Wood, Barnes. 

Manchester City

Ederson; Walker, Stones, Fernandinho, Angelino; Rodri; De Bruyne, Gundogan; Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling.

Key Clashes

Phil Bardsley v Raheem Sterling

Burnley’s bulldozing full-back struggled with Wilfried Zaha’s bamboozling box of tricks on Saturday and the challenge has become even tougher. Sterling is arguably the best winger in the Premier League; his reputation has soared both on and off the pitch. His movement into the box could leave Bardsley in two-minds with Benjamin Mendy or Angelino making an overlapping run. A tough match in prospect for the veteran Claret.

Jack Cork v Kevin De Bruyne

There have been a few suggestions that Cork isn’t in the best of form. These same criticisms popped up last season. The 30-year-old was a fan’s favourite in his first spell at the club and hit the ground running in his current stint with the Clarets. Since then, he seems to be reading the game more slowly and taking a little too long to pass. His work will certainly be tested against De Bruyne. It’s hard to see the ex-Southampton man coming out on top against the division’s best midfielder but fans will want to see more urgency from their player.

Chris Wood v Fernandinho

Wood has had a good start to the season but wasted a great chance to level the match against Crystal Palace. The New Zealand international will be eager to get back amongst the goals and will fancy himself against a fragile-looking City defence. Fernandinho has been an elite level defensive-midfielder for many years but he doesn’t quite offer the same package at centre-back. Wood will fancy his chances in an aerial duel with the 5’ 9’’ Brazilian.

What the managers have said

Dyche on Man City:

"We haven’t come out on the right side very often. We have had the one of course, a few years ago.

"We know we have managed to make Turf Moor a very awkward place for teams to come and our record has generally been good.

“We want to win. We want to find a way of winning. It’s difficult of course. They are still a top side. They have been unfortunate with injuries.”

Guardiola on Burnley:

"They are an incredible team with the second ball and not just one player but two players go to defend the strategy in attack - it’s impossible.

"We have to do it as we always have done with this team and the specific quality that we have and try to do it."

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