Manager Sean Dyche admitted his side were a million miles away from their usual level of performance, but he will be keen to bridge that chasm for the visit of Pep Guardiola’s title-chasing Blues.
City make the short trip north for what will be their third away game within a week, but they boast an impressive record on the road this season – Guardiola’s side have won all bar one of their away fixtures.
But Burnley have made Turf Moor an unhappy hunting ground for several teams already this campaign, and will be relishing the prospect of adding City’s name to the lift of sides to have fallen on their sword in East Lancashire.
Burnley fans recall City’s last Turf Moor trip with fondness, as George Boyd’s sumptuous strike proved the difference between the two sides in March 2015. The Clarets would, of course, eventually suffer relegation from the Premier League but their taming of the then-champions provided a season highlight.
Prior to that, however, Burnley’s previous win over Saturday’s opponents came 42 years ago – also at Turf Moor – as the Clarets ousted the Blues in the old Division One. Separating that victory in 1974 and the one last year is a 13-match unbeaten run for the Citizens – eight of which were wins.
That includes the 6-1 hammering Burnley took at the hands of Roberto Mancini’s rapidly-improving side, who swept into a 5-0 lead in the first half, during the Clarets’ maiden Premier League season in 2010.
The disparity in resources since then means City are unlikely to be surrendering their better head-to-head record anytime soon, with their 40 wins eclipsing Burnley’s 29 from 93 encounters – the first of which came back in 1897.
If the statistics are an accurate forecaster of goals, then Saturday’s clash could be a cracker. While Burnley have scored the highest proportion of their Premier League goals in front of their own fans (10 out of 11 – 91%), City have the greatest proportion from away games at 56%.
Guardiola’s side have been predictably ruthless going forwards – they are the third-highest scoring team in the division, have the second-highest scorer in Sergio Aguero and the player with the most assists in Kevin De Bruyne – but in terms of defence, they have kept one clean sheet fewer than the Clarets.
The defensive triumvirate of Michael Keane, Ben Mee and club captain Tom Heaton have been invaluable to Burnley’s cause this season; the former has made the most blocks and headed clearances, Mee has made the most clearances altogether and the latter the most saves.
City will almost inevitably dominate the possession statistics – they have four players in the top 20 for passes made this season – but the Clarets have proven to be better without the majority of the ball, which makes this weekend’s game all the more fascinating.
Despite having a clean bill of health, Burnley boss Dyche may be tempted to ring the changes for Saturday’s game following the poor showing at The Hawthorns.
He admitted he had learned a lot about his players after that defeat, with Jon Flanagan perhaps the most likely to be given a first-team opportunity in the wake of Stephen Ward’s difficult evening. Right-back Matt Lowton and midfielder Scott Arfield may also be under threat, particularly if Dyche elects to switch back to a 4-4-2 formation.
Guardiola, meanwhile, has allayed fears over star striker Aguero’s availability following their Champions League draw against Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday night. The Spaniard admitted Aguero ‘had a kick, but he is okay’ following the game.
Elsewhere, skipper Vincent Kompany and Fabian Delph remain the longer term absentees for the Blues.