Burnley vs Man City pre-match analysis: Why Burnley not having the ball could help them on Saturday

An intriguing encounter lies ahead on Saturday lunchtime.

Burnley vs Man City pre-match analysis: Why Burnley not having the ball could help them on Saturday
Man City will dominate possession despite being away. (Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

It's a strange thought but Burnley having less possession could help them take valuable points off Premier League giants Manchester City on Saturday.

With or without?

Sean Dyche's men have been prepared since they earned promotion to see very little of the ball against the majority of teams in the top flight. Against Liverpool, Everton and Manchester United, they did not attempt to play but merely contain and punish when they were afforded opportunities with the ball. They took seven points from those three games, including a maximum against Liverpool with just 19% of possession.

Yet when they were faced with the proposition of dominating the ball against West Brom on Monday they seemed bereft of creativity and ideas. Rather than looking to counter against diminished defences, the Clarets were left facing blocks of blue and white stripes. The outcome was that Burnley offered very little in front of goal, whilst leaving spaces in defence that would not normally occur.

Central defenders Michael Keane and Ben Mee were heavily criticised following the 4-0 drubbing and they will have to rekindle their form on Saturday. If Sergio Aguero is fit and Kevin De Bruyne plays to his abilities, a nervy Burnley back four could be put to the sword once more. A talented Man City attack will also look to exploit Matt Lowton if he plays after an extremely lacklustre performance against West Brom.

The physical contest 

Burnley will be aggressive and fight for every ball though. Pep Guardiola's team like to be afforded time and space and play their neat, fluid passing game. Burnley won't allow that to happen. Expect the hosts to be in their opponents' faces, buoyed by a Turf Moor support that has witnessed numerous successes already this season.

Their attack, likely to be supported by the physical Ashley Barnes, will look to put an unreliable Man City defence under pressure. Barnes put in a hustling shift on Monday evening and will test a City defence who don't like physicality, particularly with the continued absence of Vincent Kompany.

Step forward Yaya Toure. If Burnley get their way and turn the match into a physical contest, City will be looking to the reborn Ivorian to help lead the battle in midfield. The visitors have the ability to be bullied but if Toure has his head in the right place, as he did on his return last weekend, he could help City pull through against a Burnley side determined to prove a point.