Manchester City vs Burnley pre-match analysis: Can the Clarets halt the rampant league leaders?

Pep Guardiola's side are scoring goals galore and look to be the early favourites for the Premier League title.

Manchester City vs Burnley pre-match analysis: Can the Clarets halt the rampant league leaders?
Stephen Ward could face a long afternoon against Raheem Sterling (photo: Getty Images / Tom Flathers)

Burnley have formulated an excellent start to the season but Saturday afternoon's visit to the Etihad Stadium will be their biggest test yet. Manchester City have won six consecutive Premier League games to lead the English top flight by two points.

City have not just been winning but absolutely destroying teams along the way. Their free-flowing and fast tempo has conjoined between outstanding players, resulting in 17 goals in their last three home games.

Gabriel Jesus has been recognised as the next football wonderkid, whilst Raheem Sterling appears to have found the best form of his career so far. Yet Kevin De Bruyne will be the man to watch for Burnley. Although he has not chipped in with many goals, the Belgian playmaker seems to be the focal point of most City goals. Then there is Sergio Aguero. Fit again after a car crash and undoubtedly raring to get back on the scoresheet.

Contain or press?

There is only one way this match will pan out. City will dominate possession, whilst Burnley will sit back with ten men behind the ball.

Yet it is how they defend that could determine the outcome for Burnley. They tend to defend deep and with a tight unit, making it difficult for opponents to break them down. Despite gaps within the channels being limited, you would expect this City side to break them down at some point in the 90 minutes.

Burnley do have a strong pressing game and they may be advised to utilise such a tactic high up the pitch. John Stones has made a solid start to the season but is still prone to individual errors, despite rarely being tested this campaign.

Brady could cause problems for Delph

The Clarets do know how to pick up points on the road this season and they will use such knowledge to their advantage. Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Everton have all failed to beat Burnley, despite generally dominating the play.

Burnley will look to break with speed and guile. Chris Wood will test the aforementioned Stones in the air but the biggest threat could come in the form of Robbie Brady on the right flank.

Fabian Delph appears rejuvenated for City but he continues to deputise in the unfamiliar role of left-back. If Brady can use his flair to create space away from Delph and produce consistently good crosses, as he often does, Wood may profit against Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.