Manchester City vs Burnley Preview: League leaders begin their quest for domination in a fourth competition

City are undefeated in the league and are holding hopes of winning a quadruple this season.

Manchester City vs Burnley Preview: League leaders begin their quest for domination in a fourth competition
Burnley will battle to stop City on Saturday (photo: Getty Images / Oli Scarff)

Both Pep Guardiola and Sean Dyche have hinted at the possibility of making changes to their respective sides as they begin their FA Cup quest in the third round.

A chance for the fringe players

Premier League sides are entering the FA Cup this weekend after a gruelling schedule of fixtures over the festive period. Man City are still flying home in the league and look well set to secure at least that trophy as they continue to battle on four separate fronts.

However, their success came at a cost with several players picking up injuries. Kyle Walker and Kevin De Bruyne are doubtful after picking up knocks during the week, whilst Vincent Kompany, Gabriel Jesus, and Phil Foden join Benjamin Mendy on the sidelines. David Silva is also unlikely to be unavailable for personal reasons.

Several fringe players will be looking for an opportunity to impress Guardiola this weekend. Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gündogan, Eliaquim Mangala, Tosin Adarabioyo, Claudio Bravo, Yaya Toure, Danilo and Oleksandr Zinchenko will all be looking to play a part.

Burnley have not enjoyed the last few weeks quite as much as their hosts. The Clarets have dropped away from the 'big six' after failing to win in their last five games but are still comfortable in seventh place in the league.

The packed schedule has also taken its toll on Dyche's squad and Chris Wood, Stephen Ward and Scott Arfield are unlikely to be available. Tom Heaton and Robbie Brady are also long-term absentees but James Tarkowski is back from suspension. The likes of Matthew Lowton, Dean Marney, Nahki Wells, Ashley Westwood, Kevin Long, Jonathan Walters and Sam Vokes will be hoping to be involved.

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Can Burnley defy all the odds?

However, if Burnley are to progress past a round they have notoriously found difficult in the last two decades, they will have to overturn the record book and produce one of the surprises of the campaign.

City have not lost at the Etihad Stadium in over a year whilst Burnley have failed to win away against their opponents for over half a century. The hosts have won the last three meetings between the sides and have scored at least two goals in eight of the last nine contests.

The last time Burnley beat City was at Turf Moor three years ago. George Boyd scored the winner that day but only six City players in the 18-man squad remain in Guardiola's team this season.

Whilst City have progressed at this stage of the competition for five consecutive campaigns, Burnley have been drawn away in 12 of their last 16 third round fixtures, winning just three of those.

Another win for the league leaders looks likely but Burnley have been the surprise package of the Premier League this season. Could they do the unthinkable and knock City out of the FA Cup?