Match Preview: Manchester City vs Burnley
City are back again Monday night to welcome The Clarets in Gameweek 31 of the Premier League. Having shown rustiness for majority of first half vs Arsenal, City finally found their rhythm and coasted past Arsenal with the usual scoreline of 3-0. Burnley, on the other hand, will be playing their first game after the PL restart, something that could give their counterparts an edge in terms of fitness levels.
City currently sit on 60 points, 23 points behind leaders but with a game in hand. If City drop points in any of the next 2 games, while Liverpool wins theirs, they'd be crowned champions and would receive a guard of honour from City when the two teams meet on July 3.
Burnley have mastered the tactics Manchester City usually struggle to deal with, both offensively and defensively. They defend deep when out of possession denying any kind of space to the opponents to find those incisive passes. While in possession, their first instinct is to launch the ball forward and hope to find their strikers lurking around the opponent’s box.
When the two teams met earlier this season, Sean Dyche’s men were unusually open at the back and not so potent with their long balls, much of the credit of which should go out to Fernandinho, Otamendi and Rodri who successfully won 6 aerial duels between them and denied Burnley's tall forwards any kind of success aerially. Wonder strikes from Rodri and Jesus meant City won the game relatively easily.
However, they wouldn’t make the same mistake away from home. And City would need to be ready to toil hard to find or create pockets of spaces without relying excessively on crosses, something City tend to do in such situations to no avail.
HEAD TO HEAD
Manchester City under Pep have an almost perfect record against The Clarets. In the 9 meetings between them, City have won 8 games and drawn the other, scoring 26 goals and conceding just 5. Sergio Aguero leads the scoring charts with 9 goals.
Manchester City: Eric Garcia is ruled out due to concussion while John Stones and Claudio Bravo are still recovering from Ankle and Hamstring injuries respectively and are not expected to be fit in time for Monday night’s game.
Burnley: Striker duo of Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood are both out of contention while winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson also misses out on a trip to the Etihad.
Pep stated that his players weren’t ready to play every 2-3 days yet and he’d be making a lot of changes to the lineup every game in addition to using all the available subs. Considering this game also serves as the easiest of the 5 fixtures for City after the restart, expect most of the big guns, particularly those who started against Arsenal, to start from the bench.
With Sané’s exit plans known, it would be interesting to see the amount of gametime he gets. Not only do his commitment matters, but a few goals from him would increase his market value, while an injury could mean a free transfer next season.
4-3-3: Ederson; Cancelo, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Zinchenko; Gundogan, Rodri, Foden; Bernardo, Aguero, Sané.
Subs: Carson, Walker, Laporte, Mendy, De Bruyne, Silva, Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling.
Referee: Andre Marriner
Assistants: Marc Perry, Adrian Holmes
Fourth Official: Andy Madley
VAR: Kevin Friend
Date: Tuesday, 23 June
Kick off: 12.30 AM IST
TV: Star Sports 1 & HD, Select 1 & HD For regular Match updates, follow @mancitydelhi.