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Preview: Manchester City vs. Burnley - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Premier League clash between Manchester City and Burnley, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Manchester City will be hoping to carry their European form into domestic duties when they host Burnley at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Pep Guardiola's side booked their place in the last 16 of the Champions League in midweek but find themselves languishing in the bottom half of the Premier League table as they welcome a Burnley team which picked up their first win of the season last time out.

Match preview

Manchester City players celebrate Phil Foden's goal against Olympiacos in the Champions League on November 25, 2020© Reuters

Champions League glory has long been regarded as the holy grail for Manchester City, but the disparity between their form in Europe and in England will nonetheless be a concern.

While they have won all four Champions League group games by a 10-1 aggregate scoreline - including a 1-0 triumph at Olympiacos on Wednesday to seal their place in the knockout stages - they have picked up just two wins from their last seven Premier League outings.

Indeed, their tally of 12 points after eight games makes for their worst start to a season since 2008-09, with last weekend's 2-0 defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur leaving them 13th in the table, already eight points off the pace.

During Man City's centurion season of 2017-18 they dropped only 14 points; they have already dropped 12 of the 24 on offer to them so far this term to sit equidistant between the league leaders and the relegation zone.

Most worryingly of all, even the goals seem to have dried up for City, who have a negative goal difference and have only found the back of the net 10 times in the league this season - their lowest tally at this stage since 2006-07, pre-takeover.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola pictured on November 8, 2020© Reuters

Guardiola's usually-prolific side have failed to score more than once in any of their last six league outings, which makes for their longest such run since 2006 and also represents a sharp drop-off from a run of scoring at least twice in each of their previous seven games.

It is not just poor finishing that is costing City either, with the underlying statistics also painting a concerning picture - Man City's average number of shots, shots on target and conversion rate are all lower than any other campaign under Guardiola so far.

Those figures will make happy reading for Burnley, although from Man City's perspective there is perhaps no better club they can face to break their current drought in front of goal.

City have won their last six home games against Burnley by an aggregate score of 24-2, including three successive 5-0 triumphs - they could become only the second team in the history of English football, and the first since 1907, to win four successive home games against a specific opponent by five or more goals.

Add to that the fact that Man City have won their last six meetings with Burnley home or away by an aggregate score of 23-1, and have scored more Premier League goals against Burnley than any other club has managed, and history points at only one result this weekend.

Chris Wood celebrates with teammates after scoring for Burnley against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on November 23, 2020© Reuters

Even if Man City are not firing on all cylinders, Burnley's own troubles in front of goal may be enough to ensure that run is extended, with the Clarets having found the back of the net a league-low four times so far this season.

Indeed, Burnley's games as a whole have seen a league-low 16 goals go in - which could actually be viewed as a positive for the visitors considering their record in this fixture - but they do at least go into this match having finally picked up their first win of the season last time out.

A 1-0 triumph over Crystal Palace on Monday night was enough to lift them out of the relegation zone, ending what had been an eight-match winless run which yielded only two points.

Sean Dyche's side remain without a win away from home since July, though, and without even a goal on their travels since October 3, having recorded back-to-back 0-0 draws with West Bromwich Albion and Brighton & Hove Albion in their last two.

Considering those results, they may not hold too much optimism when travelling to the Etihad Stadium, although they will also know that Man City have rarely seemed as prone to dropping points as they do now.

Manchester City Premier League form: DWDWDL
Manchester City form (all competitions): WWWDLW

Burnley Premier League form: LDLLDW

Team News

Netherlands defender Nathan Ake limps off after picking up an injury in November 2020© Reuters

Man City have virtually a clean bill of health following the returns of Fernandinho and Benjamin Mendy in midweek, with Nathan Ake their only doubt due to a hamstring injury, although he too is now back in training.

Guardiola is expected to make changes to the starting lineup from Wednesday, though, with Kevin De Bruyne, Kyle Walker, Aymeric Laporte, Ferran Torres and Riyad Mahrez among those pushing for a recall.

Fit-again Sergio Aguero could lead the line having scored nine goals in his last nine appearances against Burnley across all competitions, while Phil Foden will be hoping that his winner in Athens earns him another start.

The England international has now scored five goals and created two more in his 10 starts for club and country this season, yet has found himself out of favour in Premier League games recently.

Guardiola must also decide whether to stick with the 4-2-3-1 formation he used in midweek or to return to a 4-3-3.

Burnley, meanwhile, have suffered a major blow with the news that Nick Pope is unlikely to feature after receiving a knock to his head on Monday night.

Bailey Peacock-Farrell is expected to replace the England man in goal, while Dyche revealed that Robbie Brady and Dale Stephens are also likely to miss out. Jack Cork remains a longer-term absentee.

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Dias, Laporte, Mendy; Fernandinho, Rodri; Torres, De Bruyne, Sterling; Aguero

Burnley possible starting lineup:
Peacock-Farrell; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Gudmundsson, Westwood, Brownhill, McNeil; Wood, Rodriguez

SM words green background

We say: Manchester City 2-0 Burnley

Man City are far from the fluent and free-scoring team which always seems to put Burnley to the sword right now, but it is also difficult to see anything other than a home win in this match.

Burnley should be boosted by their victory on Monday night, but considering their record both at the Etihad and against Man City in general, this is about as difficult a match as they could have to follow that up.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data

Video prediction

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