Manchester City aiming to bounce back from defeat against lowly Burnley
Manchester City to win 3-1
Although this has been a strange season so far, with many surprising results, it is still a shock to see Manchester City sitting in 13th position after their first eight matches.
Only three wins from those fixtures mean that this is one of the worst starts in their recent history, as well as the poorest start to a season across Pep Guardiola’s entire managerial career.
Their two defeats are only bettered by the top three sides, however it is their inability to turn draws into victories that has left many scratching their heads wondering what is going on with the club.
In Burnley, City face a side which recorded their first win of the season last weekend, against a below par Crystal Palace side. We saw more of that famous Burnley grit which makes them hard to play against, especially at home.
City have had their injury problems, but with some of those easing recently, they will be expected to improve their performances and results, starting this weekend.
Form Guide (all comps): WWDLW
Reasons to be cheerful:
Players like Aguero returning from injury are a boost
European form is keeping confidence high
Reasons to be fearful:
Without a league win in two matches
Are clearly below their best at creating goalscoring chances
Manchester City’s league and Champions League form has been a huge contrast for them so far this season.
Although they have won fewer than half of their league matches, four wins from four in Europe has sent them through to the knockout round with two games to spare, showing that confidence is still high at the club.
Injuries have not helped, and now that Sergio Aguero is back they will hope to create more in front of goal, though whether the Argentine will come straight back into the team instead of Jesus is yet to be seen.
Despite their mixed league form, they still have players who have performed well. Kevin De Bruyne remains one of the top stars in the league and the likes of Raheem Sterling are showing strong form.
They now just need to recover that spark which they have played with over the past few years under Guardiola, whose new contract ties him to the club for another two seasons.
Star Man – Kevin De Bruyne
In a season where City are struggling for creativity, De Bruyne is their one shining star in midfield.
Form Guide (all comps): DLLDW
Reasons to be cheerful
Win last weekend will massively boost confidence
Only conceded in two of last five matches
Reasons to be fearful
Manchester City will expect a response after defeat
Lost 11 of last 15 matches against City
Burnley proved last weekend that they are somewhere near their old selves by putting in a typically gritty performance in their win over Crystal Palace.
Those three points elevated them out of the bottom three, though they must continue to pick up points with more regularity to feel comfortable about life in the Premier League.
Their defence has looked more like the Burnley of old lately. They’ve only conceded in two of the previous five matches, and those two were against Tottenham and Chelsea, two of the best teams in the league currently.
The partnership of Ben Mee and James Tarkowski in central defence has certainly helped this, both being ever-present recently following injury problems.
Burnley must hope that this can continue against Manchester City this weekend.
Star Man – Chris Wood
Scored only his 2nd goal of the season last weekend, but looks like Burnley’s best route to goal currently.
City are likely to have in excess of 70% possession
Sergio Aguero could make the difference if he plays
If Burnley could keep things tight, they could spring a surprise
These are the types of games where we’ve seen Manchester City roll over the opposition in the previous few seasons.
The amount of possession which they are likely to have will not change – they’ll certainly dominate the ball against Burnley, but The Clarets are unlikely to mind that if they can keep things tight at the back.
The odds are on a comfortable City victory, but you just don’t know with how they’re playing at the moment.
Manchester City to win 3-1