Preview: Manchester City v Burnley

Manchester City

Manchester City must take a break from their relentless march towards the Premier League title to host Burnley in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.

FA Cup
6 January 2018
Kick-off 17:00 local time
Venue: Etihad Stadium

Referee: G. Scott
Assistants: S. Bennett, S. Hudson
Fourth official: A. Haines

Head-to-head summary

Manchester City 79 34 19 26
Burnley 79 26 19 34

Previous encounter

Manchester City 3-0 Burnley 21/10/2017 (Premier League)

Manchester City goalscorers: S. Aguero (PG 30’), N. Otamendi (73’), L. Sane (75’)

Players to watch

Raheem Sterling is, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, City’s top scorer this season with 18 goals in total and 14 in the league, one more than Sergio Aguero. The Englishman has scored five goals in his last five matches, and will be eager to face the Clarets after sitting on the bench for October’s win over them.

If Burnley had managed to claim a draw in last weekend’s 2-1 loss to Liverpool, it would have been thanks to centre-back Ben Mee, who put in an epic performance against the Reds. The Clarets will most likely be in need of some heroic defending, and that means the No.6 will have to be at his best.

Team form and quotes

City remain undefeated in the league this season, and have only dropped points twice throughout the whole campaign, the first time in matchday two against Everton, the second time just last weekend when they were unexpectedly held to a 0-0 draw by Crystal Palace.

The Clarets have also been performing well this campaign, keeping up with the big boys on the outskirts of the top four. However, Sean Dyche’s side have wobbled in recent weeks, and have now gone without a win in their last five matches. Defeats to Spurs and, most recently, Liverpool have shown their weaknesses, while they were also beaten 3-0 by City back in October.

Speaking ahead of the match, City boss Pep Guardiola had some complaints about the busy schedule, but insisted that he doesn’t want to see his team drop out of the competition.

“The schedule is what it is,” Guardiola said. “The doctors and physios say that the body cannot recover in less than three days at this level of competition. So that is what my comment was about.

“Our intention now is not to drop any competition and not to drop any games, this is why I will rotate players.”

Team news

In team news, Burnley have a number of injury absentees, with Scott Arfield, Chris Wood, and Stephen Ward not yet ready to return, while Robbie Brady and Tom Heaton remain sidelined.

For City, Vincent Kompany is a slight doubt with a calf strain while Kyle Walker is less likely to feature due to a groin injury. Gabriel Jesus and Benjamin Mendy are set to miss out.