Manchester City-Burnley Preview

Publish date:

Three points from safety and winless in seven matches, Burnley face yet another huge test in their struggle of a season Saturday when they welcome Manchester City to Turf Moor.

Sean Dyche's Burnley (4-10-14) have slumped deep into the relegation scrap on a run that has seen them pick up just two points in league play since January 10. With Southampton, Arsenal and Tottenham looming after this clash with the defending Premier League champions, the situation is looking bleak for Dyche and his side.

However, the Burnley boss is hoping the squad's mix of youth and experience will be enough to boost them for the final 10 matches.

"I think if you get that balance between a bit of experience and knowledge of how football works at different levels, and add a sprinkling of open-mindedness to take on every challenge, I think that's healthy," Dyche said. "You've still got to make that win, of course, but I think that's an appropriate balance that we're trying to achieve."

It has been well over a week since Burnley last played a game, with the club idle three of the past seven weekends due to an early FA Cup exit. With an international break also on the horizon, time off will continue to be plentiful for the Clarets, and Dyche admitted he may give his players some overseas training to refresh them.

"I don't think we'll be jetting off on a private aeroplane to go to Dubai, but we'll try and get the players away for a few days. We did that last year, we thought it was appropriate at the time, so we probably will look to do something like that."

Manchester City (17-7-4) are looking for a big win to put some pressure on league-leading Chelsea. However, a run of four games without a win at the start of 2015 saw City all but hand the title to Chelsea, letting Jose Mourinho's side off the hook for their own disappointing results.

Currently five points behind the leaders having played a game more, a successful title defence looks to be beyond reach, but Pellegrini's side has hope with playmaker David Silva in such sparkling form.

"I'd put him right in the top bracket of the best players I've played with in my career," City midfielder and Chelsea legend Frank Lampard said. "From the moment I arrived and started training with him in pre-season I could better appreciate his weight of pass, movement, and his touch and he could play in any team in the world.

"It's been a pleasure to play and train alongside him or even just to watch him. The way he holds himself, too, impresses me because he's one of the most humble top players I've ever come across - that's something I love because it's refreshing to see. To be at the top of your game, have all the medals he has and do what he does week in, week out and yet it's still like he's just coming in, doing his day job and going home."

Silva has scored 10 Premier League goals - already his best haul for an English top-flight season - and is likely to start against Burnley, even with a Champions League second leg tie at the Nou Camp next week and a fully fit City squad available.

The big selection call for Pellegrini will be whether or not to reinstate Vincent Kompany into the starting lineup after he was dropped for last weekend's win over Leicester City - a move the City manager insisted was designed to "refresh" the team.

Burnley are without Dean Marney and Kevin Long due to respective knee ligament injuries, but the Clarets could have Matty Taylor back after a calf injury.

Dyche's side came from two goals down to grab an unexpected point when these teams met at the Etihad in late December. George Boyd and Ashley Barnes scored the second-half goals to cancel out strikes by Silva and Fernandinho.