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Everything You Need To Know: Burnley vs Manchester City (Premier League)

Manchester City travel to Turf Moor on the back of a perfect January in search of a ninth consecutive win in the Premier League.

Manchester City travel to Turf Moor on the back of a perfect January in search of a ninth consecutive win in the Premier League.

Pep Guardiola's men sealed a narrow 1-0 win over a resolute Sheffield United side on Saturday, with Gabriel Jesus bagging his third league goal of the campaign. The Blues haven't tasted defeat since late November, and have conceded just four times since that 2-0 loss at Tottenham. The four-time Premier League winners are brimming with confidence amid a jam-packed schedule and will accept nothing less than three points against the Clarets.

City have coped remarkably well without a few of their star names in recent weeks, owing largely to their newfound defensive resilience and the emergence of João Cancelo and İlkay Gündoğan at the heart of proceedings. With a monumental clash against title-rivals Liverpool looming, this is the perfect opportunity for City to lay down a further marker and send a message to Merseyside. Pep won't allow his side to get complacent against a team he described as 'The Dentists', in City's 2017/18 Amazon documentary, 'All or Nothing'.

The league leaders will be vary of the threat posed by Burnley, who ended Liverpool's 68-match home unbeaten run in the Premier League last week. Though they fell to a 2-0 defeat against Chelsea on Sunday, Sean Dyche's men enter the tie in decent form, having won three of their previous four games across competitions. The hosts remain eight points off the relegation zone in 16th place, and will be looking to dent City's title hopes by causing a major upset on Wednesday evening.

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Team News:

Pep Guardiola has confirmed Nathan Aké is the only notable absentee for the visitors, with Sergio Agüero back with the squad after recovering from COVID-19. However, the Spaniard added that it will be a matter of two weeks or so before he can have the Argentine available for selection. Despite Guardiola not including him in his list of absentees during his press conference today, Kevin De Bruyne is still injured, according to Sam Lee of The Athletic.

As for the hosts, Sean Dyche is awaiting news on Chris Wood and Charlie Taylor, the pair of whom are struggling with hamstring issues while there remain doubts over the availability of Ashley Barnes, who suffered a knock at Anfield, and hasn't been part of the matchday squad since. Robbie Brady is doubtful for the clash after injuring his Achilles at Stamford Bridge at the weekend.

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Head to Head:

The Citizens boast an impressive record against the Lancashire outfit over the years, winning eleven times and drawing once against the Clarets under Pep Guardiola, scoring 40 goals in the process. The Manchester side have crossed paths with Burnley in cup competitions on multiple occasions in the past few seasons, defeating them twice in the FA Cup and once in the Carabao Cup during the last three years. 

Overall, City have won 51, drawn 25 and lost 30 games against Burnley. This will be the 107th meeting between the clubs, and while City will be bidding to keep their relentless run in their pursuit of the Premier League going, Burnley will defend deep and try to catch the visitors on the counter with full knowledge of the consequences of going toe-to-toe with Pep Guardiola's men.

In the reverse fixture, City took Burnley to school, with Riyad Mahrez netting a treble in a 5-0 win for the Blues but it was Kevin De Bruyne who ran the show. With the impeccable Belgian unavailable, the spotlight is on the likes of İlkay Gündoğan, Phil Foden and the brilliant João Cancelo to try and engineer a way past Burnley's rigid backline.

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The Manager's Thoughts:

Previewing the Burnley game, Pep Guardiola lauded Sean Dyche and acknowledged that his side will be no pushovers. The 50-year-old said; "Always I think when playing Burnley, especially away, is that it will never be easy. They have played together for Sean Dyche for a long time and they know what to do really well."

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"Burnley. Consistency is Burnley. I don't think for one second how many games we have to win. If you win, celebrate that night and then the next one. The good teams, when they are in the shower, they are thinking about the next one."

Reflecting on a flawless January, during which City won each of their nine games across all competitions, Guardiola added: 

"So proud. Not just for me, all the Club. Especially in this year when it is more difficult. Of course we're proud - nobody has done it before. All the teams in England with incredible histories have not been able to do it [win all of their competitive games in the month of January]."

"We were a little bit inconsistent earlier in the season. We will see how consistent we still are. In some games we have been more comfortable in some games we have fought until the last minute. It cannot be any other way. Burnley is the next one."

He concluded by saying; "The past is nothing. Every time is a new chance, a new challenge, to do a good game. What happened in the past I don’t pay zero attention. It is about tomorrow, what we have to do to beat them [Burnley]. That is only my concern."

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Xtra Tactics:

Pep Guardiola shuffled his pack against the Blades, with João Cancelo, Raheem Sterling and John Stones rested after featuring heavily across January. Though City weren't at their scintillating best as they've shown in recent weeks, they got the job done against an inspired-Sheffield United side who'd just pulled off an upset on the other side of town.

The above-mentioned quartet are expected to return to the lineup, with Ferran Torres likely to be dropped to the bench. It will be interesting to see if Pep hands a start to Riyad Mahrez, who has an incredible scoring record against Burnley, at the expense of Phil Foden, City's leading goal-scorer this season - 'The Stockport Iniesta' is a starting to look like a disservice to the local lad, he's much more special.

The midfield trio of Rodri, Bernardo Silva and Mr Whippy, İlkay Gündoğan picks itself while the versatile João Cancelo is expected to operate on the right side of midfield, giving Gündoğan the license to bomb forward, as the pair have shown in recent games. Though Burnley will test City to the wire, City are a scary proposition for any side at the minute, and should have sufficient firepower to ease past the Clarets.

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Match Officials:

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, Eddie Smart
Fourth Official: Anthony Taylor
Video Assistant Referee [VAR]: Stuart Attwell
Assistant Video Assistant Referee [AVAR]: Marc Perry

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