Burnley v Manchester City: Stuttering City have to be opposed
Burnley host Manchester City in the Premier League on Tuesday night and they might just be meeting them at just the right time...
Burnley v Manchester City Tuesday November 3, 20:15 Live on Amazon Prime
Clarets looking to rebound after Palace mishap
Up until Saturday, Burnley had been really good at Turf Moor this season, winning four without conceding and losing just two. And the loses had come against Premier League title favourites, Liverpool, and fourth-placed Chelsea, so it was something of a surprise to see them beaten 2-0 by Crystal Palace.
Their two in-form strikers, Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes, have bagged six goals apiece this season but they both misfired against Palace on Saturday. Barnes fumbled a half chance in the first half and Wood blasted over after the break when he looked odds-on to score. The Palace keeper, Vicente Guaita, made a couple of fine stops but it was far from the rampant Clarets that had taken down West Ham and Watford 3-0 in their two previous games.
Palace were particularly good away from home last season and Saturday's win was their third on the road this season, following successes at Old Trafford and the London Stadium, against Manchester United and West Ham so in the fullness of time, Saturday's defeat might not look as bad as it does now.
City three-peat looking unlikely
After a disappointing 2-2 at Newcastle on Saturday, Manchester City travel to Turf Moor in dire need of a win. They're now 11 points behind league leaders Liverpool and three adrift of Leicester and having began the season as 1.50 favourites to win the title for a third season in-a-row, they're now out to5.00 and that doesn't look especially big.
City rivals, Manchester United, are still the only club to win the Premier League for three seasons running and although the loss of Vincent Kompany and long term injuries to key players Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane have clearly hindered their second successive title defence, the Citizens might just be showing why it's so hard to achieve the feat. Even with one of the best coaches the footballing world has ever seen at the helm, maintaining the hunger, desire, and intensity to win three in-a-row is tough.
In addition to the long-term injuries, a number of key players have spent time on the side lines throughout the season and the latest big loss is Sergio Aguero, who has a tremendous record against Burnley. Aguero has scored nine in his last eight in all competitions against the Clarets, failing to find the net only once. Gabriel Jesus is a fabulous prospect but he's not yet the finished article and he has an infuriating inability to stay onside. City will miss Sergio greatly on Tuesday night.
Benjamin Mendy is a marginally better option to Angelino at left-back but after two serious injuries, he doesn't look anywhere near the player they bought from Monaco. His crossing was awful on Saturday at St James' but the biggest problem for Pep is the lack of intensity from midfield.
In his last season at City, time appears to be catching up with David Silva and when he plays alongside either new signing Rodri or the suspended Ilkay Gundogan, the team lacks urgency and intensity and Pep's refusal to play Phil Fodan in his place is being questioned by the City faithful.
Defending champions have to be opposed
City have lost only one of their last 22 encounters with Burnley in all competitions and they've won seven of their last eight. They've knocked Burnley out of the FA Cup at the Etihad in each of the last two seasons, coming from behind at halftime to beat them 4-1 and thumping them 5-0 last season and they beat them 5-0 at home in the Premier League last season too, but a trip to Turf Moor is rarely an easy ride.
In the 2014/15 season, when Burnley went straight back down to the Championship, having returned to the top-flight following an absence of four seasons, Burnley beat City 1-0 at Turf Moor and the three subsequent meetings have been a grind for the Citizens.
Having gone in 0-0 at the break, two goals in four minutes either side of the hour mark looked to have settled the game in favour of City three seasons ago but a Ben Mee goal with 20 minutes to go resulted in a nervy finish and they drew 1-1 there two seasons ago after Raheem Sterling missed an absolute sitter to make it 2-0.
With City three games and three wins away from defending their title, last year's Turf Moor encounter was a real nerve-jangler decided by a 63rd minute strike by Sergio Aguero that only just went over the line so we have to go all the way back to pre-Dyche days and a 6-1 win in 2010 for the last time City won with ease at Burnley.
On paper, Burnley should be no match for Manchester City and the visitors' record against the hosts looks rock solid but those keen to get with City may be better to do so via the correct score market, concentrating on 1-0 or 2-1 and given there have only been seven goals in the last four meetings between the two at Turf moor, the odds-on of around 1.65 in the Under/Over 3.5 Goals market looks more than fair but I'm happy to oppose the visitors. This is clearly a fixture that's caused issues of late and given they've won just one of their last five in all competitions, they simply have to be taken on at long odds-on. Laying City at 1.27 is effectively getting Burnley and the draw onside at odds in excess of 7/2 and that's a bet worth placing for small stakes.