Manchester City away is not the kind of fixture Burnley manager Sean Dyche will be expecting his team to get anything from, as a visit to the defending champions is perhaps the season’s toughest match.
Burnley go into Sunday’s game on a slightly wobbly run of form and have won only once in their last five, despite improved performances. It seems unlikely that they will pull off a shock against a City team that have won nine in a row in all competitions.
Even without an available senior striker, Manuel Pellegrini’s men have not been stopped from closing the gap to Chelsea at the top of the and they’ve scored six in their last two matches with James Milner playing in an unfamiliar role up front.
It is City’s band of playmaking delights who will be posing the most headaches for Dyche in the lead-up to this match, with David Silva and Samir Nasri excelling at exploiting space between the lines. Dyche usually picks a fairly rigid 4-4-2, which means Silva and Nasri could have a field day if they drift into those areas.
Even City’s supposed weakness at the back has been addressed in recent weeks and captain Vincent Kompany is likely to be back for Sunday’s game, making it even harder for the Clarets to get anything from the match.
Dyche may therefore see a trip to the Etihad as an opportunity to rotate his squad, although he is a manager who likes a settled team; he has picked the same side for the last four matches. But with Ben Mee going off injured at the end of Friday’s defeat to Liverpool, Dyche may be forced into at least one change and high energy players such as Dean Marney, George Boyd and Scott Arfield may be unable to cover the vast amount of ground they usually do four times in 11 days. With Newcastle away coming up on Thursday, keeping players fresh is important.