Preview: Manchester City v Burnley
The return of Burnley to the top flight has seen a wave of nostalgia attach itself to one of the Football League’s founder clubs. It’s therefore fitting to be playing them on an increasingly rare Saturday 3pm kick-off.
Whilst middle aged fans may remember the last top flight matches between the two sides in the mid-seventies, more recent fixtures in the Championship and League Cup have seen City banging in the goals. Twenty three strikes in the last six matches have featured two hat-tricks from Shaun Goater and one from Paulo Wanchope.
Given Burnley’s current away form, this could be a good time for Emmanuel Adebayor to return to the side and banish the frustrations of four successive Premier League draws.
“His last couple of games have been about trying to patch him up and sling him back on to the field of play.
“But this week he seems to be pain-free and hopefully will be 100 per cent for the weekend.”
With Roque Santa Cruz injured, the Togolese looks set to return to the attack, while Stephen Ireland could be in line for a recall following the lack of creativity at St Andrews. It would be interesting to see who makes way.
The destructive qualities of de Jong may not be required against Owen Coyle’s side, but the Dutchman had a better game than Gareth Barry last week. A pairing de Jong and Ireland has yet to be tried this season, but could be interesting with one naturally defensive and the other offensive.
Shaun Wright-Phillips divided observers last week with some admiring his efforts while others were critical of the lack of end product. A fully fit Petrov will again be challenging for a place.
In defence Kolo Toure looks set to return, which is likely to mean a return to the bench for Vincent Kompany as he seeks to regain full fitness. Wayne Bridge appears likely to miss out, so we could be treated to Sylvinho making his debut for us in the Premier League. Following the Brazilian’s showing against Scunthorpe, this should not be a concern.
Coyle’s side always look to play decent football and have thus far not attempted to ‘park the bus’ on any of their away fixtures. Given the results of having lost every game, it seems reasonable to assume this approach may be modified at some point.
Former City Academy players Stephen Jordan and Tyrone Mears both look set to return. Jordan played a notable role in a couple of Manchester derbies when he kept a certain Cristiano Ronaldo quiet. He always lacked a bit of pace, and this could be exploited by any of City’s possible wingers.
“We’re back at home, where our form has been good for quite some time, so we’re looking forward to getting back on track and getting more points on the board.”
With a sell-out crowd, Mark Hughes could do with a victory and a convincing performance before jetting off to Abu Dhabi. It’s a great chance to hold on to fourth spot in the league before we head over to Anfield in a couple of weeks time.
Blue Days line-up: Given, Zabaleta, Toure, Lescott, Sylvinho, Barry, Ireland, Bellamy, Petrov, Tevez, Adebayor.
Prediction: 3-0 to City.