Manchester City v Burnley Cheat Sheet
Manchester City v Burnley
As always when previewing Manchester City it is a bit tricky to work out how Pep Guardiola will set up, especially for cup games. He will go strong here because of the latter stage that they are in and the importance of silverware, especially given the precarious situation in the league, but it is still tough to know which of the galaxy of stars in the squad will be selected.
Guardiola has talked up the ability of Vincent Kompany and his Burnley side in the press ahead of the clash. Of course, Guardiola knows Kompany exceptionally well from his time as Man City captain in Guardiola’s earlier years at Eastlands.
It is true though that Burnley probably play the best, most sophisticated, football outside of the Premier League. They are practically certain to be a Premier League team again next season and Kompany should rightly receive praise for the way that he has managed the transition from a Burnley team under Sean Dyche that played a completely different way to the way Kompany wants to play football. Through great coaching and excellent recruitment they have been able to create a team that has been truly dominant in the Championship throughout the entire season, and still found time to make the last eight in the FA Cup.
In a way that also makes this a very difficult one to judge Burnley in. They have a superb defensive record in the Championship, but this is based mainly upon their dominance and ability to keep the ball to reduce the amount of chances that opponents have. Their defensive players don’t often get tested as individual defenders and I’m not sure how they will cope with Manchester City’s quality in that way.
The heavy odds on for Manchester City is difficult to argue with. If taking a view point then I suspect that Burnley will give a good account of themselves and the +2 handicap being odds against is a serious temptation, but as always with Manchester City it is a risky one to bet against them turning it on and beating any handicap line, we saw exactly this in the Champions League this week.
What is a better bet to kick off our bet builder is going with goals. Burnley are flying with chance creation at the moment in the Championship, averaging over 2xG created per match since the beginning of February, and Manchester City have averaged over 2xG since the beginning of the season. Man City also covered the over 2.5 goals by themselves in the previous round against Bristol City.
At some stage, if Burnley want to progress, then they will have to take some risks and push forward, so there will be chances in the match either way. City have plenty of hungry players ready to snap up those chances and I would be confident that goals can flow here, especially given an early goal.
Speaking of goalscorers in form, Nathan Tella is red hot for Burnley. Ostensibly a Premier League player having made a number of appearances for Southampton over the last few years, Tella has really found his feet and his confidence in senior football in this loan spell at Turf Moor.
A hat-trick in midweek was Tella’s second in a matter of weeks and he is now Burnley’s top scorer with 17 goals in total. Tella is second in Burnley’s list of most frequent shooters, behind Manuel Benson, both of whom tend to occupy the right forward position in the team. This indicates that Kompany likes to develop chances for the player in that position.
Benson tends to create a number of chances for himself with his ball-carrying and dribbling skill, cutting in from the wing and striking towards goal, Tella takes up more central positions and gets chances in the box, as well as offering a genuine threat in behind.
This is the route that I think could hold some success for Burnley in this game, and it is difficult to envision a match in which a confident Tella doesn’t get at least one shot off.
There had been much discussion of the use of Kevin de Bruyne and his usage this season. Whilst the Belgian may not have been right at the very top of his game for the whole season, Guardiola knows that when it comes to the bigger games at the end of the year he will need a fully fit and firing De Bruyne.
We saw some of that against Leipzig in the week and I suspect that he will be used from the start here as well, given that rotation that happened in recent weeks. If he does start, and I am right in my assertion of goals, then I like the chances of De Bruyne being involved in a goal either as the scorer or the assister.
It is, of course, Erling Haaland that leads the way for Man City in goal involvements, with over one per match, but Riyad Mahrez and Kevin De Bruyne follow the Norwegian. De Bruyne will offer a lot of threat in this match.
Either himself from distance, from free-kicks, or his delivery in open play from the half-spaces, but the reason that I prefer De Bruyne as a bet in this market stems from a match much earlier in Burnley’s season.
The only time that there has been panic in the Burnley ranks this season was an away match at Sheffield United in which they were pummelled from set pieces. Man City are likely to have a lot of corners and offensive free kicks here with De Bruyne favourite to be chief taker of those opportunities.
With the potential of Laporte, Akanji, Ake, Haaland, Rodri, Ruben Dias, to attack the deliveries then the potential for a set piece goal feels real, as well as De Bruyne’s open play ability.
The final aspect of this bet builder revolves around the competitiveness of the fixture. It is obviously an FA Cup Quarterfinal so blood should be up for that regardless, but with the return of Kompany and the confidence swirling around both sides and the fight for domination of the ball we could see a lot of challenges flying in.
Both sides press the ball quickly after they lose possession and some players on the pitch are the ones who tend to lead that press for their respective sides and as a result get involved in a lot of tackles and fouls.
In a midfield of Jack Cork and Josh Cullen it is tempting to think that it would be Cork that would be the combative one, but Cullen plays the more active role in getting the ball back for Kompany’s team. He is by far the most frequent tackler and though he is generally pretty clean in this regard, this is a better quality of player and at least one of them is likely to draw a foul from Cullen.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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