Manchester City and Burnley is my favourite fixture of the year to pronounce in the local dialect, so from hereon-in, I’ll be solely referring to both as ‘Citeh’ and Burnleh’. It’s not all they have in common either – both are playing s***e.
Guardiola’s boys went to Greece and found the target 11 times and were considerably wider of the mark on numerous occasions. But there’s still that key ingredient that they’re missing; that killer edge that have people consistently putting Liverpool the level above them in their minds.
Saturday 3pm: Man City v Burnley
BT Sport 1
Their 22 shots was a sight to behold, as was the accuracy and tempo they played at. But now it feels like City have become a parody of themselves; where players are doing everything perfectly, but don’t have the drive to achieve anything at the end of it.
It’s like when you’ve reached the peak of your career and you believe you can get by on autopilot because you’re doing everything as you should. That approach really needs to change, and quick. Only a really convincing thumping of Burnley will suffice to have people put them back in contention. But with Burnley coming off a win, is it going to be that straightforward?
I like this Ten or More Shots on Target in the Match selection a lot because of Burnley’s emphasis on set pieces. They’re very much your friend in these markets because almost any contact from an attacking player that’s gathered by a goalkeeper will qualify as such, giving you a leg up.
Not that you’d need a leg-up with how City kept firing on Wednesday night of course. It’s clearly something Pep Guardiola is encouraging more and more of, and Burnley gave up 34 shots in their last two games – against Crystal Palace and Brighton I might add – so they’re clearly sitting deep and allowing that level of play. This price is tasty.
I just feel Half-Time/Full-Time: Draw/Man City is slightly big given they’re clearly not as sharp as they’d like to be, and they’re coming off a game midweek.
There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that they’ll find a breakthrough, but not scoring in the opening 45 isn’t something completely foreign to Man City, and Burnley have conceded in the opening half on just a single occasion since the first week of October.
As Guardiola rotates his unit again, expect there to be some form of staleness when it comes to build-up play that will ultimately go on for too long, and draw out passages that, in 2018, would have resulted in goals already. Time is your friend here.
Strike while the iron is hot. It would seem folly of Guardiola to keep restricting Foden’s minutes while he’s showing the most seniority in the squad in producing at big moments.
It’s funny what a bit of hunger can do – and I’d back that level of desire to land him on both the teamsheet and the scoresheet with Phil Foden to Score First this weekend after a top-notch display in Athens.
Tips for Man City v Burnley
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