Manchester City will face an away trip to Burnley on Wednesday night, where three points are essential to stay ahead of the league ahead of a clash with Liverpool this weekend.
After a slow start to the season where everyone has seemingly forgotten the threat they pose, City have rebounded strongly and find themselves three points ahead of the Premier League, and hold a game in hand against second-placed Manchester United.
As exciting as it may be for the Cityzens to be back on top and ahead of United and Liverpool, Pep Guardiola’s side cannot get carried away. Burnley is able to cause upheaval at home, rather than at the Etihad where their record is surprisingly poor. A bad result is enough to derail or derail a form race this season.
Here’s how City might start the game.
Ederson (GK) – It was admittedly an easy blank sheet for Ederson against Sheffield United last time around, but there is no denying its importance.
Kyle Walker (RB) – Walker plays an important role as a seasoned boss in a rather young backline for City. His offensive qualities are also essential.
John Stones (CB) – Stones gave up against Sheffield United but could come back against Burnley, although he may have a different partner at the back …
Aymeric Laporte (CB) – With Liverpool coming up this weekend, it may well be Ruben Dias’ turn to rest as Laporte starts a second game in a row.
Oleksandr Zinchenko (LB) – Zinchenko made a pretty decent change this weekend and will likely continue here with Joao Cancelo rested ahead of the gigantic clash with the Reds on Sunday.
Rodri (DM) – Rodri was also rested against Sheffield United but will likely reprise his role in the XI in order to keep Fernandinho cool.
Ilkay Gundogan (CM) – Gundogan has stepped up massively this season. The German provides City with a bite and goal threat from midfield; again key in a device such as Burnley Away.
Bernardo Silva (CM) – Silva enjoyed being deployed in the central role against Sheffield United and pulled the strings on his side. Keen to take the ball and create opportunities galore, the game represents a good chance to increase the number of his contributions for the season.
Riyad Mahrez (RW) – Mahrez scored a hat-trick in City’s 5-0 demolition of Burnley in the reverse game this season, so he’s called up to the XI for this one.
Gabriel Jesus (ST) – The goal of Jesus’ early victory over Sheffield United can only do him good as he seeks to find some consistency after an injured season.
Raheem Sterling (LW) – Sterling has had ten goal contributions so far this season and can use the game against Burnley as a solid warm-up to prepare for the weekend’s clash against his former employers.