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Burnley v City: Match Preview

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With the league title beginning to slip away, the Blues continue their late season hunt for the title with a vital match against the Clarets at Turf Moor.

James Milner of Manchester City passes the ball past Michael Keane of Burnley during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Burnley at Etihad Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Manchester, England.
James Milner of Manchester City passes the ball past Michael Keane of Burnley during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Burnley at Etihad Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Manchester, England.
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

At the moment, Manchester City are beginning to falter in the league. With only a 5 point gap, City lost away at Anfield nearly a fortnight ago. TheBlues won 2-0 against the Foxes on Wednesday in a midweek clash last week, but the gap remains at 5 points, with a match advantage on Chelsea. If the Londoners beat the Saints on Sunday and City beat Burnley, the gap will remain at points and Chelsea will remain with a match advantage. Burnley is the next opponent for City, a team that is languishing in 19th place. This position shall surely play a part in the match, along with the following points:

Quest for Title: City, at the moment, is facing an uphill battle for the title. With Chelsea showing few signs of tripping up, Manchester City must now be sweating. With all the media reports of a conflicting bust-up between Kompany and Fernandinho and of Pellegrini's dismissal in the summer, it is now time to put everything aside, and concentrate on the title. The next fixtures for City are as follows West Brom, Crystal Palace, Man United, West Ham and Aston Villa. If City play good football, they should be able to take 15 points from 15. Now stands Burnley, and is it ever-so crucial to win to start a good run of wins.

Quest for Survival: Burnley is currently sitting in 19th place, only one place from the bottom, with 22 points. They are only three points away from the safety zone, 17th place being held by Aston Villa, with 25 points. Burnley only has 10 match days to keep themselves in the Premier League for next year. This is what will characterize Burnley's match up, being pitted up against a top dog while sitting low in the league. This will surely motivate a depleted Burnley to give a hell of a fight at home, especially with the support of the home crowd. With so much on the line for both teams, if City does not take the game early, Burnley might punish City by taking away points.

Champions League fixture: Is it important for Pellegrini to keep in mind that with a match against Barcelona in Champions League, he must consider the possibility of resting some key players. With his job likely to be on the line, he must consider this strongly. To face Barcelona with limited fitness would be fatal and will result in Man City's elimination. This would result, if he does so, in the benching of players like Agüero, Zabaleta, etc. This could potentially reduce City's firepower, but if you're playing a weak BPL team, and then facing Barcelona at midweek, you bet anything that this will be, in all likelihood, the case.

Predicted Starting XI:

Burnley (4-4-1-1): Heaton, Mee, Trippier, Shackell, Keane, Jones, Arfield, Kightly, Boyd, Barnes, and Ings

City (4-4-2): Hart, Clichy, Kompany, Demichelis, Sagna, Fernando Reges, Milner, Lampard, David Silva, Dzeko, Bony

Prediction?

City will take the match early on and rule over possession and goal opportunities. The team will be too strong for Burnley. 3-0 to City.