Manchester City are now safely through to the UEFA Champions League knockout stages, and since the EFL Cup is no longer on the calendar as well, only the Premier League matters for the next several weeks. The first of the league games takes place on Saturday, when City visit Turf Moor to take on Burnley.
Having been on top of the table for much of the first dozen games, Pep Guardiola and his men are clear title contenders, and the Catalan manager will relish the opportunity to train his squad for a whole week at least twice over the next month or so. For a system so complex as Pep's, you need time to practice, and he will have that time now, which should translate to the City team he expects to see.
Health is not really a concern, there is a lot of talent on the squad and Pep now has time to train. We may see the birth of a monster team, but it'll take time and baby steps in the early stages of this special period of Premier League action. Beating Burnley while playing well is the first step to achieve that success in results and performances.
Can City do it?
Date/Time: Saturday, November 26, 2016, 12:30pm local time (BST), 7:30am ET, 4:30am PT (US), 5:45pm IST (India)
Venue: Turf Moor, Burnley, England
Referee: Andre Marriner
TV listings: NBCSN (US), NBC UNIVERSO (US - Spanish), BT Sport 1 (UK), TSN2 (Canada), Star Sports Select HD1 (India), elsewhere
Online streaming: NBC Sports Live (US), Telemundo Deportes En Vivo, NBC UNIVERSO NOW (US - Spanish), SiriusXM FC (US - Radio), BT Sport Live Streaming (UK), BBC Radio 5 Live (UK - Radio), TSN GO (Canada), elsewhere
Man City: Vincent Kompany will be out for six weeks with a knee injury, and we really shouldn't be surprised at this point. The captain will probably be sold or will be leaving for free in the near future, and we just need to start accepting the fact that Kompany is no longer a reliable player. It's a shame, but it's the truth.
Other than Vinny, there are no major injury issues, and Fabian Delph is finally healthy. Pablo Zabaleta and Sergio Agüero are carrying knocks and will undergo late fitness tests at Turf Moor, but Guardiola has options to replace both of them. The squad is looking good in terms of fitness, which is not usual and is hugely important going into a busy December schedule.
Burnley: Sean Dyche has no injuries or suspensions to worry about, meaning he can choose his best XI. Burnley's team doesn't have the best quality, but it's a physical, intense team that works hard for their manager, who also works hard to train them well during the week and have them prepared for any challenge.
Sam Vokes is in decent form and is a big body who can cause problems to the City defense. The Clarets come to this game having lost 4-0 to West Bromwich Albion, who were beaten 4-0 by City. Notice the trend here?
It's never easy to break down a Sean Dyche defense, but we will do it in the second half. 3-0 win to the visitors.