In the first Premier League match of 2017 for Manchester City, Burnley comes to the Etihad on Monday afternoon. Two months ago, these two teams faced each other at Turf Moor, a fixture in which City prevailed 2-1 in a much closer game than expected. Now 10 points behind leaders Chelsea after a 1-0 loss at Anfield against Liverpool, City must find their stride against the Clarets and remain in the championship race.
Meanwhile, Burnley are the Premier League’s worst team on the road this year, earning only one of their 23 points away from home. Here are a few players to keep an eye on in the match on Monday.
The Irish midfielder should start for Burnley on Monday, as Dean Marney is serving his suspension for a red card. Hendrick has been in good form recently but did not feature in the game against City, so he may not know much about the opposing side.
Hendrick should feel plenty of support around teammates Steven Defour and Michael Keane, so do not be surprised to see Hendrick venturing forward all day.
With the rest of the City midfielders on short rest, Nolito could see the start, as he is one of the few wingers with fresh legs. Nolito has made an argument to consistently feature in the starting eleven with four goals this season, and he has another chance to prove his worth.
The former Celta Vigo man should attack from the wing against Burnley’s weak fullbacks. Nolito will be a constant threat and may have his name on the scoresheet if he ends up playing.
After being the Championship’s top scorer last season for Burnley, Gray never got off to the right start in the Premier League. However, Gray topped off the finale of the first half of the season with an impressive hat-trick against Sunderland.
He's all of a sudden Burnley’s top scorer this season with five goals, and a force to be reckoned with once again. Whether or not Burnley manager Sean Dyche decides to play two strikers up top (Gray and Sam Vokes), expect attacking play to run through Gray, especially on the counter-attack.
During his return to league play against Liverpool, Agüero managed absolutely nothing in a dismal performance. Although he did have a shot on target, it was a weak effort right to the center of the goal, which Simon Mignolet dealt with easily.
However, Agüero scored both of City’s goals in the previous match against Burnley, and that should give him motivation to recover from a bad performance on Saturday with a goal or two against the Clarets.