Competition/Round: 2018/19 English Premier League Season – Matchday 9
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Assistants: Eddie Smart, Andy Halliday
Fourth Official: Chris Kavanagh
TV Info: N/A
Live Stream: NBC Sports Gold
Radio: BBC Radio Manchester (UK); TalkSport Radio World (USA)
The international break has ended and the English Premier League is back underway. Manchester City will host Burnley on Matchday 9 of the 2018/19 EPL season.
Most of City’s men were away on international duty during the break, and whilst the majority of these players earned favourable results with their respective teams, they will be eager to be back underway in the EPL. City jumped to the top of the title with a draw at Anfield on Matchday 8 and they will look to extend this lead as they host Burnley on Saturday.
City currently sit at the top of the table, having won six matches and drawn two. Moreover, they are undefeated at home in the EPL, having won all four of their home games this season. They have outscored their opposition by 13 to two. Therefore, the odds are heavily in their favour.
Burnley, on the other hand, have struggled. The Clarets were eliminated in the final round of the UEFA Europa League qualification phase, where they lost 4-1 on aggregate to Greek side Olympiacos. They were also eliminated by English League One side Burton Albion in the Third Round of the EFL Cup. In short, Burnley have not performed well in cup competitions this season.
As for the EPL, the Clarets sit in twelfth place in the league table, having earned two wins, two draws and four losses. Despite their form, the visitors held City to a surprising 1-1 result last season, and thus anything could happen in this match.
Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Fabian Delph have returned from their injury spells. Meanwhile, Claduio Bravo, İlkay Gündoğan and Eliaquim Mangala remain on the sidelines. They are recently joined by Danilo, who picked up an injury during Brazil’s international friendly match against Argentina.
Burnley are without Nick Pope, Robbie Brady and Ben Gibson. The trio have been on the sidelines since the start of the 2018/19 EPL season. A return date has not been provided.
Burnley goalkeeper Joe Hart could also earn a warm welcome when he returns to the Etihad. The Englishman won five trophies with Manchester City during his 12 year spell with the club.
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy; B. Silva, Fernandinho, D. Silva; Sterling, Agüero, Sané
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Hart; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Guðmundsson, Cork, Westwood, Lennon; Barnes, Vokes
Manager: Sean Dyche
Manchester City are enjoying another strong start to the 2018/19 EPL season, having won six of their opening eight matches. Moreover, they have only conceded on three occasions, thus they have strengthened their defensive unit from last season. Finally, the Blues have scored 21 goals in the EPL alone, averaging 2.6 goals per game. At face value, betting against the Blues would be foolish. Many of their players, however, will be returning from the international break and have not had an opportunity to rest since before the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Match fatigue could play a factor in this fixture.
To this point, Burnley have a slight advantage as most of their players were not called up to represent their respective national teams. As a result, they had some additional rest during the international break and thus should be more rejuvenated than City. It is likely they will be better composed at the start of the match and thus could cause City problems early in the match. Hence it is predicted Burnley’s well-rested squad will start as the better of the two sides in the opening minutes of this match.
Manchester City always manage to find a way, however, and given their strong start to the season, it is likely this trend will continue. It will not be pretty, but the Blues will do just enough to edge the Clarets.
Manchester City 2-1 Burnley