Manchester City will travel to the Turf Moor in a bid to bring a degree of normality to their league campaign. With the scrappy 1-1 draw against Borussia Monchengladbach guaranteeing a place in the Round of 16, the Sky Blues will have the luxury of focusing solely on the Premier League. The sheer number of matches they have played and are yet to play still signifies the need for maximum points in games like these. They have already stumbled at home thrice in recent weeks and are looking at eradicating the errors which have plagued them, especially in defence.
Let us take a look at the 3 key battles which will have a bearing on the outcome at the end of 90 minutes.
KEVIN DE BRUYNE VS STEVEN DEFOUR
The two Belgians will be involved in a keen midfield battle with the City man in sublime form this season. He has ruled the roost in almost every match he has played so far. And expected to be utilised centrally, the player has enough ammunition to cause all sorts of problems to Burnley. Defour has been used in a slightly defensive position and will have the unenviable task of keeping numerous City attackers at bay, including De Bruyne. An interesting battle is on the cards between these two countrymen.
TOM HEATON VS CITY ATTACK
The goalkeeper has been their best player so far this season and has already played a starring role in two of their biggest results till now. A 2-0 win over Liverpool and a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.
City are expected to swarm the penalty box with numerous players like Aguero, Sterling, De Bruyne, Silva and Gundogan capable of keeping him on his toes throughout. Heaton has to come up with another masterpiece to keep City at bay.
SAM VOKES VS JOHN STONES
Ever since the defensive duo of Sam Vokes and Andre Gray got separated with the FA punishment, there has been chopping and changing. While Vokes seems to have handled the situation in his teammate’s absence, we might see a return of the duo as they aim to put pressure on the extremely brittle City backline. John Stones has been at the receiving end of quite a bit of flak in recent weeks and needs to put in a couple of error-free performances. And what better way to start than a match against Burnley. He has looked confident and calm but his decision making has unhinged all of those sometimes and while Guardiola will ask him to take risks, he needs to gradually cut them down.
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