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Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Manchester City to remain on cruise control in title hunt

Guardiola's gang should have few problems at Burnley

Man City hotshot Sergio Aguero (left) celebrates with Fernandinho
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Premier League
Sky Sports Premier League, 12.30pm Saturday

Jose Mourinho has joined in with those bookmakers who have already paid out on Manchester City winning the Premier League by declaring the leaders this season's champions but Pep Guardiola's outfit are unlikely to start easing up yet.

There could come a period when Guardiola is able to rest players for Premier League matches as they concentrate on collecting as many trophies as possible, although the relentless manager is unlikely to allow a drop in standards for this trip to Turf Moor.

Battling Burnley won't roll over for the champions-elect that's for sure, but there is a gulf in class that should allow City to land a comfortable victory in a game featuring no more than three goals.

More Premier League previews

Arsenal v Everton

Bournemouth v Stoke

Brighton v West Ham

Leicester v Swansea

Manchester United v Huddersfield

West Brom v Southampton

City's 68 points from 25 matches with a goal difference of plus 55 is truly remarkable but they have been busy due to their involvement in so many competitions and star playmaker Kevin De Bruyne admitted to being "a little bit tired" following Wednesday's 3-0 win over West Brom.

The squad has been weakened by injuries to Gabriel Jesus, David Silva and Leroy Sane and the same players are being rolled out week after week which could be an issue later in the campaign.

Silva needs to be assessed for this trip and if he misses out there could be slightly inferior attacking service up to Sergio Aguero. Enough to win the game, but maybe not to rack up a large amount of goals.

City have recorded seven Premier League away clean sheets - two more than any other side - and their defence was boosted by another £50m arrival earlier this week as Aymeric Laporte arrived from Athletic Bilbao.

Burnley have scored only eight Premier League goals at Turf Moor in 12 Premier League home games this season and Sean Dyche must chuckle at City's injury "problems" when comparing the respective squads.

Dyche is without a number of influential players including James Tarkowski, Steven Defour, Chris Wood, Robbie Brady and Tom Heaton and it's difficult to see where the goals are coming from.

An own goal rescued a point for them at Newcastle on Wednesday, although the Clarets have scored just three times in their last six home games with among their results are low-scoring defeats against elite opponents Arsenal (1-0), Manchester United (1-0), Liverpool (2-1) and Tottenham (3-0).

Spurs were the only side to cut loose and City have it in their locker to better Tottenham's attacking fluency. But since the start of 2017 just one Burnley Premier League home game has featured more than three goals. Bizarrely, that was a 2-2 draw with West Brom.

Man City to win & under 3.5 goals
1pt 21-20 Betway, BoyleSports

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Team news

James Tarkowski, Steven Defour, Dean Marney, Jon Walters, Chris Wood, Robbie Brady and Tom Heaton are out. Stephen Ward is doubtful.

Manchester City
John Stones and David Silva need to be assessed. Leroy Sane, Fabian Delph, Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden and Benjamin Mendy are out.

Key stat
Burnley's 12 home Premier League games have produced just 17 goals.

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Burnley's 12 home Premier League games have produced just 17 goals
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