EPL: Can Burnley halt the Man City charge for fourth spot?
Burnley are in a terrible rut, they have gone eight Premier League games without a win, of which they have lost seven. When these two teams last met at Eastlands in November, Burnley had led 2-0, until City score three before Burnley’s Kevin McDonald stole an 87th minute equaliser. It is the only point that Burnley have won on their travels all season.
Manchester City are part of the race for fourth spot and Champions League football, they may see Burnley as cannon-fodder and a way to improve their goal difference.
After Villas mauling by Chelsea, it could be a three team battle between Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpoo for Champions League football. City lost ground last week, after losing 2-0 to an improved Everton side.
Burnley Man City Odds & Free Bets
However, an inspired City thumped Wigan 3-0 on Monday, Carlos Tevez scored a quick-fire hat-trick last week and tends to be at his best against the weaker teams in the league, he is priced at 20/1 to repeat the feat.
Burnley are eager to earn points for a different reason, the Clarets are in deep relegation trouble and sit second-bottom of the league.
After a promising start to the season, they have won just once in twenty-one league games. Laws will be hoping that relegation rivals West Ham lose away at Goodison Park on Sunday.
Burnley will feel very aggrieved that they got nothing out of the match against resilient Lancashire rivals Blackburn last Sunday. In a heated derby, where the trouble spilled off the field, Olsson of Blackburn dived in the Burnley box, to score the winning penalty.
Brian Laws is seething and the points lost could prove critical to Burnley’s survival hopes come the end of the season. The Clarets can no longer rely on their home form to guarantee their top-flight survival. Confidence is rock bottom at Burnley and Tevez will be keen to continue his incredible run of form in-front of goal against a faltering Burnley defence.
Burnley will be buoyed by the return of Captain Steven Caldwell, the defender will be a major boost in defence, he has not played for four months after a long-term groin injury. Former City full-back Stephen Jordan is also a doubt against his former club.
For City, Zabaleta starts a two-match ban after his tenth booking of the season against Wigan on Monday. Micah Richards will come into the starting line-up at right-back.
Bridge is a long-term absentee and Lescott is also still unavailable.
Roberto Mancini has few problems compared to Laws, he has an expensively assembled squad, and can afford to rotate such stars, as Ireland and Bellamy. Man City are 8/11 to win away at Burnley, it is a good price and City have the resources to change their game-plan at any time. There are few reasons why Manchester City, cannot oblige with a maximum haul at Turf Moor.
Earlier this season, the match was a six goal thriller and both teams have reasons to win at the twilight stage of the season, I would back the Total Goals market Over 3 at 19/10. It could be a goal-fest at Turf Moor, Burnley do not have the quality to outplay City and Laws is struggling to coax anything positive from their play.
Another market of interest is the Total Burnley Cards at Over 3, the match has the potential to boil over should Burnley frustrate City. Or Burnley may also kick out in frustration if they find themselves a few goals down and out of the match at half-time.
This match will not go down in sporting history books, and it is unlikely this game will be played again anytime soon. Being a pragmatist, City can look towards Europe but Burnley are staring into the abyss and I reckon that they could be relegated quite soon after Pompey.
Fulham achieved the miraculous feat of staying up two seasons ago under Hodgson’s leadership but Laws has a team of hard-working, Championship journeymen who are exposed at this level.