Manchester City’s title-holding era is not over yet, and the two-time reigning Premier League champs can stretch their reign a few more days with a win over Burnley on Monday.
City can also come closer to clinching another top four finish with a win over 11th-place Burnley at the Etihad Stadium, though the Citizens are awaiting their appeal of a 2-year European ban (start time at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
City can sink Liverpool’s lead to 20 points with nine to play if it beats Burnley for the second time this season. If it drops points, Liverpool can win the league by beating Crystal Palace on Wednesday. The Clarets’ 39 points have them in contention for the Europa League but Sean Dyche’s men are fighting injuries and contract worries.
Man City will not have Eric Garcia after the young Spaniard suffered a scary injury in a collision with Ederson against Arsenal.
Joao Cancelo and Phil Foden start for City as will both Silvas: Bernardo and David.
Burnley’s been beset by injuries and will not have Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes, and Johann Berg Gudmundsson. Jeff Hendrick and four others are out-of-contract soon and there are questions about their use.
Josh Brownhill will make his first Premier League start for Burnley after transferring from Bristol City in January.
What they’re saying
Burnley boss Dyche testy on contracts v injuries dilemma: “I advised many months ago, before Covid, what situations I felt were important. The club are not always thirsty to move things forward quickly so we have had to wait and then the Covid situation occurred which is obviously very serious, but in the football world, it has given a different feel and made it more complicated. … We are waiting on the chairman to advise on what I said many months ago and if that doesn’t occur then it is fair to say we will be down to a very low squad number with the injuries on top of that. Of course it will affect the group but we have shown many times that there are many players here who are capable of doing the job and get results.”
Kevin De Bruyne on playing for Pep: “What is handy for me is I think I’ve found the coach who has the same philosophy that I have in my mind. Basically it is very simple. I don’t think I have a lot of conversations with Pep in regard to playing or what he asks me to do. He gives me a lot of freedom and understands that whatever he asks of the team or me personally I will do it, I don’t question it.
Odds and ends (Full matchweek odds)
The hosts are heavy favorites at -715 via DraftKings with Burnley at +1700.
City beat Burnley 4-1 at Turf Moor on Dec. 3 when Gabriel Jesus’ brace joined Riyad Mahrez and Rodri on the score sheet.
The Man City v. Burnley preview’s official prediction
City has a match in its back pocket and five days rest. Burnley’s a cagey side but this shouldn’t be much of a contest as Pep Guardiola looks to keep City’s status as PL title holders in hand for as long as possible. 3-0 Man City.