Five talking points ahead of our clash with Burnley…
We won’t know until an hour before kick-off whether Kevin De Bruyne will start against Burnley, but it seems likely the Belgian will play some part.
After injuring his knee in training just a week into the new campaign.
The Blues have done fantastically well in his absence and sit at the top of the Premier League, still unbeaten.
But De Bruyne adds that touch of magic dust that gives City something else – and his return makes the champions even more formidable.
The cameras will no doubt be trained on Joe Hart as he plays his first game against City.
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The England goalkeeper spent season-long loans with Torino and West Ham before finally severing his ties with the Club after 12 years.
Hart’s achievements with the Blues will never be forgotten and he is assured a special reception from the City fans with whom he remains a huge favourite, but don’t be surprised if he has one of ‘those games’ (think Dortmund, Barcelona etc).
3Watch Raheem go…
Raheem Sterling is probably still bathing in the glow of his two goals against Spain in midweek – and if he isn’t, he should be.
Praise, kind words and forecasts of what the City forward can do for his country are a far cry from the harsh treatment he received from some sections of the media and fans from other clubs.
Hopefully, that’s all in the past now and the 23-year-old should be floating on air.
City fans have already seen his game ratchet up a notch this season after steady year-on-year progress under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage.
Now, with the international burden lifted from his shoulders, his confidence will probably have never been higher.
It should be thrilling to watch.
Burnley made a poor start to their Premier League campaign with their Europa League commitments undoubtedly impacting their domestic form.
Now, with no European games to shoehorn in, Sean Dyche’s side are starting to improve and showing flashes of the team that finished in seventh spot last season.
With seven points from a possible nine, the Clarets are slowly climbing the table and reverting to type and Dyche has enjoyed his tactical battles with Pep – some have worked well, others have caused problems (they led 1-0 at the break in January’s FA Cup tie before eventually losing 4-1).
It will be interesting to see who Dyche approaches the latest instalment…
5Rotation the key for intense period
City will play seven games in the next 22 days.
Four Premier League games (including Spurs and United), back-to-back Champions League games against Shakhtar and a Carabao Cup tie against Fulham.
Expect Pep to utilise his squad during this period with Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus sharing striking duties, the midfield department sharing the workload and minutes for Oleksandr Zinchenko, Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz along the way.
The centre-half pairings are likely to be shuffled regularly, too, so second-guessing the manager is likely to be harder than ever.