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Media Watch: Clarets keen to curb City’s momentum

BURNLEY v CITY: Previewing the must-win Premier League clash...

BURNLEY v CITY: Previewing the must-win Premier League clash...

Another weekend, another huge test in the Premier League title race.

City travel to Burnley this afternoon in a 2:05pm BST kick-off, looking to continue our excellent domestic form and collect the first of the three victories which would see Pep Guardiola’s men retain the league crown.

However, with a poor recent record at Turf Moor, today’s clash has been earmarked as the toughest of our remaining fixtures with a physical, frustrating encounter anticipated.

READ: Talking Points | City's historic squad goals

WATCH: Guardiola | 'It's a joy to train these guys'

Liverpool will certainly be hoping that proves to be the case and although Burnley’s place in the 2019/20 Premier League was secured with Cardiff’s defeat to Fulham yesterday, the Clarets assert they have no intention of relaxing.

Former City youth captain Ben Mee insists he will not be giving his old Club an easy ride.

He told the Mirror: "We try to make it difficult for whoever comes here and it will be difficult for the two big teams coming to our place (City, and Arsenal on the last day of the season) and we're looking forward to it.

"You can't go out, play nice football and let them play nice football against you.

"You can't expect us to roll over and say: 'here you go, have the three points.'

"We're going to work hard, make it as uncomfortable for them as possible and we'll certainly do that against City."

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Meanwhile, amusingly, Clarets forward Ashley Barnes admits he will be out of favour with his seven-year-old son if Burnley harm City's Premier League title hopes!

As the Burnley Express explain: “That’s because the former Brighton and Hove Albion forward's son, Flynn, is a huge fan of Pep Guardiola’s challengers.

“Barnes confessed that his seven-year-old would rather don Raheem Sterling's name on the back of his shirt than that of his own dad, adding that he'll be given the silent treatment should he throw a spanner in the works for City.”

Barnes conceded: "I probably have more Liverpool friends, but my seven-year-old son, Flynn, is a massive Man City fan. He’s not happy, he’s already said: ‘Come on Dad, serious.’

"But I said: ‘Sorry son, I’ve got to do my job.’ He won’t be supporting Burnley, that’s for sure. He will be City mad.

"He will probably try to wear a City kit underneath his Burnley one. He loves all the City players, but probably Sane and Sterling are his favourites.

"As soon as I get back to see him after the game, he’ll be kicking me that’s for sure. I don’t think I’m his favourite at the moment. I’m not a favourite of his, that’s for sure and kids always tell you the truth."

As always, pundits have been staking their predictions ahead of the clash, and their guesses make encouraging reading for City.

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The BBC’s Mark Lawrenson stated: “The Clarets held City here last season, but I just don't see it happening again.

"The only way they might get some joy is if they can get City involved in a really tough, physical game, which would suit the home side far more.

"If Fernandinho is out with the injury he sustained against United in midweek then that won't help City either, because he would have a crucial role winning the second ball from knockdowns.

"And it will be interesting to see if Vincent Kompany is able to play for a second time in five days, because the City skipper is exactly the sort of defender his side will need in this game."

Michael Owen, for Bet Victor, agreed: “City passed what at least on paper looked their last really stern test when winning 2-0 at Old Trafford during the week.

"They now have three games left to reclaim the title and will expect to win at Burnley where they are long odds on favourites.

"The Clarets are finishing the season well after dicing with relegation and 10 points from a possible 12 has secured safety for another year. I expect them to continue to fight hard but the visitors should have too much class."

Elsewhere, the FA WSL’s official website has previewed this afternoon’s visit of Yeovil Ladies to the Academy Stadium.

City must beat the Glovers and hope league leaders Arsenal slip up away at Brighton and Hove Albion, to have any hope of lifting the trophy.

 

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The article, which highlights some impressive scoring stats, reads: “Nick Cushing’s Manchester City will welcome Yeovil Town to the Academy Stadium as they look to keep pace with Arsenal.

“Manchester City’s Nikita Parris and Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema have been responsible for scoring 13.2 per cent of all the goals scored in the FA WSL this season.

“Yeovil will need to keep a close eye on Georgia Stanway too and close her down before she can get her shot away or face the likely prospect of her scoring her seventh goal from outside the box this season.”

In other news, City legend Pablo Zabaleta has hailed Sergio Aguero as one of the Premier League’s all-time greatest strikers, expressing his admiration for his compatriot’s longevity.

Reflecting on his time at the Etihad Stadium with the Offside Rule podcast, Zaba declared: “I think he deserves so much credit – he’s probably one of the best strikers we have seen in the Premier League for the last seven to eight years.

“He’s a fantastic striker, one of the best I’ve ever played with and he’s a really nice lad as well.

“Man City have been so lucky to have a striker like Sergio when you look at the top strikers like Harry Kane, Lionel Messi, and everyone - you need top goalscorers in your team and that’s what Sergio does.”

Finally, there are a few snippets of transfer gossip, as the Sun claim City are eyeing a record-breaking bid for Leicester’s Harry Maguire, while Team Talk believe a move for Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri is on the cards.

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According to David Woods: “Manchester City are poised to make a summer swoop for Harry Maguire.

“With no buy-out clause in the Leicester star’s deal, City may have to top the £75million record fee Liverpool paid for a defender when they signed Virgil van Dijk.

“The centre-half, 26, has the ball-playing skills and confidence in possession, which makes him an ideal player for City boss Pep Guardiola.

“Being a ‘homegrown’ star is also a boost for Maguire’s chances of a dream move, with City needing to fulfil their quota.

“But with the Foxes reluctant to sell Maguire, a fee of £90m might be needed to persuade them to sell the ace they landed from Hull for £17m two years ago.”

Team Talk’s piece suggests: “Manchester City have reportedly opened talks with Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri about a summer transfer after agreeing to match the player’s exit clause.

“City boss Pep Guardiola is believed to be looking for a long-term replacement in midfield for 33-year-old Fernandinho, with fellow Atletico midfielders Saul Niguez and Thomas Partey touted as potential targets.

“According to Spanish publication Cadena Ser, however, Guardiola has set his sights on a third of the club’s midfielders – Rodri.

“The source says that the 22-year-old is tipped to become the long-term replacement for Sergio Busquets in the Spanish national team, and adds that Guardiola sees him performing a similar role for the Manchester club.”

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It’s yet another pivotal weekend in a compelling Premier League title race and, not surprisingly, City’s must-win trip to Burnley tomorrow lunchtime dominates the media landscape.

All the latest City news and opinion from across this morning's back pages...