As the festive period within the Premier League begins, Manchester City’s chances of repeating as champion seem all but done.
Following a disappointing draw over the weekend, City look for a more spirited effort when they visit Burnley on Tuesday night.
The Citizens (9-2-3) never truly looked in form during Saturday’s 2-2 road draw versus Newcastle United. Raheem Sterling (eight league goals) opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, but the match was level just three minutes later. Kevin De Bruyne (four league goals) gave City the lead back on 82 minutes with a stellar smash, but the hosts again drew even on Jonjo Shelvey’s impressive tally in the 88th.
Things finished that way, leaving Manchester City 11 points behind leaders Liverpool in a title race that seems all but over. Not to mention that Leicester City and Chelsea are still in the mix for the second spot in the table.
However, City aren’t about to throw in the hat even if a title defence looks bleak at the moment.
“It’s still on,” defender John Stones told City’s official website. “We’re still going to fight until the last day. That’s what we’ll do … The spirit has to be there.”
According to Stones, teams are starting to find the necessary defensive game plan to thwart City, who are 1-1-1 following a three-match league winning streak.
“Teams know how we play and they’ve got to find a way to try and stop us. That’s them showing respect,” Stones said. “We have to figure it out, use our flair and how we play. We train every day to break down these systems.”
Man City have had no problem doing so during a 5-1-0 league stretch versus Burnley, during which they own a 14-3 goal advantage.
Sergio Aguero leads the Citizens with nine top-flight goals and has six during his last six league matches against the Clarets, but will be out again with a thigh injury. Meanwhile, City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan will also miss this contest due to suspension.
Burnley’s bid for a third straight Premier League victory ended with a 2-0 loss to Crystal Palace on Saturday. The Clarets (5-3-6) had scored six goals in their previous two matches whilst posting clean sheets in both.
“Frustration is the right word because I wasn’t overly disappointed in the performance,” manager Sean Dyche told Burnley’s official website. “We weren’t a million miles off, but we (had) certainly done enough and created enough to take something from the game, but it wasn’t to be.”
Losers in two of their last three at Turf Moor, Burnley have not lost two straight league matches at home since April into May.
Chris Wood’s run of a goal in three consecutive league games and Ashley Barnes’ surge of two in a row obviously ended Saturday. They share the team lead with six Premier League goals apiece.