Burnley v Man City
BT Sport 1
Home form the key to Burnley revival
Burnley, as expected, have rallied after their slow start to the season.
Five wins and a draw in the last 10 have pulled them eight points clear of the relegation zone and the smart money says they now go on to finish around the lower/middle of the table.
While the shock 1-0 win at Anfield took the headlines, the bedrock of their revival has been home form. They’ve won three of their last four at home, the only setback a 1-0 reverse against a then flying Manchester United.
And yet before we pat them on the back too much, they were toothless in the 2-0 defeat at Chelsea on Sunday, not managing a single ‘shot’ until James Tarkowski sent a header off target in added time.
Chris Wood going off with an injury on the hour mark clearly didn’t help and they’ve now failed to score in 11 of their 20 top-flight games.
Sean Dyche was pretty phlegmatic later, saying: “We do have days when the other teams play well and get a result. It’s all about what happens over the course of the season. You have got to hold a threat and today we didn’t.”
Onto the next one then. Ah, it just happens to be the most in-form team in England.
City in cruise control
Yep, Man City stumbled their way through the early games of the season. A 5-2 home defeat suggested something wasn’t right, as did away draws at Leeds and West Ham.
There were further stutters such as a 2-0 defeat at Spurs along with a pair of low scoring draws against neighbours United and, worst of all, West Brom.
But since mid-December, everything has clicked. And that’s something of an understatement.
In all competitions their form figures show: WWWWWWWWWWWW. To save you the trouble, that’s 12 straight wins, including eight in the league. Nine have been achieved with clean sheets.
As others have faltered, City’s win streak has pulled them three points clear at the top and they have a game in hand over the four teams beneath them.
After drifting out to 4.3100/30 at one stage, Pep Guardiola’s men are now just 1.3130/100 to win their third title in four years.
It’s certainly an easy argument to make that any team that has won three of its last four home Premier League games shouldn’t be a huge price but Burnley are 1615/1 to win the game.
Manchester City are just 1.232/9 to keep their winning run going while The Draw is 7.413/2.
In theory, Burnley should be the sort of team that could get under City’s skin and cause them trouble. The reality is very, very different.
Looking at the last seven meetings, City have won the lot and they appear to have a favourite scoreline of 5-0. That’s been the case in four of those. The other three: 4-1, 3-0 and 1-0.
To be fair, all four 5-0s came at the Etihad but the last two encounters at Turf Moor have ended 0-3 and 1-4 so, however you cook it, this has become a bit of a routine tonking.
Man City (-2) on the handicap pays 17/10 (Sportsbook) and that’s landed in six of the last seven head-to-heads.
Another option could be the City to win to nil at 5/6 (Sportsbook).
The fly in the ointment is the small matter of a trip to Anfield at the weekend. Will they have just half an eye on that, thus compromising the likelihood of them trying to keep their foot on the gas here if they get a couple of goals in front?
This looks a good game to roll out Riyad Mahrez. He had the day off in the 1-0 win over Sheffield United and netted in City’s last away game – the 5-0 stroll at West Brom.
But most powerfully of all, he’s absolutely got Burnley’s number. The Algerian has scored seven goals in his last six games against The Clarets and that included a hat-trick in the reverse fixture.
I’m also expecting a City clean sheet so that leads to my best bet: Riyad Mahrez to score and Burnley Under 0.5 goals on Same Game Multi at 4.32.
History says three or more goals has to be the bet but that’s the expectation. Over 2.5 Goals is just 1.625/8 while Unders is 2.56/4.
With City keeping so many clean sheets and Burnley offering so little in attack, Under 2.5 could be worth a look if you buy into the idea that Pep’s men will be happy to score two and then shut up shop.