Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final clash will see old acquaintances Pep Guardiola and former player Vincent Kompany reunite as Manchester City take on Championship side Burnley at the Etihad Stadium.
Having swatted aside Bristol City in the previous round, the Cityzens will look to extend their imperious five-match winning run against the Clarets and secure a spot in the semi-finals for the fifth time in six campaigns under Guardiola’s reign.
Kompany’s side are also familiar with the concept of winning as they head into the clash on the back of successive wins after labouring to victory over Fleetwood Town in the previous round.
But the Belgian tactician will be hoping his players rise to the occasion as they are set to make their first quarter-final appearance in the competition since 2002/23.
With Guardiola’s side on the hunt for a potential treble, the prospect of facing the Championship side at this stage should come as a boost, having won each of their last four games against the Clarets in the competition, including the most recent 5-0 win in the fourth round of the 2018/19 campaign.
However, while they expect to get past the Clarets, Kompany’s side will be keen to prove they are no pushovers despite facing the uphill task of ending their abysmal, long-standing record at the Etihad having failed to win at City since the 1-0 Charity Shield success in 1973 (D4, L12).
It has been well over a month since Guardiola’s rampant Cityzens suffered defeat in any competition drawing just two of their last nine games (W7) since losing 1-0 to Tottenham Hotspur at the start of February.
They have won their last five games on the trot, netting a staggering 17 goals and conceding just once while keeping clean sheets in their last four in a row.
Bristol were one of City’s casualties as they saw their FA Cup journey come to an abrupt end with goals from Phil Foden (2) and Kevin De Bruyne ensuring the Cityzens ran out 3-0 winners three weeks ago.
City claimed victories in the subsequent games against Newcastle United and Crystal Palace to ensure they kept pace with title rivals at the Premier League summit.
However, Guardiola watched his side hit seventh heaven as they demolished RB Leipzig 7-0 on Tuesday night, with the irrepressible Erling Braut Haaland claiming five goals before being replaced.
The victory confirmed City’s place in the Champions League quarter-final as they continue their hunt for the elusive European glory. But they will now turn their attention to domestic action as a familiar face returns to the Etihad.
City have won their last ten FA Cup home games, scoring 41 goals and conceding just four. However, they would be naive to expect a routine win at the weekend as their last such defeat was against a Championship side, losing 2-0 against Middlesbrough in January 2015.
The Cityzens are also yet to concede a goal in the competition this season and could reach the semi-final while keeping a clean sheet in each round for the first time since the 2012/13 campaign.
Much like his mentor, Kompany has taken the Championship by storm, and his Burnley side are on the verge of an automatic return to the English top flight.
The Clarets are unbeaten in 18 games in all competitions – although their last defeat came against a top-flight side after losing 2-0 to Manchester United in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup.
Kompany’s side have already got the better of a Premier League side in the FA Cup this season, beating Bournemouth 4-2 before getting past Ipswich Town and Fleetwood to reach the quarter-finals.
Nathan Tella bagged a hat-trick as Burnley raced to a comfortable 3-1 victory over Hull City in their last outing to establish a 13-point lead at the Championship summit.
While they are not expected to go all the way in the FA Cup, an assured performance against City will go a long way in determining their readiness for a top-flight return.
However, the odds are firmly stacked against them as they have lost their last ten meetings with City in all competitions by an aggregate score of 34-1.
Guardiola has no real selection dilemma heading into the game and will have the full strength of his Sky Blue army to throw at the visiting Clarets.
Although the Spaniard may need to rotate his squad with fringe players coming into the team following their previous European exploits.
Stefan Ortega could step in for the ever-present Ederson between the sticks, while Kalvin Phillips, Rico Lewis, Julian Alvarez and Cole Palmer could also receive starting berths.
Burnley will be without Josh Brownhill, who has bagged six goals and nine assists in 41 games for the Clarets this season, including two assists in four FA Cup games.
The 27-year-old midfielder is nearing his return from an ankle injury, but Saturday’s showdown will likely come too soon.
Darko Churlinov is also set to sit out the tie, but Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Manuel Benson, and Jay Rodriguez could all return for Burnley.
Manchester City potential starting line-up:
(4-3-3): Stefan Ortega; Nathan Ake, Manuel Akanji, Ruben Dias, Rico Lewis; Cole Palmer, Kalvin Phillips, Bernardo Silva; Jack Grealish, Julian Alvarez, Phil Foden.
Burnley potential starting line-up:
(3-4-1-2): Arijanet Muric; Ian Maatsen, Jordan Beyer, Hjalmar Ekdal; Johann Gudmundsson, Josh Cullen, Conor Roberts, Vitinho; Ashley Barnes; Anass Zaroury, Nathan Tella.
How to Watch?
City vs Burnley, alongside all other fixtures in the English tournament, is available to watch online via live FA Cup streams.
We say: Manchester City 3-1 Burnley
Both sides come into the game on top form, which will no doubt be a major boost to their confidence, especially with a place in the semi-final on the line.
However, the difference in quality between both sides should be enough to separate them, with the English champions overpowering the brave Clarets.