Preview: Manchester City vs. Burnley
Vincent Kompany will return to familiar territory when he takes his Burnley side to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Saturday evening.
While the Citizens are looking to reach the semi-finals for a fifth successive year, the Clarets are bidding to reach the last four for the first time since the 1973-74 campaign.
For the sixth successive season, Man City will be competing in the Champions League quarter-finals courtesy of a thumping 8-1 aggregate victory over RB Leipzig in the last 16, including a remarkable 7-0 second-leg win at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
Erling Braut Haaland stole the show with a record-breaking five-goal haul – taking his goal tally for the season to 39 in all competitions – while Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne were also on the scoresheet to help the Citizens set up a quarter-final tie with Pep Guardiola’s former club Bayern Munich.
Winning the treble remains in City’s reach this term and they will have their eyes on booking their place at Wembley for the eighth consecutive year when they play host to Burnley, whom they have beaten in each of their last four meetings in the FA Cup – most recently winning 5-0 in the fourth round in 2018-19.
The Citizens head into Saturday’s tie having already beaten Championship opposition in this season’s FA Cup, as they secured a 3-0 away win over Bristol City in the fifth round last month after comfortably seeing off Premier League rivals Chelsea and Arsenal without reply in the previous two rounds earlier this year.
Man City have excelled at the Etihad since the World Cup break, winning eight times and drawing once during a nine-game unbeaten run, while they have won each of their last 10 FA Cup home ties, scoring 41 goals and conceding only four.
However, their last home defeat in the FA Cup was against second-tier opposition when they suffered a 2-0 defeat against Middlesbrough in January 2015, and they cannot underestimate Kompany’s high-flying Burnley outfit on Saturday.
While Guardiola has been lauded as a managerial mastermind during his time at Man City, Vincent Kompany deserves all the plaudits that come his way, transforming Burnley into a free-flowing attack-minded side since joining in the summer – a stark contrast to the philosophy under former boss Sean Dyche.
After suffering relegation from the Premier League last season, the Clarets have been head and shoulders above their Championship counterparts this term and have been sitting pretty at the summit since the end of October.
A 3-1 victory at Hull City on Wednesday, in which top scorer Nathan Tella netted a superb hat-trick, helped maintain their 13-point lead at the top, and Burnley now require just nine points from a possible 27 available to secure automatic promotion to the Premier League.
Kompany now turns his focus to the FA Cup as he prepares his side for a tricky trip to Man City, where he spent 11 hugely-successful years as a player between 2008 and 2019, winning 12 trophies including four Premier League titles and two FA Cups.
Burnley have put together an impressive 18-game unbeaten run across all competitions, but their last defeat was in Manchester, losing 2-0 to eventual EFL Cup winners Manchester United at Old Trafford in the fourth round at the end of December.
The Clarets have beaten Bournemouth, Ipswich – via a fourth-round replay – and Fleetwood Town to reach their first FA Cup quarter-final for 20 years, but hopes of booking their place at Wembley are slim considering they have lost their last 10 meetings with Man City across all competitions by an aggregate score of 34-1.
Manchester City FA Cup form:
Manchester City form (all competitions):
Burnley FA Cup form:
Burnley form (all competitions):
We say: Manchester City 2-0 Burnley
An entertaining contest between two in-form teams could be on the cards at the Etihad Stadium and Kompany’s side will fancy their chances of causing an upset, especially if Man City opt to rest a number of their star players.
However, the Citizens boast the strength in depth that should help them overcome a spirited Clarets outfit and secure a semi-final spot at Wembley.