Both Liverpool and Manchester City battle neck to neck in the race to the English Premier League title with very little margin for error. In the final half of the season, City faced Burnley at Turf Moor in a must-win situation for them to stay in contention with their rivals.
Burnley, on the other hand, had nothing to lose well clear of relegation and an impressive recent form. With three consecutive wins and an impressive draw against Chelsea, they certainly did not look to make City’s job any easier in City’s quest for the title. In this tactical analysis, we examine how both teams fared in a fixture whose result was decided by a margin as fine as three centimetres.
Pep Guardiola elaborated in his pre-match press conference on the rationale behind selecting his centre-halves: When faced against teams that require lots of build-up from the back, he prefers John Stones. When it comes to winning aerial duels and defending against long balls (such as this game), he feels safer with his captain Vincent Kompany.
Aymeric Laporte was tasked at building up play, having a good balance of both. The rest of his squad reflected no changes with Fernandinho and Kevin de Bruyne still recovering from injuries.
Burnley have shown a steady rise in form with their 4-4-2 system even against stronger opponents such as Chelsea. The front duo of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes received praise from Guardiola in the press conference before the game. They played a big role in his selection process.
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