City v Burnley: Stones set for first appearance of the season
John Stones is set to make his first appearance of the season as one of five changes for Manchester City’s game against Burnley.
The centre-back comes into the starting XI alongside Nathan Ake, Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Zack Steffen, who gets his first Premier League start of the campaign.
Stones replaces Ruben Dias at the heart of defence, whilst the American comes in for Ederson, who, along with Gabriel Jesus, is not involved having played for Brazil in the early hours of Friday morning.
Joao Cancelo, Aymeric Laporte, Rodrigo, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden all retain their place from the 2-2 draw with Liverpool before the international break, with the injured Ferran Torres the only other senior player absent from the matchday squad.
It means Pep Guardiola can call on a bench packed with talent and the manager has also given an opportunity to 19-year-old goalkeeper, Cieran Slicker, who is involved in a Premier League game for the first time in his career.
It looks as if Guardiola has elected for the 4-4-3 formation he has used throughout this season, though there are a number of questions before kick-off.
Laporte and Ake can both play at left-back, so we’ll have to wait and see which of them lines up in that position, and it’s the same up front, where both Foden and Sterling have previously played in the middle of the attacking trident.
The rest of the team should be fairly straightforward, with Cancelo reverting to right-back and Stones at centre-half.
Rodrigo will sit deepest in midfield, behind captain De Bruyne and the in form Bernardo, whilst Mahrez will operate on the right of the front three.
Laporte’s recent performances would suggest he could resume his centre-back role, and the same can be said for Foden, who was hugely impressive on the left-wing against Liverpool.
As always, we’ll have to wait until we’re under way to find out exactly how we line up.
• City have won 5-0 in each of their past four league and cup matches against Burnley at the Etihad Stadium.
• Guardiola’s men have won the previous eight encounters home and away, scoring 30 goals and conceding once.
• We have taken 28 points from a possible 30 against Burnley since losing 1-0 at Turf Moor in March 2015.
• The Clarets have not won a league fixture away to City since 1963, though they did beat them at Maine Road in the Charity Shield in 1973.
• City have kept clean sheets in four successive home league games, winning 5-0 in the first three of them.
• We are the only side yet to concede a first-half goal in this season's Premier League.
• City have the division's best defensive record, conceding three goals, and we have faced fewer shots (42) and shots on target (10) than any other side.
• Fernandinho is one short of becoming the second Brazilian behind Willian to make 250 Premier League appearances.