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Ruben Dias absent, Josko Gvardiol debut – Predicted XI: Burnley vs Manchester City (Premier League)



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Manchester City commence their 2023/24 Premier League campaign with an away trip to Turf Moor, taking on Vincent Kompany’s newly-promoted Burnley.

75 days since their defeat to Brentford on the final day of the last English top-flight campaign, Manchester City find themselves back in Premier League action, with former captain Kompany welcoming the champions to East Lancashire.

It was a historic campaign for the reigning Premier League champions last season, but the blues must now find the necessary motivation to go again, following their meteoric achievement in completing a historic treble.

Manchester City begun their season last Sunday evening with an unsuccessful Community Shield encounter against Arsenal, losing 4-1 on penalties, following a 1-1 draw inside over 100 minutes of normal time action.

However, positives certainly emerged, as new signing Mateo Kovacic – who joined the club from Chelsea earlier this summer – showcased his talents for the first time competitively in a Manchester City shirt, in an encouraging debut despite the disappointing result.

Kovacic is not the only new name in the squad this summer, as fellow Croatia international Josko Gvardiol was announced on Saturday morning, as the defender arrived from RB Leipzig in a deal understood to be in the region of £78 million.

The result on Sunday will be long gone in the minds of the Manchester City players and of course Pep Guardiola, who will be eager to move on and kickstart his attempts to somehow eclipse last season’s glory.

Burnley will be still riding the high of ‘destroying’ the Championship, as per the words of manager Pep Guardiola, as the Clarets look to start their campaign off with an upset over the reigning Champions.

Both managers have emphasised their admiration for their counterparts in midweek, with Pep Guardiola heaping praise on his former defender, with the reception more than reciprocated by Vincent Kompany.

However, the sentiment will surely be left behind on Friday night, as both managers look to overcome their opponent and earn a crucial three points to begin their long campaigns. With that being said, here is the side we predict will be tasked with bringing the points back to Manchester!

Predicted XI

Despite his admission on Sunday against Arsenal, Ederson will return to the fray and start in goal for the blues, as per standard procedure in the Premier League for Manchester City.

Manuel Akanji started on the left-side of defence against Arsenal, but we expect him to keep his place and start on the right on Friday night.

John Stones is set to start for Manchester City, with the Englishman looking to partner Josko Gvardiol at the back – who comes in for the reportedly absent Ruben Dias, and earn his full debut for the club just days after signing on the dotted line.

Nathan Ake will look to bounce back from his omission last weekend, which was put down to a lack of match fitness, with the Dutchman having trained with the rest of his Manchester City teammates throughout the week.

Rodrigo will start in defensive midfield for the blues.

After being carefully rested against Arsenal, we predict Kevin De Bruyne to start in front of Rodrigo, alongside new recruit Mateo Kovacic, completing a midfield three that is likely to be integral to anything good that City create this week.

Bernardo Silva was given a start in midfield in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne on Sunday evening, but we predict the Portugal international to start out wide for this one, as Manchester City continue their hunt for a Riyad Mahrez replacement this summer.

Erling Haaland looks to kickstart his goal tally for another campaign, following a record-breaking debut season in England last year, with the Norwegian a sure presence up front for Manchester City.

Nobody had a summer like Jack Grealish, and we expect him to complete the Manchester City attack and the starting line-up for the blues.

Predicted XI: Ederson; Akanji, Stones, Gvardiol, Ake; Rodrigo, De Bruyne, Kovacic; Bernardo, Haaland, Grealish.

Substitutes: Ortega, Cancelo, Walker, Laporte, Lewis, Phillips, Foden, Palmer, Alvarez.