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Strugglers aiming to avoid another nightmare start

Sean Dyche

Burnley host Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday, hoping to avoid a repeat of the shocking start they suffered when the teams last met at Turf Moor.

In the corresponding fixture in April 2010, City blew Burnley away with a devastating attacking display - featuring three goals in the first seven minutes - as they enhanced their hopes of a top-four finish and heightened Burnley's relegation fears.

Emmanuel Adebayor, Craig Bellamy and Carlos Tevez all found the net in a flying start, before Patrick Vieira and Adebayor's second gave City a 5-0 lead at the break.

The match finished 6-1 as Burnley slipped towards the drop, while City were eventually pipped to fourth by Tottenham.

Saturday's meeting sees Burnley scrapping against relegation again following their promotion last season, while City have raised their sights in the intervening five years and are now regular challengers for the Premier League title.

Sean Dyche's side have taken just two points from their last seven league outings and find themselves second-from-bottom in the table, three points adrift of safety.

They stunned reigning champions City in the reverse fixture back in December, coming from two down at half-time to rescue a 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium.

City, meanwhile, are five points behind league leaders Chelsea having played a game more, and can ill-afford any slip-ups as they enter the final stretch of the season.

Manuel Pellegrini's men have stuttered slightly in recent weeks, but one positive for City fans has been the performances of David Silva, who has scored four goals in his last six league appearances.

"I'd put him right in the top bracket of the best players I've played with in my career," Frank Lampard said of the Spaniard.

"From the moment I arrived and started training with him in pre-season I could better appreciate his weight of pass, movement, and his touch and he could play in any team in the world.

"It's been a pleasure to play and train alongside him or even just to watch him.

"The way he holds himself, too, impresses me because he's one of the most humble top players I've ever come across - that's something I love because it's refreshing to see."

Burnley's Matt Taylor continued his rehabilitation from an Achilles injury with a 70-minute appearance for the development squad on Wednesday, but is unlikely to feature, while Dyche has said that new signing Fredrik Ulvestad is not yet ready for Premier League football.

City, meanwhile, have a clean bill of health as they look to put pressure on Chelsea, who are not in action until Sunday when they welcome Southampton.



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