PREVIEW: Could the apprentice dismiss his old master?

Manchester City will host Burnley in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup this evening, meaning arguably City’s greatest captain comes home! Burnley manager Vincent Kompany returns to the Etihad Stadium, where he made a name for himself as one of the best defenders in Premier League history; strong in the tackle, dominant in the air, and intelligent in his reading of the game – a leader in every sense of the word. The Belgian appears to have translated his leadership abilities from the pitch to the dugout; in only his second managerial job, the Belgian’s side sit comfortably 1st in the Championship – on course to achieve one of the most dominant seasons of all time.

Burnley have already taken one Premier League scalp this season, downing a sorry Bournemouth 4-2, with prolific wide-men Anass Zaroury and Benson Manuel doing the damage. They haven’t made life easy for themselves in the two rounds since; it took a replay to defeat League 1 Ipswich Town, and then a late Connor Roberts strike was just enough to knockout Fleetwood Town.

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Although they are the Championship’s top scorers so far this term; Nathan Tella and Co will have to be on top form to beat Stefan Ortega. City’s ‘cup-keeper’ has been relatively untroubled in his 3 FA Cup matches so far, saving all 4 attempts on his goal. Despite starting in all the 3 FA Cup matches for his club, Ortega shared halves with nominal number one Ederson in the 5th round fixture against Bristol City- leading some to believe that the Brazilian may take over goalkeeping duties in the quarter final.

League structure may have City and Burnley a league apart, but in truth, they are much closer in ability than that. The Clarets will without doubt be in the Premier League next season, and could see this game as an early audition to the league. Playing a similar possession-based, slow build up style of football to that of his former manager, it will be interesting to see how Kompany’s team will adapt to higher quality opposition. Pep Guardiola will urge his team not to step off the gas, in order to avoid a potential shock- which he knows is all too possible.