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PL Preview: Burnley v. Manchester City

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  • Man City’s lead atop the PL table now at 15 points
  • Burnley winless in last eight games
  • David Silva an injury doubt for City

Manchester City head to Burnley on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) with Pep Guardiola‘s men aiming to survive any scares from their trip to Turf Moor.

City can move 18 points clear of second-place Manchester United on Saturday as they play in the early game, but the Clarets always put up a tough fight at home, even if their recent form has seen them lose four and draw four of their last eight games.

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In team news Burnley will be without Steven Defour for the rest of the season after his knee injury was more serious than first feared, while James Tarkowski remains out with a groin problem.

Man City will check in on David Silva who came off against West Brom on Wednesday and didn’t train on Thursday, while Leroy Sane remains out alongside Fabian Delph, Gabriel Jesus and Benjamin Mendy.

What they’re saying…

Dyche on Man City’s youth policy: “I remember Pep himself when he was at Barcelona talking about why buy players when you can play young players, but even he now at Man City they’re buying players, there are not many young players coming through the academy that they’re playing. They’re buying players fit for task, or virtually fit for task – that’s the demands of the Premier League.”

Guardiola reacts to Mourinho saying title race is over: “There are 13 games, 39 points to play for, we are 15 ahead. It’s not over. We have amazingly tough games left to play. For example, tomorrow. We cannot deny and everyone knows here in England how complicated it is playing at Burnley. We have to go to Stoke City, Goodison Park. We have Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea to play. Definitely it is not over.”

Prediction

Despite a few injury issues, you’d expect City to ease to victory against an out-of-form Burnley side. This won’t be easy but City will steep on the accelerator late on. 3-0 to City.

Rochdale 2-2 Tottenham: Davies stuns Spurs late

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A valiant effort from a League One side has rewarded the minnows with a replay set to be played at Wembley Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur looked on its way towards the FA Cup sixth round on Sunday, but a late finish by Steven Davies gave Rochdale a 2-2 draw with the Premier League club at the Spotland Stadium.

[ MORE: Willian stars as Chelsea routs Hull in FA Cup ]

Harry Kane — who scored his 34th goal on the season in all competitions — converted from the penalty spot in the 88th minute, however, Davies had the final say deep into stoppage time to send the two sides towards a replay.

Ian Henderson’s finish in the 45th minute gave Rochdale a gift at the conclusion of the first stanza, after the hosts capitalized on a Spurs giveaway near midfield.

Meanwhile, Tottenham managed to level the match at 1-1 on the hour mark when Lucas Moura calmly slotted his close-range shot past goalkeeper Josh Lillis after a timely through ball from Moussa Sissoko picked out the former PSG man.

The visitors began pressing on in the second half, with Mauricio Pochettino‘s side having trailed at the halftime break.

The two sides will now meet on either Feb. 27 or 28 in the reverse fixture to decide which team advances. The winner will either meet Sheffield Wednesday or Swansea City in the quarterfinals.

Scholes: Pogba didn’t earn Man United spot in 2012 before Juve stint

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Paul Pogba‘s young career has been bright, but a former Manchester United legend suggests that there was a time where the Frenchman struggled to find his way at Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Man United draws Brighton, Chelsea gets Leicester in FA Cup quarters

The 24-year-old Pogba is now in his second stint with the Red Devils, after spending four seasons in Italy with giants Juventus.

Former United midfielder Paul Scholes says though that back in 2012 — prior to Pogba’s move to Juve — that the physical player wasn’t pleased with the fact that he wasn’t getting regular minutes with the first team.

“Ferguson wanted me initially to come back and coach the reserve team with Warren Joyce,” he told BT Sport. “I said in September I’d come back. So I started helping Joycey, and I was training with the reserves.

“I was training every day with the likes of Pogba, Lingard, all these types of players. They were a really good side and I was really enjoying training. I was getting fit, I felt great, and it got to December time and the team was struggling a bit.

“They had a load of injuries, no central midfield players were fit. They ended up playing Phil Jones and Fabio da Silva in central midfield in a game against Blackburn at Old Trafford.

“Funnily enough that was the end of Pogba, because he thought he should have been playing instead of them. But he wasn’t doing well enough.”

Scholes, who had retired briefly in 2011, came back after just six months for the Red Devils, and ended up playing a year-and-a-half more following the decision to end his playing career.

It is widely believed that Pogba’s decision to head to Juventus was largely due to the impact of Scholes in the United squad.

Video: Rochdale puts Tottenham on upset alert at the half

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It’s been a tremendous season for Ian Henderson, particularly in the FA Cup, and now he and his side are one half away from upsetting one of the Premier League giants.

Henderson’s finish on the brink of halftime has put League One side Rochdale up 1-0 against Tottenham Hotspur, as the minnows aim to become the first non-PL side to advance to the quarterfinals in this season’s tournament.

A sloppy giveaway from Spurs near midfield created the attack for the hosts, and allowed Rochdale to capitalize on one of its few attacks during the opening stanza.

Benfica routs Boavista 4-0 to take lead in Portugal

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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Benfica routed Boavista 4-0 to move ahead of FC Porto at the top of the Portuguese league on Saturday.

Benfica is one point in front of Porto, which has two games to play.

[ MORE: Man United gets Brighton in FA Cup quarters, Chelsea draws Leicester ]

Ruben Dias opened the scoring for Benfica in the 18th minute when he headed in a pass from Jardel.

Jardel added a goal just before halftime. Boavista’s Nuno Henrique also scored an own goal before Raul Jimenez polished off the victory in the 90th.

Jonas had a penalty saved by Boavista goalkeeper Vagner with the score 0-0.

Porto hosts Rio Ave on Sunday. Sporting Lisbon is three points behind Benfica before visiting Tondela on Monday.