Burnley can look to recent results for inspiration against Man City

On paper, Burnley stand little chance against Manchester City in the Premier League on Saturday.

But the beauty of football is that it is not played on paper and, for the vast difference in the balance sheets of these two clubs and the huge gulf in quality in the respective squads available to the two managers, it will be 11 men against 11.

For the Clarets, abysmal in a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of West Brom on Monday, this is something of a freebie, with few backing them to get a result. They are 9/1 with the bookies.

But Burnley beat Manchester City the last time they met in the Premier League, less than two years ago. It stands to reason that if that result can happen once, then it can happen again.

City are vulnerable, with their captain Vincent Kompany injured once more and Sergio Aguero's role unclear under Pep Guardiola. The Argentine struggling for consistency amid swirling transfer rumors. The Clarets have already beaten Liverpool at home this season, as well as holding Manchester United to a 0-0 draw away, and they have a habit of raising their game for the big occasion.

That is certainly what happened when Sean Dyche's side hosted City in the Premier League in March 2015. Relegation was already looking a certainty for Burnley, but after a shock 1-0 home win against City their chances suddenly looked a lot brighter -- although they did ultimately go down.

Just four of the team likely to play on Saturday started that match, with the hero of the day George Boyd expected to be on the bench this weekend. Dyche will certainly be reminding his players of that performance though, even if City will surely win if they perform anywhere near their best level.

The Clarets rode their luck on that day, with former City youth product Ben Mee fortunate not to give away a penalty for a clumsy late foul on Pablo Zabaleta inside the box, but their whole-hearted and determined display deserved to beat the then-champions.

Boyd's stunning winner was more than good enough to win any game, the winger lashing home a beautiful low volley from the edge of the penalty area just after the hour-mark. It is the clear highlight of his time at the club so far and he is overdue another memorable moment of inspiration.

Burnley also claimed a point from their trip to the Etihad Stadium that season, coming from 2-0 down to earn a draw, with Boyd again on the scoresheet and Ashley Barnes scoring the equaliser, but over the years they have been on the end of some very heavy defeats in this fixture too.

There was a time around the turn of the century when it felt like City thrashed Burnley every time they played each other. In 1999, City won this game 6-0 in the league and 5-0 in the League Cup five months later. In the 2001/02 season there were 4-2 and 5-1 league defeats to City before, thankfully, they were promoted and the clubs did not meet again for eight years.

Naturally, City hammered Burnley 6-1 at Turf Moor on their next visit in April 2010, racing into a three-goal lead in the first seven minutes against Brian Laws' hapless side. Only unplayable weather conditions, with driving wind and heavy rain lashing down in the second half, prevented the visitors from being able to rack up a double-figure scoreline, as they found the net at will.

One Burnley player, Kevin McDonald, famously went to the pub to meet his family during the second half after being made a substitute scapegoat by Laws at the interval and few could have blamed him for walking out as the team was 5-0 down at the time.

Dyche will be determined to avoid an embarrassment like that and most Clarets supporters would likely take a 0-0 draw if it was offered to them now. The team has struggled to defend against searing pace all season and, in the form of Aguero and Raheem Sterling, City have two of the fastest forwards in the Premier League.

Under Dyche's leadership Burnley have usually bounced back from bad performances and their showing at the Hawthorns was arguably the worst in the 45-year-old's four years in charge.

It would be typical of the Clarets to be mauled by a mediocre team and then shock an excellent one just a few days later, in the glare of the world's media. But the odds are against them.