The Citizens played out a goalless draw with Liverpool prior to the international break, leaving three teams locked on 20 points after eight rounds of matches.
Not since 2011-12 has the Premier League entered its ninth matchday with three teams still unbeaten, suggesting that the title race may well go down to the wire for the first time in years.
Just two points separate Man City, who are top on goal difference, and Tottenham Hotspur in fifth, with the Anfield stalemate two weeks ago giving others a chance to close the gap.
The Citizens cruised over the line in 2017-18, racking up a century of points in what was a campaign like no other in the Premier League era, but two months into their title defence they are not quite having things all their own way.
City are the only member of the current top five not to have improved their points tally from this same stage last season, although at the same time they have still collected maximum points from six of their eight matches.
August's 1-1 draw away at Wolverhampton Wanderers can be considered two points dropped on the face of it, while the bland draw at Anfield also comes with a tinge of disappointment as Riyad Mahrez missed a late penalty.
Despite blowing the chance to end their long-running Anfield hoodoo, City still entered the international break sitting top of the pile thanks to that superior goal difference over Liverpool and Chelsea - all this and there is still a sense that they have not quite hit top gear just yet.
That will be a big worry for the chasing pack, as City have threatened to flex their muscles over the past month or so by recording four successive wins in all competitions before the Liverpool draw, scoring 12 goals and conceding just once in the process.
Pep Guardiola's men now have a favourable run of fixtures, facing just Tottenham of the division's elite clubs over the next month, offering them a chance to potentially open up a clear lead at the summit before the final international break of the year.
Recent form in Premier League: DWWWWD
Recent form (all competitions): LWWWWD
Burnley have slowly climbed the table following a poor start to the campaign that saw them collect just one point from the first 15 on offer.
There is no doubt that the Clarets' improved league form has coincided with their early exit from the Europa League, having struggled - as many predicted in the summer - to balance their European and domestic commitments.
Yet a month on from their most recent top-flight defeat, coming away at Wolves on September 16, Sean Dyche's men have propelled away from relegation trouble thanks to a couple of wins and a draw.
After beating Bournemouth 4-0 at Turf Moor, Burnley then managed to grind out a 2-1 win at Cardiff City in what was billed as an early-season relegation six-pointer, before playing out an uneventful 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town a fortnight ago.
Dyche declared himself pleased with his side's showing against the Terriers, and the result did at least mean another point on the board for the Clarets. Having taken three points from 10 matches stretching into last season, it is now seven from the last three.
Burnley also boast an impressive record in matches against the reigning English champions, beating the title winners in each of their last four Premier League campaigns - Manchester United in 2009-10, Man City in 2014-15, Leicester City in 2016-17 and Chelsea in 2017-18.
That is the best such win rate of any side across that period, and victory by any margin at the Etihad Stadium this weekend would be considered on a par with the shock 3-2 triumph at Stamford Bridge 14 months ago.
Dyche is the man who will look to mastermind this latest scalp, but not since May 2010 - when Harry Redknapp's Tottenham Hotspur beat City 1-0 - has an English manager claimed victory at the Etihad Stadium.
Of the last 37 attempts, in fact, English managers have collected a combined total of three points, losing on each of the last 18 occasions.
Recent form in Premier League: LLLWWD
Recent form (all competitions): LLWLWD
Man City are continuing to monitor the fitness of Kevin De Bruyne, who has stepped up his recovery from a knee injury that has ruled him out since the opening game of the season.
Ilkay Gundogan may well miss out, though, as he tweaked his hamstring against Hoffenheim last month, while Danilo picked up an injury on international duty - leaving the field in tears - and Fabian Delph is still not at peak fitness.
One man who is very much fit and firing is Raheem Sterling, who has been directly involved in 14 goals in his last 12 Premier League outings at the Etihad Stadium, scoring in all three games there this season.
Sam Vokes is in good form for the Clarets, meanwhile, netting in consecutive top-flight games for the first time since August 17 - three of those being headers from Johann Berg Gudmundsson crosses - which he added to with a consolation goal for Wales against Spain last week.
At the back, Stephen Ward recently underwent knee surgery and will be replaced by Charlie Taylor, and questions remain over the fitness of James Tarkowski after he pulled out of the England squad with a groin strain.
Elsewhere, Joe Hart is expected to start against the team he spent 12 years with before leaving on a permanent basis in the summer, aiming to build on a return of two clean sheets from eight league starts at his new club.
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy; D.Silva, Fernandinho, Bernardo; Sterling, Aguero, Sane
Burnley possible starting lineup:
Hart; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Gudmundsson, Westwood, Cork, Lennon; Barnes, Vokes
Head To Head
Man City have won 44 of their 98 meetings with Burnley in all competitions, with the Clarets claiming 29 wins down the years.
The Clarets earned a 1-1 draw when the sides last faced off at Turf Moor in February, as Gudmundsson netted late on to cancel out Danilo's first-half opener in a game best remembered for a missed Sterling sitter.
Dyche's men had lost for in a row against the Citizens prior to that most recent outing, and they are winless in this fixture since a 1-0 win in March 2015.
We say: Manchester City 2-0 Burnley
Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 33 Saturday 3pm matches, winning 29 of those and drawing four. Should they avoid this weekend they will have another Premier League record to their name, and all the stats point to a comfortable afternoon for the home side.