City’s unbeaten Premier League start continued with a superb 5-0 win over Burnley at the Etihad. Sergio Aguero opened the scoring in the first-half before further strikes from Bernardo, Fernandinho Riyad Mahrez and Leroy Sane ensured the champions’ 100% home record remained intact.
What happened? After rousing receptions at either end of the Etihad for Joe Hart, the game kicked off and both sides had chances to break the deadlock in the opening minutes. Burnley threatened first with San Vokes heading Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s free-kick over the bar and moments later a fine Riyad Mahrez cross left Sergio Aguero with just Hart to beat but the Argentine headed well wide. The same pair combined again on 15 with Mahrez floating another delightful cross in from the right only for Aguero to not quite connect as he’d wished, and Hart pushed the ball clear. The Clarets didn’t heed the warning and two minutes later, Aguero swept City in front. David Silva and Leroy Sane combined well on the right and it was Silva who crossed low to Aguero who made no mistake from six yards. The champions were stroking the ball around with aplomb and the visitors’ tactic of flooding the central defensive area left plenty of space for Sane and Mahrez to exploit. In first half added time, the Blues should have doubled the lead when Bernardo’s cross found the head of Silva and though Hart parried the ball to his left, Aguero will feel he should have done better as he fired wide from a tight angle. The pattern of play continued after the break with City dominating but Burnley handing on – until an explosive double strike in two minutes put the hosts out of sight just before the hour-mark. The first (and City’s second of the afternoon) had the Burnley players up in arms after a couple of borderline refereeing decisions caused chaos in the visitors’ defence. First of all, Sane seemed to be scythed down in the box, but as Jonathan Moss waved appeals away, the ball looked certain to roll out of play – David Silva didn’t wait to find out fired in a cross that Bernardo swept into the top left-hand corner. City could sniff blood and just before the hour, the game was effectively over as a contest as a scramble in the Clarets box saw the ball to Fernandinho who stroked home a beautiful rising shot with 58 minutes played. Kevin De Bruyne was given a standing ovation as he returned a two-month absence on the hour as the Blues comfortably played out the time that remained, but not before a stunning fourth goal from Mahrez and a close-range finish from Sane wrapped up proceedings.
Star man: Riyad Mahrez Classy display by the Algerian
What it means… City remain top of the Premier League and are still unbeaten with nine games played. Chelsea dropped points in the 2-2 draw with Manchester United, but Liverpool can draw level on points if they win their early evening clash with Huddersfield Town.
What’s next? City return to Champions League action on Tuesday with a trip to Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk in the first of back-to-back games against our Group F opponents. Then it’s off to Wembley with a game against Tottenham Hotspur a week on Monday.
Manchester City (5): Ederson, Stones, Kompany, Laporte, Mendy, Fernandinho, David Silva (Foden 75’), Bernardo (De Bruyne 58’), Mahrez, Agüero (Gabriel Jesus 66’), Sané.