Pep Guardiola marvelled at his team’s performance, saying they scored five “beautiful, beautiful goals” against Burnley.
City had been briefly knocked off the summit after Ross Barkley snatched Chelsea a draw at home to Manchester United in Saturday’s early kick off, but were in no mood to stay second-best for long. And they returned to the summit in emphatic fashion.
Supreme marksman, Sergio Agüero got the ball rolling when he turned David Silva’s ball home in the 17th minute before two quick fire goals ten minutes into the second half saw the game swiftly one beyond Burnley.
Those strikes from Bernardo Silva and Fernandinho put the Citizens in cruise control, albeit the former’s goal was fortunate to stand as the ball seemed to dirt beyond the byline before David Silva again turned provider.
This came after ex-City, and arguably City’s best ever goalkeeper Joe Hart thwarted his former teammates on numerous occasions.
Hart was making his first appearance at the Etihad Stadium having finally cut his 12-year stay with the club short in the summer. After loan spells at Torino and West Ham, the ex-England shot-stopper was eager to prove a point to Guardiola.
Hart, a huge fan favourite during his time at Man City, made sterling first-half stops to deny Agüero but was powerless to stop the Argentine finishing a brilliant, flowing passing move to record his seventh goal in as many games against the Clarets. Hart’s afternoon was to get a lot worse.
As afore mentioned, there was major controversy about City’s second goal.
When Leroy Sane went down in the area after being tugged back by Jack Cork, referee Jon Moss waved play on and the traveling Clarets’ defence stood statuesque, thus allowing David Silva to ghost in and retrieve the ball before it ran out of play and cross for his namesake, Bernardo to sweep home.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche and his players continued to protest as the game resumed and it clearly played on their minds as their usual defensive organisation was nowhere to be seen when, mere seconds later, a corner was cleared only as far as Fernandinho on the edge of the box, the Brazilian duly accepting the opportunity to fire the ball beautifully into the back of the net.
From then on, the game as a contest ceased to exist and there were more goals to come as Leroy Sané converted a Benjamin Mendy cross after Fernandinho went from finisher to provider and teed up Riyad Mahrez to curl home a superbly placed shot into the corner of the net.
And there was even more reason for the home fans to celebrate when star man Kevin De Bruyne made his first Etihad appearance for nearly two months late on.
City are now unbeaten in their past 34 Premier League games kicking off at 3pm on a Saturday – the longest such run in the competition (W30 D4).
Next up for City, it’s a troublesome trip to Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League, a side who beat the Cityzens in the final group game of last season’s competition.
Perhaps this is the reason why Pep decided to rest Raheem Sterling this afternoon. The winger’s exclusion from the starting eleven shocked many fans, especially considering his delightful brace in Betis against Spain on Monday night.
That being said, given the scoreline, Guardiola’s decision cannot be argued against and the England international, along with his superb colleagues, will be eager to avenge last season’s defeat on Tuesday night.
Man Of The Match – Ryad Mahrez
After his astonishing penalty miss at Anfield before the international break, fans and pundits were surprised to see Mahrez get the nod over Raheem Sterling, but the Algerian showed his best side against Burnley.
Not only did he whip a sensational strike inside Joe Hart’s far post for City’s fourth goal of the afternoon, Mahrez had more of the ball than any other player with 96 touches.
Being the most expensive player in the club’s history must weigh heavily, but it’s safe to say that Mahrez has found his groove in this team of champions.