City just carry on scoring

Premier League
Manchester City 3 Burnley 0

IT won't be the prettiest game played by Manchester City under Pep Guardiola, but they still came away with three points.

City, now five points ahead of Manchester United at the top of the Premier League, have scored 16 goals in their last four league games.

A penalty - and a contentious one at that - from Sergio Aguero and second-half goals from Nicolas Otamendi and Leroy Sane gave the home side the win.

Aguero equalled Eric Brook's record 177 goals for the club, while another record was set, too, with City equalling their best ever 11 straight victories in all competitions.

Burnley are a well-drilled machine under their impressive manager Sean Dyche and came to the Etihad determined to give their opponents a game.

There was little sitting back and soaking up the pressure - instead, the Clarets went for it, just as they did at Chelsea, where they won on the opening day of the season, and at Anfield, where they held Liverpool to a draw.

In fact, the visitors had the best chance of the first quarter-of-an-hour when Chris Wood was put through by Scott Arfield.

The New Zealander, signed from Leeds United in August, latched on to the ball and fired it, but City goalkeeper Ederson was quickest to react.

Wood, however, injured himself in the process and was replaced by Ashley Barnes, leaving Burnley without an out-and-out striker.

Their goalkeeper, Nick Pope, has been in imperious form since coming into replace injured number one Tom Heaton, and he pulled of a string of stunning saves in the opening 45 minutes.

The first came when captain David Silva played a brilliant ball on the inside to Bernardo Silva, whose shot was saved by Pope's legs.

Burnley's excellent defensive structure and organisation in the first 25 minutes proved to be frustrating for City.

But they finally broke their duck in the 28th minute when, after saving wonderfully from Kevin De Bruyne, Pope was alleged to have brought down Bernardo Silva by referee Roger East.

Television replays would suggest, however, that the Portuguese tumbled more than a little theatrically.

Aguero stepped up to take the resulting penalty and sent Pope the wrong way.

The mercurial Argentinian so nearly broke the club's goalscoring record seven minutes later when he turned Burnley captain - and City youth product - Ben Mee inside out and launched a curling effort, which went just wide.

A rare mistake at the other end by De Bruyne let in Arfield, but the Canadian's shot took a deflection and went wide of City goalkeeper Ederson's post.

There was still time for Pope to deny City again, this time saving at the feet of De Bruyne after Aguero had put him through.

Burnley, who have beaten City just once in the last 17 meetings between the two clubs, started the second-half impressively, toying with the home side and forcing them to retreat into their own area.

But it didn't last long and City soon scored their second.

Sane whipped in the corner and Otamendi rose above the Burnley defence to head it past Pope and James Tarkowski, who was standing on the goal line.

And it was game over in the 77th minute when a sweeping move over the halfway line saw De Bruyne turn and play in Sane, who raced on goal and shot the ball low cross Pope and into the back of the net.

City really should have added a fourth as the clock ticked down when substitute Gabriel Jesus, who had come on for Aguero, raced on to a loose ball and looked to chip Pope, but the Burnley keeper blocked the Brazilian's shot.

Guardiola was impressed with his team, but warned against them winning every one of their games by many goals.

He said: "If people come here thinking in 20 minutes we will win 5-0, that is not going to happen. "We were stable and we are where we need to be.

"In the second half, we played so good in terms of control.

"Last season at 1-0, maybe we would be more nervous with less control, but at this moment, we donít have that feeling.

"Itís three points and we are happy."

Dyche disputed any claims that City's penalty changed the game.

He said: "They are a fine side anyway, but I don't know how the referee saw it because it was minimal contact.

"It's frustrating - if I kicked my kid in the garden, he wouldn't have fallen like that.

"I understand gamesmanship, but it is stretching it a little.

"There has to be some honour in the game, but it has gone out of the window."

Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Stones, Delph; Fernandinho (Toure, 77), De Bruyne (Gundogan, 79), B Silva, D Silva, Sane; Aguero (Jesus, 75).
Substitutes not used: Bravo, Danilo, Mangala and Sterling.

Burnley: Pope; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Ward; Brady, Defour (Westwood, 83), Arfield, Cork; Hendrick (Gudmundsson, 70); Wood (Barnes, 19).
Substitutes not used: Lindegaard, Bardsley, Long and Taylor.

Site developed & maintained by
© 2017 Jewish Telegraph