Manchester City prolonged Liverpool’s title coronation until Thursday at the very earliest with a thumping 5-0 victory over Burnley at the Etihad Stadium on Monday evening.
City took advantage of the Clarets’ first lapse in concentration 27 minutes in as an unmarked Phil Foden lashed a low effort into the bottom corner following a well worked short corner.
Riyad Mahrez put the game beyond Burnley’s reach with two goals in the space of six minutes on the stroke of half time. The Algerian latched onto Fernandinho’s superb cross field pass, turned Charlie Taylor inside out and fired home, before netting from the penalty spot following Ben Mee’s foul on Sergio Aguero.
City were just as ruthless in the second half, with David Silva and Foden both tucking home from close range to secure an emphatic victory.
Unfortunately, the match was somewhat marred by an offensive banner flown above the Etihad Stadium shortly after kick-off.
Key Talking Point
While many other top flight sides have put in sluggish, laboured performances since the Premier League resumed, City had looked slick their 3-0 victory over Arsenal, and followed this up with a similarly polished display on Monday evening.
Despite making eight changes to side that beat Arsenal, including switching their entire back four, City were well-oiled and sharp.
Their build up play was patient and intricate, they moved the ball around with a real pace and intensity, and made this usually stubborn Burnley side look very weak and fragile. Pep Guardiola’s side have taken the three-month break completely in their stride.
Amazingly, this is the 17th time City have scored five or more goals in a Premier League games since Guardiola became manager.
Starting XI: Ederson (7); Cancelo (7), Fernandinho (7), Otamendi (7), Zinchenko (8); Rodri (8) Bernardo Silva (8), Silva (8); Mahrez (8), Foden (9), Aguero (6)
Substitutes: Jesus (7), de Bruyne (7), Laporte (6), Sane (6)
The 20-year-old turned in a performance of real star quality. While his goals will grab the headlines – the first a sweetly struck left-footed low drive, the second one demonstrating his natural goalscoring instinct – it was his intelligence, movement and cute touches that particularly caught the eye.
Foden drifted into the little pockets of space between the Burnley back four and midfield, and his deftly disguised pass to send Bernardo Silva away for was simply sublime.
Key Talking Point
While City had the luxury of making eight changes, Burnley could only name seven substitutes – including two goalkeepers. Sean Dyche’s side are really stretched, and it showed.
They desperately missed the physical presence of Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. The Clarets failed to register a shot on target, with Jay Rodriguez and Matej Vydra cutting isolated figures up front.
Although the pair were left to feed off scraps, they rarely won an aerial duel, and Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi enjoyed a relatively comfortable night.
Starting XI: Pope (5); Lowten (5), Tarkowski (4), Mee (4), Taylor (4); Brownhill (6), Westwood (5) Cork (5), McNeil (5); Rodriguez (4)), Vydra (4)
Substitutes: Pieters (4), Thompson (4)
Next up for Manchester City is a trip to Chelsea on Thursday. Should Liverpool beat Crystal Palace on Wednesday, City will need to take all three points at Stamford Bridge to deny the Reds the title.
Burnley are also back in action on Thursday, as they welcome relegation-threatened Watford to Turf Moore.