Wednesday night’s 3-1 Premier League victory against Burnley at the Etihad Stadium by Manchester City saw them extend their winning streak to eight games across all competitions.
On his 24th birthday, Julian Alvarez scored twice in the first half to put the Citizens ahead, and less than 30 seconds after the break, Rodri added a third.
On Vincent Kompany’s return to his old haunt, Ameen Al-Dakhil gave the visiting Burnley supporters something to shout about with a consoling goal in second-half stoppage time. However, Pep Guardiola’s team prevailed handily.
With their win, Manchester City moved back up to second place, five points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool, who have played one more game than Arsenal, who defeated Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.
After losing 15 of their 21 Premier League games so far this season, Burnley is now seven points outside of safety in 19th place in the standings. This is after Luton Town’s 4-0 victory against Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday.
The biggest team news before kickoff came from the home club: Erling Haaland made a welcome comeback to the matchday squad after a 10-game absence due to a foot injury, while Kevin De Bruyne received his first start since the rematch at Turf Moor back in August of last year.
Ederson, Rico Lewis, John Stones, Matheus Nunes, and Jeremy Doku were all called back to the City team that started last Friday’s 1-0 FA Cup victory over Tottenham Hotspur. Burnley manager Kompany made just one change to the team that drew 1-1 with Luton 19 days prior, starting Sander Berge in midfield instead of Josh Cullen.
It was not unexpected that Manchester City controlled the first few minutes of play. Alvarez’s header from close range gave them the lead after only 16 minutes.
Nunes broke down the right channel, and while the first defender stopped his first effort at a cross, he soon recovered control and dinked a superbly weighted left-footed pass into the six-yard box for Alvarez to put City ahead.
After only four minutes, De Bruyne’s quick thinking allowed City to score their second goal. Rolling a free kick from the outside of the box into Alvarez’s path, he skillfully finished with his right foot into the bottom-left corner, catching Burnley off guard.
With these two goals, Alvarez has now scored 20 goals in 24 home starts across all competitions since joining the Citizens. These are his 14th and 15th goals of the season.
Summertime acquisition In the first thirty minutes, Nunes looked impressive. He ran down both channels with great speed, and his strong shot from a tight ankle hurt James Trafford’s hands, allowing him to swat the ball away from Burnley’s goal.
After taking the lead twice in the first half, Manchester City was fired up and showed that they wanted a third as they sprayed the ball all over the field, looking dangerous every time they got into the final third.
With over 75% of the play, Burnley had little chance to make an impression on a dominant City team. However, their best chance of the half came two minutes before halftime, when Lyle Foster cut inside from the left and curled a shot just wide of the far post.
Man City didn’t show any signs of slowing down, as they scored their third goal of the game only 26 seconds into the second half. Rodri’s incredible first-time shot from the outside of the box found the bottom corner following Phil Foden’s perfect ball.
Zeki Amdouni, who had a one-on-one with Ederson, ran through and squandered a fantastic chance to pull one back for Burnley, whose only genuine danger came from the counterattack, on the fifty-two-minute mark.
Haaland’s name is chanted throughout the Etihad as he replaces De Bruyne on the pitch twenty minutes from time. However, the Norwegian’s smile quickly turned to a frown when Doku missed his explosive central run towards the box and instead played a loose ball towards Alvarez.
After some handbags in the City penalty box, Connor Roberts clipped the heels of Stones, much to the annoyance of Ederson and Lewis. This caused a brief escalation in tempers. At the other end, Haaland missed a close-range header with his first meaningful opportunity since entering the game.
Manchester City appeared to be headed for victory, but Burnley had other ideas. In the third minute of stoppage time, David Datro Fofana, a January addition who was on loan from Chelsea, scored a goal. He did so by dribbling past Josko Gvardiol on the right flank and then sending a low cross that Al-Dakhil finished off in the bottom corner.
Nevertheless, the Citizens overcame Burnley with a polished display, and Guardiola’s team will now focus on Monday’s Premier League encounter at Brentford. The Clarets’ next game is on Saturday at Turf Moor against Fulham.