Manchester City opened up a two-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a convincing win over Burnley that maintained their 100% home record this season.
Pep Guardiola’s side were briefly knocked off the summit by Chelsea’s draw with Manchester United earlier on Saturday, but will remain top barring a huge Liverpool win at Huddersfield in the 17:30 BST kick-off.
City’s procession towards the three points was initially held up by Clarets keeper Joe Hart, making his first return to Etihad Stadium after ending his 12-year stay in the summer.
Hart, a huge crowd favourite during his spell at the club, made superb first-half stops to deny Sergio Aguero and David Silva, but was powerless to stop Aguero firing home as the duo combined to round off a neat passing move.
Hart’s afternoon was soon to get a lot worse. Burnley barely threatened before half-time but their hopes were only truly extinguished when City added two more goals in two minutes shortly before the hour mark.
There was some controversy about City’s second goal, which came after Leroy Sane went down in the area under a challenge by Jack Cork.
Referee Jon Moss waved play on but the Burnley defence stopped, allowing Silva to retrieve the ball before it ran out of play, and cross for Bernardo Silva to sweep his shot home.
Burnley’s manager Sean Dyche and his players continued to protest as the game resumed, although it was unclear whether they felt the game had been stopped, or that the ball had gone behind before David Silva reached it.
It clearly played on the Clarets’ minds, however, and their usual defensive organisation was nowhere to be seen when, seconds later, a corner was cleared as far as Fernandinho on the edge of the area and he found a sublime finish.
From that point, the game was over as a contest, although the City fans still had more reasons to celebrate, firstly when a fit-again Kevin de Bruyne appeared off the bench for his first appearance since the opening weekend of the season.
There were more goals to come too as Fernandinho teed up Riyad Mahrez to curl home a superb fourth goal late on, and Sane converted a Benjamin Mendy cross.
Hart makes unhappy return
Hart had to contend with Cardiff fans chanting “England’s number four” at him during Burnley’s last away game but got a much warmer reception on his return to his former home.
Even Guardiola, who loaned him out for two seasons before selling him last summer, wrote some affectionate words about the England international in his programme notes.
The 31-year-old, who won every major domestic honour during his time at City, was given a standing ovation by the home fans before the game, but the occasion will not be remembered for his fine saves to keep out Aguero’s acrobatic volley or Silva’s close-range header.
Hart would have been hoping for a clean sheet that became his trademark during his time at City – he managed 82 on home turf alone.
Instead, on his 180th appearance here, and his first as an opposition player, he conceded five goals at Etihad Stadium for the first time.
In fairness, there was little he could do about any of them, with Burnley’s usually solid defence looking particularly brittle in the second half, and collapsing completely by the end.
Man of the match – Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)
City’s villain last time out, when he missed a late penalty at Anfield, Mahrez was in irrepressible form throughout and, with 96 touches, saw more of the ball than any other player.
With John Stones covering for the injured Kyle Walker at right-back, Mahrez was City’s only attacking threat down that flank, but he was a menace throughout and capped a fine display with a brilliant goal.
‘Beautiful, beautiful goals’ – what they said
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, speaking to BBC Sport: “After we scored the second goal and third it was much easier. And of course it’s good news that Kevin de Bruyne is back.
“I don’t know if it was a penalty [for the second goal], but the referee didn’t decide that and you have to keep going. The finish from Bernardo was excellent. The goals were so outstanding – beautiful, beautiful goals – and three more points.”
Burnley manager Sean Dyche, speaking to BBC Sport: “It’s a red card for Vincent Kompany in the first minute [on Aaron Lennon]. It’s high, he’s blindsided him and Aaron has got two stitches.
“That’s a yellow when people are rolling around all over the place. And later on in the game Leroy Sane’s is a red as well [on Matt Lowton], a blatant kick-out nowhere near the ball.
“It’s frustrating. Sane goes down in a manner. Let’s try it [Dyche demonstrates with BBC Sport’s Steve Wilson]. You didn’t fall over – what a surprise.
“The referee goes to give a penalty and doesn’t, and in the meantime a player off the pitch walks back on to get a ball which looks out of play and they score at the end of it. It was bizarre.
“I said to the players earlier, ‘it’s really important, that second goal’. For the next five minutes we didn’t lose that aggrieved feeling and by then it’s 3-0. I was reasonably pleased at half-time but very quickly the game gets away from you.”
Five goals again for City – the stats
- Manchester 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).
- This was City’s 23rd Premier League victory by a margin of five goals or more – 10 of them have been under manager Pep Guardiola.
- This was just Burnley’s fourth Premier League defeat by five or more goals – half of them have been against City.
- There were only 115 seconds between City’s second and third goals.
- City’s David Silva provided more than one assist in a Premier League game for the 12th time. Only Ryan Giggs (17), Cesc Fabregas (17) and Thierry Henry (13) have done so in more.
- City’s Sergio Aguero has scored seven goals in seven games in all competitions against Burnley, including in all four appearances against them at the Etihad.
- Silva has assisted Sergio Aguero more than any other City player in all competitions (20).
- City’s Fernandinho scored and assisted in a Premier League game for only the second time, also doing so against West Brom in October 2017.
Manchester City travel to Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday (20:00 BST).
City face Tottenham at Wembley on Monday 29 October (20:00 GMT), while Burnley welcome Chelsea to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, 28 October (13:30 GMT).
Source BBC News