The streak is over, even though goals from Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne earned City three more points in the Premier League’s biggest domestic banker.
When Bernardo opened the scoring after only 12 minutes, City fans immediately broke into a loud chorus of ‘We Want Five’.
It seemed like a reasonable request.
Eventually, City won each of their last four home games 5–0 against Burnley, and scored similar scores against Norwich and Arsenal in their first two Premier League matches at the Etihad this season.
But it was not a repetition of the previous walkover, when Pep Guardiola’s team enjoyed the short trip down the M66 to Sean Dyche’s team.
The Clarets would have made the return trip reflecting on the fact that they could have caused one of the season’s ups and downs if they had taken the four gilt-edge chances they had made – three of them while they were still Only one goal behind.
But Maxwell Cornett, Josh Brownhill, Chris Wood and substitute Ashley Barnes all failed to find a way to overtake Zack Stephens, making a rare start in the country with Ederson only off international duty.
The city’s radar was also faulty whenever they had a glimpse of the target, until De Bruyne drove the clinic out of the house twenty minutes ahead of time.
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His exaggerated relief was shared by City’s nearly 50,000 fans – and teammate Riyad Mahrez, who was to blame for some shocking omissions.
Burnley must have groaned to see Mahrez’s name on the City teamsheet, as he has been their main scourge during the Etihad’s reign of terror.
The Algerian midfielder scored seven times for City in five matches against Burnley – including a similar hat-trick last season – and also scored his first Premier League goal for Leicester seven years earlier against Clarets.
So it was no surprise when he was the first to try his luck, cutting from the left and testing Nick Pope with a fierce low drive.
And it was Mahrez who opened the move for City’s opening goal.
He swung a brilliant ball between the two defenders on the way to Bernado, who set up Phil Foden for a shot – and chased home the rebound when Pope made the first effort across the stretch.
Mahrez failed to show the same killer instinct with two away post volleys after splitting oblique balls from Nathan AK and Rodri.
His first attempt flew straight at Pope, and the second was a foul hit that almost ended as a back pass.
Burnley seemed to be encouraged by the fact that City failed to send the scoreboard into overdrive – and they should have leveled after Dwight McNeill sent Cornet through on goal.
Cornet has an impressive scoring record of his own against City – four Champions League goals for Lyon, just three appearances for Guardiola’s side before a £12.8million summer move to Turf Moor.
But his attempt to lift the ball over Stephen lacked the required height. It crashed against the body of the City keeper, and flew to safety, with the Burnley winger patting the ground in desperation.
Bronville missed a better chance for the Viziotes, screwing his shot from close range into the face of the goal – and you just knew Burnley would end up cursing those misses.
The city’s initial efforts to pay them were not very convincing.
An acrobatic cycle kick from Raheem Sterling was clearly chested by Nathan Collins, and City’s player had a tangled leg when De Bruyne offered him another shooting opportunity.
But it was Burnley who ended the first half on attack, with Emerick Laporte booked for an impassioned challenge on McNeil, and Wood appealed for a penalty after he and Stephen were hit by referee Martin Atkinson for the same ball. failed to impress.
The city was clearly complacent after their initial strike. But there was little more purpose after the break, with Bernardo firing narrowly with a curling effort.
Shots began to rain after that, although Burnley’s substitute Barnes wasted another excellent chance to equalize, shooting well at Stefan just moments after converting a tiring Cornet.
Guardiola tried to shake things up by taking out Sterling wide, with Foden taking over as a false nine.
But after that bright spell at the start of the second half, City let it get worse – which clearly suited their opponents.
There wasn’t much finesse about the second City goal when it finally reached 70 minutes.
De Bruyne’s cross was blocked by Eric Peters, and as Mahrez and Ashley Westwood fell while lounging for a loose ball, the City captain reacted quickly and drilled it into the far corner.
This calmed City’s nerves, though Wood had time to squander another great opportunity at the other end. The impressive Collins fired over the bar from barely six yards after leading a free kick in his path.
Despite those omissions, Burnley’s goal difference did not make up for the usual damage done by City.
But it could have been so much better for the fighters of the diche…
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