Burnley 1-4 Manchester City: Gabriel Jesus double, Rodri’s super strike and Riyad Mahrez goal keeps pressure on Liverpool in Premier League title race
- Gabriel Jesus had an early strike ruled out for offside but did manage to put his side ahead in the first-half
- The Brazilian forward then doubled Manchester City’s advantage as he knocked home a cross into the box
- Rodri then added to the win with a brilliant volley from the edge of the box that flew past Nick Pope
- Riyad Mahrez extended City’s lead from the edge of the box but Robbie Brady managed a consolation
This is the reason Liverpool have to keep winning, must remain relentlessly consistent, cannot afford to relax, take a weekend off. Manchester City. Let up, even for a game or two, and the race in on again. City may be missing the consistency of last season, but this remains a formidable football team.
They were comfortable here, at the type of ground on the type of night it is said makes champions. Can they do it at Burnley on a Tuesday in December? The answer was a resounding yes. There was talk of confusion before the game, a slightly delayed arrival at Turf Moor and then a power cut in the visitors dressing room, but nothing affected them once the preamble was over.
This was City at their most imperious, bossing the game, deciding its tempo, and assured of three points once Gabriel Jesus had scored his second of the night after 50 minutes.
Gabriel Jesus celebrates after putting Manchester City into the lead during the first-half of their clash against Burnley
David Silva celebrates with Jesus after the Brazilian forward managed to break the deadlock at Turf Moor
Jesus then doubled City’s advantage in the second-half as he managed to fire the ball in from a cross into the box
The 22-year-old showed his delight as he dashed off to celebrate the goal while chased by Silva and Raheem Sterling
Rodri then hit the third goal of the night as the midfielder smashed a brilliant volley in from the edge of the Burnley box
He ran over to the City supporters while blowing kisses to the crowd as he celebrated his second goal in a City shirt
Riyad Mahrez hit a fourth goal for City as he managed to trick Ben Mee on the edge of the area before firing the ball in
It was a lovely turn from the Brazilian who is required to step up with Sergio Aguero out injured, two perfectly taken goals the difference between the teams – before Rodri added a third after 68 minutes to begin the steady trickle of early leavers disappearing into the chilly night.
No sooner had the second-half began when Burnley were out of the contest. Sean Dyche will have told his players to keep it tight and see if they could poach an equaliser on the counter, but there was no answer to Jesus’ finishing.
It was a lovely cross from Bernardo Silva that made the goal, but Jesus met it on the volley from close range, his run taking him away from his markers, the conclusion reminiscent of an iconic goalscorer, such as Gerd Muller.
This was his 11th consecutive goal scored away from home in all competitions, so no-one could accuse him of seeking the easy life.
MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS AND LEAGUE TABLE
Burnley: Pope, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters, Lennon, Cork, Hendrick, Drinkwater, McNeil, Wood.
Subs: Lowton, Barnes, Brady, Gibson, Rodriguez, Hart, Vydra.
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Jose Angelino, Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus, Sterling.
Subs: Bravo, Stones, Mendy, Mahrez, Joao Cancelo, Foden, Garcia.
Goals: Jesus 24, 50, Rodri 68
Season at a glance
- Premier League
- Premier League
- League One
- League Two
- Scottish Premiership
- Scottish Div 1
- Scottish Div 2
- Scottish Div 3
- Ligue 1
- Serie A
- La Liga
Sean Dyche shakes hands with his opposite number Pep Guardiola ahead of the game on Tuesday night at Turf Moor
Jesus managed to put the ball in the net early on during the game but it was correctly ruled out for offside by the officials
The injured Sergio Aguero watches on from the stands at Turf Moor as his team tried to pick up three points without him
Jesus bent the ball past Nick Pope from the corner of the box to put Guardiola’s side a goal ahead on Tuesday evening
The Burnley goalkeeper could only watch the ball travel past him as he dived in vain while trying to save Jesus’s strike
The third was a cracker, too. A little episode of pinball around the Burnley penalty area ended with David Silva’s shot charged down.
Out it came to Rodri, who returned it first time from a good 20 yards with power that would see the ball bursting the net in a Roy of the Rovers cartoon. Liverpool are very much in pole position still. But this was the sort of display that will have Jurgen Klopp checking the rearview memory.
Those who believe Manchester City are not quite the force of last season may cite the 36th minute here as evidence of decline. That was how long it took Pep Guardiola’s side to give away a corner.
The significance? Well, Guardiola has identified set plays as the area in which Burnley are most dangerous. In particular, he is concerned about them from corners. So much so that in this fixture last season, a huge amount of City’s preparation was about how to avoid conceding corners. And it worked. Burnley didn’t get a corner all game, City won, and went on to collect the title. Had they drawn here, it would have gone to Liverpool.
There is no reason to believe the philosophy would have changed last night, yet this time City couldn’t hold out. In the 36th minute, Dwight McNeil whipped in a tricky one from deep and Kyle Walker had no choice but to send a glancing header behind. A corner. Gasp. Not that it came to much. A foul on goalkeeper Ederson and order was quickly restored, but even so. This was City living dangerously at a ground Guardiola regards as about as much fun as a trip to the dentist.
The match between City and Burnley was one of the first Premier League games to be broadcast on Amazon Prime Video
Raheem Sterling battles for the ball with Burnley striker Chris Wood as both sides look to take control of the game
Silva (centre) tracked by Burnley midfielder Danny Drinkwater (left) and forward Aaron Lennon (right) on Tuesday evening
At least you might get a blast of laughing gas there, though. Turf Moor by contrast is a humourless grind for visitors, dealing with a group of players expertly marshalled by Sean Dyche and playing to their strengths. In the circumstances, then, City did well, controlling the game and the early exchanges and deservedly ahead at half time.
A lovely goal it was, too – the tenth consecutive strike from Gabriel Jesus to be scored away from home. It began with a ferocious break from Kevin De Bruyne, as ever at the heart of all that was good about City, driving upfield with Aaron Lennon in hot pursuit.
De Bruyne showed just a little too much of the ball and in came Jack Cork, hard but fair, catching the Manchester City midfielder player, but not thwarting the move. On it went, Rodrigo, David Sliva, Raheem Sterling all involved, De Bruyne still down and stricken, attracting much derision from the locals.
The ball found its was finally to Jesus, slightly wide to the left but cutting inside with intent. He curled a beautiful shot across Nick Pope in the Burnley goal. It looked to be going wide but veered in like an obedient sheep dog, nestling in the far corner of the net.
De Bruyne stayed down as City celebrated, the players nearest showing concern. He rose gingerly and continued. Sore in the morning, no doubt, but it was worth it. He’s a very brave player.
Guardiola bellowed out instructions to his players as he looked to increase City’s lead during the first-half at Turf Moor
He did not have to wait long for Jesus to get onto the end of a cross and smash the ball into the top corner of Pope’s net
Jesus made a phone gesture as he celebrated his second goal of the night in front of the away fans at Turf Moor
And this was a brave first-half from City, taking the game to Burnley, matching their physicality, pressing them back, always looking for the way through.
Sterling nearly found it, Bernardo Silva, too. De Bruyne hit a lovely cross from the right which Sterling almost converted from close range, frustrated by the legs of the giant Pope.
Such is the speed of City’s counter attacking that Burnley were never safe even when producing their best goalscoring opportunity.
Just before half-time, Lennon’s cross was met by McNeil but his shot struck a Burnley player on its way to goal. The ball flew out and City were away, Sterling picking out Bernardo Silva whose shot was once again saved by Pope’s legs.
City had the ball in the net early, too, but this time VAR was not required to rule. It was a De Bruyne corner, kept well clear of the area and Burnley’s defenders, met on the volley by Rodrigo from 25 yards. It was a good shot, but just marginally off course, diverted into the net by a flick from Jesus.
The flag was raised the moment he touched it, though, and there appeared no doubt in referee Jon Moss’s mind either. The right decision and no reply required.
Rodri fires in a shot from the edge of the area that flew past Pope in the Burnley net and wrapped up the win for City
A delighted Rodri dashed over to the away end where he took in the acclaim from the City supporters who visited Turf Moor