FA Premier League
Referee: Paul Tierney of Lancashire
|1 Tom Heaton||31 Ederson|
|2 Matthew Lowton||2 Kyle Walker|
|5 James Tarkowski||4 Vincent Kompany|
|6 Ben Mee||14 Aymeric Laporte|
|3 Charlie Taylor||35 Oleks Zinchenko|
|13 Jeff Hendrick||Berg Gudmundsson 76'||20 Bernardo Silva|
|18 Ashley Westwood||8 Ilkay Gündogan|
|4 Jack Cork||21 David Silva|
|31 Dwight McNeil||7 Raheem Sterling||Otamendi 90+2'|
|10 Ashley Barnes||10 Sergio Agüero||Stones 83'|
|11 Chris Wood||Vydra 72'||19 Leroy Sané||Gabriel Jesus 64'|
|7 Berg Gudmundsson||3 Danilo|
|14 Ben Gibson||5 John Stones|
|20 Joe Hart||26 Riyad Mahrez|
|23 Stephen Ward||30 Nicolas Otamendi|
|27 Matej Vydra||33 Gabriel Jesus|
|28 Kevin Long||47 Philip Foden|
|45 Driscoll-Glennon||49 Aro Muric|
Johnny On The Spot:#JOBDONE. Manchester City continue to trade blows with Liverpool, beating Burnley to make it 12 consecutive Premier League wins on the bounce…
The XI who scored twice against the Stretfords in midweek took to a dry Turf Moor surface in deepest Lancashire. An uneventful first half unfolded. City had immense difficulty getting the ball forward from the back thanks to some sloppy passes combined with Burnley’s eager foraging. In point of fact, the Blues passing radar was off throughout the opening quarter of an hour wherein they won a couple of corners which came to nothing in what has become by now a late season customary fashion.
City weren’t looking bright and lacking spark. 25 minutes into the game, the champions had not worked Heaton the Burnley ‘keeper at all. Just before the half hour Pep Guardiola’s men began to see more of the ball and started to find their quicksilver feet. Long balls still persisted from Burnley who in fairness are a side who play to their combative strengths. Notably, it’s not often that City face a side sporting two strikers. The first half fizzled out with City’s neat build-up play being continually suffocated when the ball got into the box, Burnley crowding out the danger time and again.
Patience had to be the key in a vital second half but it would only prove a virtue if City started moving the ball much quicker into feet and played to our strengths because Burnley were playing to theirs whilst we operated in a curiously low gear. The one dimensional Clarets had precious little else more to offer so a timely half time refocus was required. Not the least by Laporte, Sané and Zinchenko who were either falling out or spraying misplaced passes amongst themselves on the left. – It did not go unnoticed that Burnley’s ground staff again opted to avoid using sprinklers in a bid to nullify City’s zip.
A frenzied opening to the second period saw City exert sheer pressure upon the Burnley backline, yet still lacked their renowned rhythm. The Blues quest was not aided by referee Tierney turning down a stonewall penalty, a blatant handball by Barnes. The Blues had stepped it up undoubtedly but by the hour mark, crosses into the Burnley box were still being cleared by the home defence far too comfortably.
Enter Aguero for his 20th league goal of the season. It took Liverpool 62 minutes to score at Burnley last December and it took City 63 today, thanks to one of the scruffier goals our talisman will ever net, but the predatory Kun it was who had broken the deadlock with a goal-line scrambler. Officially, the ball was 29 mm over the line.
Pep moved swiftly to bolster the forward line, hooking the out of sorts Sané for Jesus who after some brilliant feet was denied off the line by a battling Mee who had an outstanding game for Sean Dyche’s strong-armed team. City peppered the Burnley backline repeatedly but a combination of profligacy and amassed, stubborn, defence denied us more breathing space.
Few sides have been better in the past two seasons than Manchester City in game management situations. Stones replaced Kun for the final 10 minutes, the star striker taking a trademark eternity to wander off. City had tightened up, double shielding the defence and heading for the corner flag. Seeing winning positions out is a less heralded aspect of City’s armoury, but it is clearly borne out of the manager’s legendary attention to detail. Burnley, without a shot on target throughout the game mounted a late assault on the City rearguard but were unable to breach a reinforced defence.
Job done. Burnley away is by far tougher an assignment than going out of town to Old Trafford these days and City stuck to their task manfully to seal this crucial victory. Make no mistake, they had to work bloody hard for three points that takes this squad within 180 minutes of the title. The Blues now have 7 full days break to work on tired legs and the continual surfeit of injuries until welcoming Leicester to Manchester for the penultimate game of a gripping season.
JB’s Man of The Match: Bernardo Silva. Never say die. This wonderful footballer worked tirelessly, continually in the thick of the action.