It was not their best game and Guardiola’s men were made to work for the win, but Manchester City cruised to a club-record 11th straight win over Burnley.
The Citizens are getting used to routing their opponents no matter how they play, and they put three past Burnley at the Etihad to go five points clear at the top of the table after United’s defeat at Huddersfield.
Sergio Aguero returned for Manchester City after recovering from a rib injury following a car crash in Amsterdam. And he did so in style, banging in his 177th goal for the club to draw level with Eric Brook at the top of Manchester City’s all-time goalscoring chart.
At the other end, it was quite the opposite. Much of Burnley’s hopes rested on the shoulders of star striker Chris Wood, who limped off after picking up a hamstring injury, damaging their hopes of a positive outcome from the fixture.
Aguero’s goal came from the spot, after Bernardo Silva went down under the challenge from Pope. There seemed to be the slightest of touches and, as Roger East pointed to the spot, a scuffle broke with the Burnley players incensed by Silva’s fall.
The Burnley keeper was unlucky to clip Silva’s ankle and was then unable to keep out the subsequent kick, but did well in dealing with a couple of Aguero’s low drives later on in the first half.
At the other end, Ederson was mostly involved as City passed the ball at the back under high pressure from the visitors. The overconfident and slightly sluggish defensive possession almost played the Citizens into trouble when Delph made a short back pass, but the former Benfica keeper was alert to race off his line to clear.
There was sweeping rain across the Etihad as the players emerged for the second half, with the wet and windy conditions making it harder for Burnley to create clear-cut chances, while also hindering City’s attempts to assert full control.
After a strong start from Sean Dyche’s side, who looked to take the game down to the wire, City put the game out of reach. Pope made another decent save to deny Silva, but the follow-up corner was met by Otamendi, who sent a powerful header into the bottom corner, through the legs of Defour who tried to clear off the line.
Under two minutes later, it was game over. Aguero flicked the ball to free De Bruyne, who in turn threaded a wonderful pass for Sane to convert past the keeper. Burnley were in the game for 72 minutes, and barely three minutes later, the hosts were out of sight.
Aguero was then replaced by Gabriel Jesus who also wanted to get on the scoresheet, but his effort in the final minutes was parried away by Pope. City came away with a well-earned win and a comfortable cushion at ther top of the Premier League.