Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez both scored twice as Manchester City thrashed Burnley to ensure Liverpool will have to wait a little longer to wrap up the Premier League title.
Three first-half goals saw City on their way to the most comfortable of wins at Etihad Stadium, with Foden’s superb long-range strike breaking the deadlock before Mahrez’s double just before the break. The Algerian’s fine solo effort made it 2-0 before he added another from the spot after Ben Mee fouled Sergio Aguero, with the penalty being awarded by the video assistant referee. It was all too easy for City against a Burnley side that did not name their full complement of substitutes for their first game since the Premier League restarted behind closed doors amid the coronavirus pandemic. Foden played a starring role in the rout, starting the move that saw Bernardo Silva tee up David Silva to make it 4-0 soon after the break, and then adding a fifth himself after Gabriel Jesus helped on a David Silva cross. If the defending champions had dropped points against the Clarets, a win for Liverpool against Crystal Palace at Anfield on Wednesday would have seen them officially take City’s crown. Instead Jurgen Klopp’s side must beat the Eagles and then rely on City dropping points against Chelsea on Thursday if they are to clinch the title before they visit Etihad Stadium on 2 July.
Although the game was marred by some controversy off the field. A plane carrying a banner reading ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ was flown over the ground shortly after kick-off. Burnley issued a statement during the game condemning the actions of those responsible & Captain Ben Mee said the Clarets were affected by the banner that reflected the views of only a minority of their supporters. We, as a group of players, condemn it, we’re ashamed, we’re embarrassed. “[It] completely misses the point of what we’re trying to achieve as a football community, as a group of players. As a group of players we’re really ashamed. It’s a minority of our supporters. I know I speak for the main part of our supporters that absolutely distance ourselves from any sort of thing like that. It’s a real shame to see and it definitely had a massive impact on us to see that in the sky. We were embarrassed. We were disappointed, upset, and it misses the whole point of what we’re trying to do as a group of players throughout the Premier League and society, and the whole Black Lives Matter movement and community are trying to achieve.”
City have made a good start since football returned and as their intensity increases then so do the chances that this side can add further to their trophy haul in the months ahead. The only blot was the loss of talismanic striker Sergio Aguero to a knee injury. In the immediate aftermath, Pep intimated things did not look good but the saving grace is that at the moment games come thick and fast and now there is an opportunity for Gabriel Jesus to seize. Guardiola added: “He felt something in his knee. He struggled in the last month with some pain in his knee. We will see on Tuesday.” City were able to give Leroy Sane his first competitive outing of the season before the end, when the German winger replaced Foden. Guardiola confirmed on Friday that Sane, who had been out of action since injuring his knee ligaments in the Community Shield in August, will be leaving the club either in the next transfer window or when his contract ends in the summer of 2021. He was given an 11-minute cameo against the Clarets, which suggests he will play a part in Guardiola’s plans during the remainder of this campaign as City, who have already collected the Carabao Cup, look to defend the FA Cup and try to win the Champions League for the first time. Burnley has now lost 5-0 on their past three visits to Manchester City in all competitions, but this defeat could have been even worse.