After an awful first half it looked like Manchester City would be on the wrong end of an FA Cup upset against Burnley at the Etihad, but the Blues showed their destructive edge in the second half and brushed the Clarets aside en route to a 4-1 victory that sends the Premier League leaders to the fourth round of the FA Cup.
For the first time in quite a while, City had a very poor performance. They just couldn’t get anything going and were awful with their passing, misplacing easy balls in the final third and not really threatening Burnley apart from a few shots from distance that never troubled Nick Pope.
The Clarets on the other hand were extremely well organized and executed their plan to perfection, staying compact in defense and looking for a goal thanks to a set piece or a mistake from City. They nearly got a goal on a set piece with a Ben Mee header, and they scored thanks to a terrible mistake by John Stones that put Ashley Barnes through on goal, and the Burnley striker easily beat Claudio Bravo for the opener.
At halftime, it was a bad performance from the Blues and they needed a really good talk from Pep Guardiola to improve in the second half.
The halftime talk worked, and City were clearly better to start the second half, with better passing and more urgency to their attacks. Burnley were still standing strong, until they fell asleep on a free kick and allowed Ilkay Gundogan to quickly find Sergio Agüero for an easy equalizer. Just a minute later, Gundogan found Agüero with a gorgeous backheel and Sergio easily rounded Pope to score the second.
City were ahead and were able to calm down and try to pick the right moment to break down the Burnley defense one more time and find a third goal to kill the game. They did thanks to a wonderful team move that ended with an assist for David Silva and a goal for Leroy Sané. Sané was involved in the fourth, beating Pope on the run and finding Bernardo Silva for an easy finish.
If the first half never existed, this was another routine win for the best team in England, but the 4-1 scoreline doesn’t really reflect what happened on the pitch. Burnley could have gotten the upset, but City were just too good in the second half.
Man City: Bravo; Danilo, Stones, Otamendi, Zinchenko (Walker); Gundogan (De Bruyne), Fernandinho, Silva; Sterling, Agüero (Bernardo), Sané
Goals: Agüero (56’, 58’), Sané (71’), Bernardo (82’)
Burnley: Pope; Lowton, Long, Mee, Taylor; Gudmundsson (Walters), Cork (Wells), Westwood, Barnes; Hendrick; Vokes
Goal: Barnes (25’)