Manchester City responded to Liverpool’s win over Watford with a professional and polished performance as they beat Burnley 2-0 at Turf Moor. First half goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan was enough to see off the Clarets and move back to the top of the Premier League by one point, making the league encounter between the two on 10th April all the more intriguing.
City started with Riyad Mahrez on the bench, opting instead for an all-English front three of Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Jack Grealish. John Stones and Ruben Dias were out, forcing Pep Guardiola to start Nathan Ake alongside Aymeric Laporte.
The blues needed to win to keep the pressure on the relentless reds march, who made up the points difference by winning all their games in hand on City, and the blues have managed to keep a solitary point advantage over the Mersey reds.
And with the two meeting at Etihad Stadium in a week, a win in deepest Lancashire was vital if the blues wanted to go into the match with the slenderest of advantages. And they got the points with relative ease against the relegation threatened Clarets.
It took just five minutes for Kevin de Bruyne to send City on their way back to the top of the table. Raheem Sterling, who scored in England’s midweek victory over Ivory Coast, knocked Rodri’s cross into the path of the Belgian, and de Bruyne was allowed time to pick his spot before firing into the top corner.
That came after Burnley had missed a chance to go in front and put the cat amongst the pigeons. Josh Brownhill’s header had Ederson beaten, but he also put it wide of the post when he should really have hit the target.
A goal there would have set City hearts racing, but de Bruyne’s goal settled the nerves of the travelling supporters. And twenty minutes later, City pretty much wrapped up the points when Gundogan made it 2-0.
Sterling again made the goal, finding the German midfielder in enough space to volley home and complete the blues return to the top.
The blues could and should have had more, highlighting their need for a top-class striker to take centre role, and City cannot afford to be wasteful in front of goal at any time between now and the end of the season.
The blues have a huge two weeks coming up, with a double midweek header against Atletico Madrid coupled with two weekend matches against Liverpool and the results could define their entire season.
Final Score: Burnley 0-2 Manchester City