Five-star Manchester City put helpless Burnley to the sword as Joe Hart makes miserable Etihad return

Manchester City 5-0 Burnley: Despite making some fine saves, Hart and his side were well beaten as the champions ran riot

Alam Khan
Etihad Stadium
Saturday 20 October 2018 16:54
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After the draw at Liverpool, Manchester City were back to their brilliant best
After the draw at Liverpool, Manchester City were back to their brilliant best

Having picked the ball out of the net for a fifth time, Joe Hart punched the ball out in disgust.

You could understand his frustration and fury as the former Manchester City keeper endured a humiliating return to the Etihad.

Despite making some fine saves, Hart and his Burnley side were well beaten as the champions impressively racked up goals from Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva, Fernandinho, Riyad Mahrez and, finally, Leroy Sane.

On his first return to a club where he was integral to their growth and glorious trophy-laden era over 12 years, Hart served an initial reminder of his quality with a quite remarkable save to deny Aguero.

A lovely floated cross from Mahrez was met on the volley by the stretching City striker four yards out. But Hart displayed an outstanding reaction to scoop the ball out. Hands on his head, Aguero was in disbelief, but offered an affectionate acknowledgement to his ex-teammate.

Still, there was to be no respite for Hart nor the Clarets as it was a day of ultimate despair.

In the 17th minute, an intricate, incisive passing move between Sane and David Silva saw the Spaniard send a low cross into the path of Aguero to steer calmly into the net for his seventh goal in as many games against the visitors.

Fernandinho hits home Manchester City’s third goal

The pair almost combined for a second, this time Aguero’s shot was blocked and Silva pounced but sent a lofted finish over the bar.

City’s slick passing and energy and endeavour constantly left the Clarets bewitched and bewildered.

Out on the right, record signing Mahrez showed little sign of being scarred by the penalty miss that could have brought them victory at Liverpool in their last game before the international break.

In the first moment of magic, he turned onto his left foot and drifted over a cross that was met with a diving header by the Aguero who had ghosted in behind the Burnley backline.

Much to the relief of Hart it flew wide of his left-hand post.

Moments later Sane and Benjamin Mendy linked well on the left, and the Frenchman’s cross fell for Aguero, but he scuffed it wide.

Kevin de Bruyne made his return to action after a lengthy injury spell

Sean Dyche’s side almost made the most of these reprieves when Jack Cork bullied his way into a promising position and Jeff Hendrick saw his close-range strike blocked superbly by John Stones.

How City were not much further ahead at the break was a mystery as another opportunity was spurned in first-half injury time.

Bernardo Silva drifted over a cross to pick out the run of his namesake David, but Hart made a fine one-handed save to keep out the header. The ball fell invitingly for Aguero and, with Hart helpless on the ground, he sliced a finish woefully off target.

For a man of his repute and goalscoring prowess, it was poor.

Any hope the visitors, who last won a top-flight game at City in 1963, had of taking advantage, though, evaporated in the space of two madcap minutes.

Riyad Mahrez scored Manchester City’s fourth goal

The first in the 54th minute saw Sane break threateningly into the box and take a tumble under pressure from Jack Cork. As play came to a standstill with all eyes on referee Jon Moss as he dismissed penalty appeals, Silva stopped the ball from fully crossing the line and teed up Bernardo to drive in his fourth goal of the campaign.

Dismayed and somewhat disorientated by that, Burnley were immediately dealt another blow when a Sane corner dropped to Fernandinho on the edge of the box and the Brazilian sent a sumptuous curling finish into the top corner.

The entrance of Kevin De Bruyne for his second appearance of the season after suffering a knee injury in the opening-game win at Arsenal provided another lift for the hosts. One delightful pass, with his back to goal and inside for Mahrez, emphasised just what he adds to this team.

Aguero forced Hart into another block, but the former England No1 could do little as Mahrez curled in a fabulous fourth and Sane then steered in Mendy’s cross for the fifth.

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