Burnley player ratings after narrow defeat to Manchester City

Burnley player ratings after narrow defeat to Manchester City

The Clarets hardly shamed themselves at the Etihad Stadium, but it was a performance that mixed the good with the bad.

jordaneyre
Jordan Eyre

Burnley exhibited their usual characteristics against Manchester City on Monday afternoon, but were ultimately unable to claim anything from the game.

Here's how the Clarets fared:

Goalkeeper and defence

Tom Heaton – 7: Burnley’s reliable captain produced yet another solid display against a side brimming with attacking verve. Heaton made two vital blocks in quick succession from Kelechi Iheanacho and Raheem Sterling in the first half, and was unfortunate that a third attempt could not deter Sergio Aguero enough to prevent the Argentinean striker from doubling the Blues’ lead in the second.

Matt Lowton – 5: The right-back endured a tough day at the Etihad Stadium, with a number of poor decisions ceding possession too cheaply against a side that do not relinquish it with the same abandon. Many felt the right back could have done better to block Aguero’s eventual match-winner, but his body position made the chance of clearing the ball nearly impossible.

Michael Keane – 6: Keane did not disgrace himself against one of the best teams in the country, and enjoyed a solid game. The former Manchester United defender made two blocks and won both of his aerial duels. The Clarets’ centre-half also made four ball recoveries, with two in the opposition half, which indicate Keane’s willingness to push up and keep City at arm’s length.

Ben Mee – 6: A mixed day for the defender on his return to the club. A composed showing made way for a costly moment in the second half in the lead up to Aguero’s goal, with Mee making a hash of an attempt clearance to leave the striker in the clear. The former City youth captain made amends with his goal, however, and generally looked rarely flustered against his previous employers.

Stephen Ward – 7: The Clarets’ left-back emerges from Monday’s game with the most credit from Burnley’s backline, with a performance that balanced diligent defensive and offensive work. Ward won the fifth-highest amount of aerial duels in the game (three), made the fourth-highest amount of headed clearances (three) and third-highest amount of clearances overall (six).

Midfield

George Boyd – 5: A quiet day for Boyd, who made the fewest amount of passes out of any player that played for the full 90 minutes. Normally, Boyd’s anonymity on the ball is offset by his defensive work but City’s flexibility at accelerating through the gears – with Kevin De Bruyne the driving force – meant this game largely passed the Scottish winger by.

Scott Arfield – 5: Preferred to Steven Defour in central midfield, Arfield worked hard but did tangible moments of contribution were sparse at best. The Canadian international made eight ball recoveries, completed two take-ons and two out of his four crosses. A pass completion rate of just over 60% and a failure to properly block Gael Clichy’s opener rankle, however.

Jeff Hendrick – 7: A composed showing for a player who continues to improve. Hendrick enjoyed the best pass completion rate of any Burnley player to play the entirety of the game, and the Irish midfielder was often the Clarets’ driving force going forwards. A total of three clearances, while hardly a seismic amount, suggests Hendrick is capable of weighing in defensively, too.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson – 5: Monday’s trip to the Etihad was the wrong environment for the naturally forward-thinking winger to thrive in, with more defensive-minded players needed to negate City’s threat. The Iceland international’s set-piece deliveries came close to a saving grace, but Gudmudsson’s rating is not entirely self-inflicted.

Attack

Ashley Barnes – 5: Barnes was often embroiled in a physical aerial battle with Nicolas Otamendi and Aleksandar Kolarov, and came off second best. The Burnley striker won just three out of 15 aerial duels – all in the middle third of the pitch – and completed just two passes out of 10 attempted during 70 minutes of play. One successful pass per 35 minutes? Dreamy.

Andre Gray – 6: A recent hat-trick helped galvanise a previously flagging Gray, and that momentum served him well against Pep Guardiola’s side. Although failing with both of his attempted passes into the penalty area and being afforded just one shot all game, there was enough from Gray in other facets of his play to suggest he is truly coming of age in the Premier League.

Substitutes

Steven Defour – 7: Showed as much class in his 30-minute spell from the bench as most other players on the pitch. Defour oozed genuine star quality, misplacing just two of his 18 passes and playing a key role in the Clarets’ goal. Quite why he has yet to complete 90 minutes since arriving in England remains a mystery.

Sam Vokes – 6: Came close with a glancing header and won seven of his nine aerial duels, which suggest he was far more efficient in the air than fellow forward Barnes. If he and Defour had started the game, then it’s not too extreme to say Burnley may well have pinched something from the game.

Patrick Bamford – 5: Committed one foul. 

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