Man City 5-0 Burnley: Mahrez and Foden at the double in demolition
Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

It was a thoroughly miserable Premier League return for Burnley. Off-the-pitch politics and ethics dominated the aftermath of this match but, on the grass, Manchester City were simply too powerful for the East Lancashire outfit.  

Match Report

First Half

Pep Guardiola made wholesale changes to the team that battered Arsenal; only Ederson Moraes and Riyad Mahrez remained. 

Burnley stuck with their 4-4-2 shape with Matej Vydra and Jay Rodriguez, the club's only fit strikers, leading the line. Josh Brownhill made his first start since joining from Bristol City

City were dominant from the first minute but initially struggled to get in behind the deep Burnley defence. Bernardo Silva sliced wide with the goal gaping but, other than that, they were lacking that incisive pass.

Of course, though, that resilience didn't last too long. 

Burnley were sleeping as City took a quick corner. Bernardo found Phil Foden outside the box and the youngster got the opening goal, fizzing a powerful drive through Nick Pope at his near post. 

City continued to play patiently with possession and they managed to get a second goal. 

Fernandinho stretched the play with an excellent raking pass. Mahrez latched onto it, bamboozled Charlie Taylor before prodding the ball across Pope with his right foot. 

And, naturally, just before the interval, City showed their ruthless edge once again. This time, however, they got a little bit of luck. 

After a VAR overview, Ben Mee was adjudged to have clipped Sergio Aguero in the box. A harsh decision but Burnley weren't getting much luck. Saying that, the challenge forced Aguero off the pitch with Gabriel Jesus having to replace him. 

Mahrez stepped up and confidently stroked home his second goal of the game. Game over in the space of a few minutes. 

Second Half

Inevitably, things got worse quite quickly after the break. 

Foden played a lovely reverse-pass into Bernardo. Young Silva rolled the ball across for old Silva and the Spaniard tapped in the fourth. Foden's brilliant vision was noteworthy but Burnley's lack of organisation was worrying. 

Some neat interplay from the Citizens saw the ball rolled to Jesus. The substitute miss-kicked as the ball rolled across his body but, unfortunately for Burnley, the ball fell nicely for Foden to slam home a fifth. 


Sean Dyche's men have now lost 5-0 in their last three matches at the Etihad. Nonetheless, the drubbing was merely a sub-plot amidst Dyche's spat with his employers and the racist storm. 

In the other camp, Guardiola would have been delighted. He played many of his so-called back-up players and they performed sensationally well. 

Player Ratings

Manchester City: Ederson 6; Cancelo 6, Fernandinho 8, Otamendi 6, Zinchenko 7; Rodri 7; Foden 9, Silva 8; Bernardo 8, Aguero 6, Mahrez 8. 

Subs used: Jesus 6, Laporte 6, De Bruyne 7, Sane 5. 

Burnley: Pope 4; Lowton 5, Tarkowski 5, Mee 4, Taylor 4; Brownhill 4, Cork 5, Westwood 5, McNeil 6; Vydra 5, Rodriguez 6. 

Subs used: Pieters 6, Thompson n/a.

Star Men

Phil Foden (Manchester City): A class apart. Played with the maturity of someone who had played many games at this level. Ran the show. 

Dwight McNeil (Burnley): Looked menacing when running at Joao Cancelo and offered glimpses of threat. 

City slickers

Old and young

Silva and Foden were mesmeric for City.

The veteran Spaniard played like the ball was attached to his foot on a string. Foden put together a performance that a young Silva would have been proud of. 

The English midfielder has been in the shadow of Pep Guardiola's revolution but he will be hoping to step into the spotlight when Silva moves on. This display was very promising. 

The argument about whether Foden should have left the Etihad will not go away. He is an immensely talented player who has had very little action under Guardiola. The incredible rise of Jadon Sancho at Borussia Dortmund backs up the leaving philosophy.  

Still, with Silva leaving at the end of this season, Foden should move up a level. He needs to step-up from the fringes of the setup and become a real squad player. Being a mainstay in this City team is almost impossible, especially in midfield, but he will want to get a fairer share of minutes. 

Fantastic Fernandinho

Mahrez, Bernardo, Silva and Foden were all tremendous but Fernandinho was also incredibly good. The Brazilian has morphed into a centre-back and is now looking very assured in his new position. The veteran reads the game wonderfully well and his passing is that of a midfielder. His ping to Mahrez for City's second goal was effortless brilliance. 

Guardiola will know that he needs a new central defender but Fernandinho is a very capable understudy. He has more than passed his test. City could well sell John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi with a new signing linking up with Fernandinho, Eric Garcia and Aymeric Laporte

City benefit from closed doors

City have won their first two games by a combined score of eight goals to nil. Emphatic. The lack of a crowd could well be playing in their favour. If the tempo is too slow then certain sections of the crowd have been known to voice their frustrations. That is the problem when the audience has become accustomed to perfection!

There have been moments, against Arsenal and Burnley, where the tempo has lulled. But the players are not deterred by slowing down or misplacing a pass. Right now, they are arguably playing with more freedom than they have ever done. 

It's too early to suggest that an empty Etihad is of benefit to the players but, right now, the evidence suggests that is isn't deterring them. When fans can return to stadiums, the City faithful need to make their ground a fortress. Nobody in the country gets to watch better football and the spectators should acknowledge that every single time. 

Claret and Blues

Defensive naivety 

Dyche will be disappointed at the way his players switched off from set-pieces. For Foden's opener, they were set up to defend a cross and didn't adjust to City's quickly taken corner. When Foden lined up the shot, debutant Josh Brownhill half-heartedly tried to close the ball down but it wasn't good enough. 

In the second half, City had a corner Foden loitered outside the box again. Burnley continued to defend with everybody back and the 20-year-old made them pay with an exquisite reverse pass to help create the fourth. 

There were periods where Burnley were playing relatively well. They past the ball around with confidence and tried to press City high. As it was, those moments were few and far between. The second and third goals knocked the stuffing out of the Clarets and, in the second half, it was tough viewing from a Burnley perspective. 

Individual rustiness

It was Burnley's first game back and, for some, it showed. 

Pope had very little to save but could have done better with three of the goals. He was slow to react to both Foden goals and could have got a firmer block on Mahrez's first goal. 

The defence were very passive. Taylor and Mee, in particular, looked shell shocked and they simply wilted in that second period. 

It was a debut to forget for Brownhill who turned away as Foden struck the opener through a sea of bodies. A booking later on summed up his night. 

McNeil and Rodriguez played relatively well but that's about it. 

All in all, it was a performance to forget for the Clarets but a special mention for young Matt Thompson who came off the bench to make his Premier League bow. Not the best of occasions to do it but it's a day that the scholar will never forget! 

Chance for the young

Quite rightly, the skeletal state of Burnley's squad will raise its concerns. Dyche wasn't quick to downplay those worries either! But the one ounce of positivity could come in the form of unearthing some homegrown talent.

Ali Koiki is very highly thought of by the coaching staff. The left-back could find himself making the future matchday squads if certain internal situations aren't resolved. As mentioned, Thompson got a little cameo at the end and that was a nice thing to see. 

Where next?

Burnley will dust themselves down and get ready to go again at home to Nigel Pearson's Watford. The Hornets will be dogged and determined, however, and they will punish the Clarets if they don't turn up. 

City will travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea, a match which probably represents their toughest test since the restart. Frank Lampard's men overturned Aston Villa on Sunday and have a very exciting squad of young players.