Premier League: City Show Hallmarks of Champions against Battling Burnley

Burnley 0-1 Manchester City

Two games from Premier League glory.

This was another tricky test but was there ever any doubt us fans?

The Manchester City class of 2019 may have been assembled at a hugely expensive cost but the outlay has been justified again this season by a compilation of Premier League highlights no-one else can match.

The Premier League betting odds on them becoming the first side since city rivals Manchester United to retain English football’s top prize a decade ago grow even stronger.

They have really been put to the test since their Champions League quarter-final exit against Tottenham 11 days ago but have responded in the manner of champions with three wins (two away from home) without conceding a goal.

Highlights of the game

It was mixed news for City before kick-off with Fernandinho, forced off in the Manchester derby in midweek with a knee problem, ruled out but Ilkay Gundogan, who suffered a knock in the same game, available again.

Unbeaten in their last seven league and cup games against Burnley, winning six of those matches, Pep Guardiola’s side were strong favourites.

Indeed, the champions had beaten the Lancastrians 5-0 twice this season in all competitions.

Yet Burnley were up for this. They had clearly irked Chelsea on Easter Monday – in fact,Sean Dyche had to defend his side from time-wasting accusations – and also had previous, frustrating the reigning champions once in each of their previous four Premier League seasons and winning 44 per cent of their games against the title holders (won four, drawn one, lost four).

This was as much about character as class and so it proved.

Premier League: Sergio Aguero's opening ended Manchester City's match against Burnley in a clean sheet

Sergio Aguero celebrates victory with Manchester City in Turf Moor

Sergio Aguero’s 64th-minute goal – bundled in and given via goal-line technology despite Matthew Lowton’s attempted clearance –was decisive as the hosts well-organised and resilient effort threatened to keep them out.

Gabriel Jesus had another effort kicked off the line by Ben Mee and, while Burnley – hoping to win three consecutive home league fixtures for the first time since a five-match streak in December 2016 and January 2017 – rarely threatened, the outcome wasn’t certain until Paul Tierney blew his full-time whistle.

Burnley and their boss Sean Dyche deserve enormous credit for their endeavour and a fine second half to the campaign after they seemed in potential trouble at the turn of the year.

But this was a vital step forward for City.

They had only won one of their past three games at Turf Moor before today and had failed to keep a clean sheet in any of them.

When they needed one most, Vincent Kompany and co delivered.

Key statistics

Eighteen of City’s last 23 league and cup goals against Burnley have come in the second half of matches, including nine of 11 this season.

Burnley have conceded 63 league goals in 2018-19, compared to 39 last term – only the bottom three have worse records this season.

Guardiola’s side have now won 12 straight league games, the longest streak in the Premier League this season.

They can become the first team to end a top-flight season with 14 consecutive victories, breaking Arsenal’s record of 13 in 2001-02.

City have won all 13 of their league matches this season against sides in the bottom seven, scoring a total of 42 goals and conceding just four.

Aguero has scored nine goals in his last eight appearances against Burnley in all competitions.

1X2 Liverpool @ 4.20 Barcelona Asian Handicap -0.75 @ 2.12 Over 3.00 @ 2.09 Third Line text CLICK HEREDisclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.UEFA – Champions League

Aguero has now become the second player to score at least 20 Premier League goals in six different seasons, emulating Alan Shearer (who did so in seven campaigns for Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle).

Aguero is also the second player, after Thierry Henry, to achieve the feat in five consecutive seasons.

Burnley recorded only two shots against City, the fewest they have ever attempted in a single Premier League match.

This is only the second season in English top-flight history where two sides have earned 90+ points, after Arsenal (94) and Leeds (91) in the 1970-71 campaign (adjusted to three points for a win).

Only against Jose Mourinho (seven) has Burnley manager Dyche faced an opposition manager more often in the Premier League without winning than against Guardiola (six).

What’s next?

Burnley are at Everton on Friday night (May 3) in their penultimate game of the campaign before rounding-off 2018/19 at home to Arsenal.

City host Leicester City in their final home match of the season on Bank Holiday Monday (May 6) ahead of a last-day trip to Brighton.

They then meet Watford in the FA Cup Final.

 

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