The Premier League's ninety-two remaining games, spread across nine rounds of games are set to play out beginning June 17th 2020, with Project Restart's health and safety conditions meaning the remaining games of the season will be played out behind closed doors. We will be providing match reports from these behind closed doors competitive encounters as the league campaign nears its end-game. All aboard.
Match Report (GW30): Man City 5-0 Burnley
Pep Guardiola has done what Pep Guardiola does best: rotate. Pep Roulette has seen a massive eight changes to the starting eleven, with Ederson, David Silva, and most surprising of all Riyad Mahrez are the only players that also started in the Citizens 3-0 win over Arsenal.
The game started remarkably like that of any City game, with City dominating the possession. A training ground corner in the 23rd minute saw Bernado Silva lay it off to Phil Foden who struck a shot from outside of the box with his left foot to give City an early lead.
Riyad Mahrez made problems worse for a plucky Burnley just before half time with a twisting run through the Clarets defence and repaying Pep’s faith in him with a low drive to get the better of Nick Pope. Half time wasn’t there yet, as Ben Mee and Aguero collided in the box with VAR to have adjudged Mee to have committed a foul on Aguero. This was a harsh decision that no Man City player really wanted to claim, and Mahrez stepped up to take the penalty as Aguero limped off, and the Algerian winger slotted home to effectively wrap up the match in the first half.
The second half didn’t start too well for Burnley, with a typical Man City pass-and-go manoeuvre saw Bernado Silva slide in the ball for David Silva to score their fourth goal. This was a goal that we have seen dozens of time from Man City, and Phil Foden was heavily involved in the build-up of this goal. The young Englishman looks perfectly at home in this City team alongside some of City’s best players, and this should give Guardiola more comfort in including Foden more regularly into his plans.
The games momentum had been set for quite a while, and once again Burnley stood off the City attackers during a counterattack, and Jesus played in Phil Foden for his second goal of the game. The entirely Burnley team during the second water break looked like they honestly couldn’t care what was happening to them, which is a shame as Sean Dyche was urging them to do some damage control before this occasion gets even worse for them.
This was a classic Man City home game, with an ensemble of players among the goals and assists. Ederson had another game of just watching this silky Manchester City team produce another classic City performance.
Man of the Match: Riyad Mahrez (MCI)
The Algerian was unplayable against Burnley. People forget just how good Mahrez is, and why Man City payed a large fortune to acquire him from Leicester. The former PFA Player of the Year constantly got the best of the Burnley defence, and this was shown by his wonderful first goal which he wove his way through the Clarets defence and expertly slotting away. He is a nightmare to play against, and with two goals and an assist this Gameweek his stock has now sharply risen within this juggernaut Manchester City club.
MCI 5-0 BUR - Insight and Analysis:
Watching Man City can kill the football soul. Their ill-earned depth has soured the good football feeling you get watching games. When a team is incapable of even getting near their box it isn’t a fun encounter to watch. Don’t get me wrong, the football they are playing is ridiculously good, but there is that dark shadow covering their performance. Remember watching the FA Cup final against Watford where it didn’t feel competitive and even Pep is shaking his head? Yeah, similar feelings arose watching this game. This isn’t bias, as believe it or not I was really impressed with Manchester United and enjoyed their football against Spurs, but with City more times than I don’t enjoy watching their games as you can see teams just get frustrated and give up too easy.
Ben Mee looked like he had checked out after that Aguero penalty decision, and even by the end Dyche had a dejected look in his eye. Football is meant to be dramatic, fun, and joyful. Manchester City were always the team to benefit from this restart due to the insane depth of raw natural talent, and seeing them bulldoze teams is a soul destroying experience.
Riyad Mahrez in consecutive starting elevens is amazing to see, he is an important player for City, but normally he is one of the most prone players to Pep Roulette which always confuses me. During the double gameweek Mahrez has been the most productive player for goals and assists, and right now he is the first name on the team sheet. City’s win here means that Liverpool are kept waiting for their first title in thirty years, and if Liverpool beat Palace, the Reds may win the title at the Etihad, home of the current champions.
Since Christmas when it was apparent Liverpool would win the title, I always said they would most likely win it at the Etihad, which sets up for a huge encounter between the title rivals at the beginning of July. Riyad Mahrez in the form he is in must be worrying for Jürgen Klopp, especially with Andrew Robertson having been riddled with small injuries and knocks as of late and James Milner potentially injured the occasion.
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Manager: Pep Guardiola
DEF: J. Cancelo
DEF: N. Otamendi
DEF: Fernandinho (Laporte '61)
DEF: O. Zinchenko
MID: D. Silva
MID: P. Foden (Sane 79')
FOR: B. Silva
FOR: R. Mahrez (De Bruyne '61)
FOR: S. Aguero (Jesus 45+4')
Carson, Walker, Sterling, Gundogan, G Jesus, Laporte, De Bruyne, Sane, Mendy
Manager: Sean Dyche
GK: N. Pope
DEF: M. Lowton
DEF: J. Tarkowski
DEF: B. Mee
DEF: C. Taylor
MID: J. Brownhill
MID: A. Westwood
MID: J. Cork
MID: D. McNeil
FOR: J. Rodriguez (Pieters '60)
FOR: M. Vydra (Thompson 88')
Peacock-Farrell, Pieters, Long, Thompson, Dunne, Thomas, Jensen
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