MAN CITY 5, BURNLEY 0
It was events in the sky which overshadowed Manchester City’s thumping home win against Burnley.
The furore was caused by a light aircraft flying overhead displaying an offensive banner relating to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Burnley, who were implicated, immediately issued a statement condemning the action of those responsible, saying they are not welcome at Turf Moor.
Their statement read: “The club has a proud record of working with all genders, religions and faiths through its award-winning community scheme, and stands against racism of any kind.
“We are fully behind the Premier League’s Black Lives Matter initiative and, in line with all other Premier League games undertaken since Project Restart, our players and football staff willingly took the knee at kick-off at Manchester City.Embed from Getty Images
“We apologise unreservedly to the Premier League, to Manchester City and to all those helping to promote Black Lives Matter.”
And after the match Clarets’ captain Ben Mee and manager Sean Dyche both condemned the perpetrators.
Mee declared he was “ashamed and embarrassed” while Dyche described it as unacceptable but added “don’t judge the whole town” on the incident.
City manager Pep Guardiola added racism is going to take time to eradicate, declaring 400 years of history will not be changed in one week.
“White Lives Matter but Black Lives matter. They are all human beings and we are all the same,” he said.
“Racism is still there and we have to fight it everyday.”
City produced an imperious display to record a third successive 5-0 home victory against Burnley with Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden scoring two goals apiece while David Silva also found the net.
They enjoyed 72 per cent possession and had 19 goal attempts to Burnley’s one such was their superiority with Guardiola describing it as a “solid performance”.
And victory meant Liverpool’s title coronation has been further delayed as, had City slipped up, they could have sealed it at home to Crystal Palace on Wednesday.
Guardiola clearly had eyes on Thursday’s match at Chelsea as he made eight changes from the side that beat Arsenal last week.
Ederson, Riyad Mahrez and captain David Silva were the only survivors in a changing of the guard.
Among those recalled were club record goalscorer Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho, Bernardo Silva and Rodrigo.
Burnley were without first-choice strike duo Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes with Matej Vydra and Jay Rodriguez the front pairing while out-of-contract pair Phil Bardsley and Jeff Hendrick were overlooked.
The players lined up around the centre circle before kick-off for one minute’s silence to remember the victims of Covid-19.
And that was followed immediately after kick-off by the players from both teams taking the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
City would have taken a 17th minute lead had Bernardo Silva not sliced a shot horribly wide from seven yards after being released by David Silva.
Foden showed how it ought to be done when he gave City the lead five minutes later.
From a short corner, Bernardo Silva cut the ball back to Foden whose drive from 25 yards found the bottom corner, his fifth goal of the season and the second in successive matches.
Mahrez doubled the lead in the 43rd minute with a superb solo effort.
He picked up the ball on the halfway line, raced away, twisted and turned left-back Charlie Taylor before drilling home an angled shot low into the far corner.
City added a third goal in stoppage time when they were awarded a penalty by VAR following Ben Mee’s challenge which ended Aguero’s match as he was replaced by Gabriel Jesus.
And Guardiola admitted the knee injury sustained by the Argentine “doesn’t look good”.
City’s manager fears Aguero may be out for a few games, possibly for the remainder of the season depending on the result of a medical examination.
Mahrez scored from the spot, his second goal in five minutes and 11th of the season as City were in cruise control by the break.
City added a fourth goal shortly after the restart when Foden and Bernardo Silva linked to set up David Silva who fired home the latter’s cross from close range, his fourth of the season.
Guardiola made a double change on the hour as Mahrez and Fernandinho made way for Kevin De Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte.
It took Burnley until the 63rd minute before they registered their first goal attempt as Dwight McNeill’s free kick cleared the crossbar by some distance.
City swept upfield to immediately scored a fifth goal as Foden grabbed his second of the game and sixth of the season sweeping home a shot after Jesus had flicked Bernardo Silva’s cross into his path.
Leroy Sane replaced Foden with 10 minutes left, City’s third change of the night as the German made his first appearance since the Community Shield in August when he damaged a cruciate knee ligament.