Manchester City extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table to 5 points after a hard fought win against Burnley.
Sergio Aguero equalled City’s all time goal scoring record when he converted a first half penalty and further goals from Otamendi and Sané sealed the win for the Blues in what could have been an oh so different game last season.
Here’s what I learned from City vs Burnley.
City show they can grind out results
Although the Blues have been flying high recently, scoring goals for fun in the process, there were some evident pre-match jitters emerging in the Twittersphere.
Burnley’s recent results against the ‘top 6’ would have been a cause for concern for many veteran Cityzens who have had their fair share of ‘typical City’ moments, and even after the penalty it looked like the game could go anywhere.
Not only did City have to fight the full force of the Manchester rain but in the second half Burnley started to really come into the game and it was evident in the quality of our passing. Come 60 minutes on the clock, I struggled to even put forward a shortlist of man of the match candidates because the quality just wasn’t there.
We had plenty of these types of matches last season. Middlesbrough, Southampton, Stoke at home to name but a few where not capitalising on our chances cost us some valuable points. This game had the potential to go the same way. I’m sure on the hour mark many could have envisioned a last minute Burnley equaliser. But it didn’t happen.
We took back control of the game, strung a few passes together and next thing you know Otamendi’s put it in the back of the net. After that another sheer moment of magic from De Bruyne to put Sané through cemented three goals and three points.
They say that the mark of champions is to win when you’re not at your best. Today we did that, showcasing an invaluable mentality that just wasn’t present last season. We’re far from talking about who will win the league but it bodes well for City’s hopes that we can win ugly.
He can do it on a wet and windy afternoon in Manchester
The conditions today were absolutely awful. Pep doesn’t have a wealth of experience playing in high winds and torrential rain, and the classic put down for many of his credentials is that the harsh English weather would rattle the likes of Messi, Iniesta and Pep’s beautiful game in general.
‘Yeah but can he do it on a cold away day at Stoke?’ Yes. He did.
Today was further proof that this team is made of strong stuff. We tried – and sometimes failed – to play Pep’s way today. Moving the ball quickly, recycling possession from the back and playing those long cross-field balls to the overlapping full-backs amidst all the wind.
It did have an effect, naturally, but the fact that we still dominated possession and chances against a defensively solid Burnley side is a credit to the team.
Yet more evidence that we have the right mentality this season, we are prepared to play through the weather in the way that we want and the fact that we still get the result is going to be key to our success in the coming winter months.