Previous
Crystal Palace
Brighton & Hove Albion
11:45 AM UTC
Game Details
Next
 By David Mooney

Substitutes Sergio Aguero, David Silva spark Man City to tight win vs. Burnley

Never let it be said that Manchester City haven't been the biggest challenge of Pep Guardiola's managerial career. A comfortable home win against a team that's managed just one point away all season? No chance.

A daft red card for Fernandinho should have been neutralised with two quality goals, but the home side allowed Burnley back into the match with a comedy of errors at the back before finally securing a 2-1 result. It might have been a good victory in the end, especially in the face of a bizarre refereeing performance, but it's left more questions than answers -- again.

Manchester CityManchester City
BurnleyBurnley
2
1
FT
Game Details

Positives

After a reckless challenge from Fernandinho, City were forced to play the majority of the match with 10 men. Despite that setback, the home side were able to rally well and, with the introduction of David Silva and Sergio Aguero at half-time, take full control of the game.

Negatives

Despite having control of the match, City did their best to hand the initiative to Burnley. A foul should have been given in the build-up to the away side's goal, but all of that could have been avoided had Claudio Bravo taken control of the situation in the first place, rather than flapping at two crosses. It's also three red cards in six appearances for Fernandinho, meaning he'll be missing for another busy period for Guardiola's team.

Manager rating out of 10

6 -- Guardiola rotated his team and the first half was a dour performance reminiscent of the worst times under Manuel Pellegrini, but it was the Catalan's changes at the break that made the difference and won the game.

Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Claudio Bravo, 4 -- The defence of Bravo is getting weaker by the game as his poor form shows no signs of abating. He was fouled as Burnley scored, but it was his lack of command in the box that caused the confusion in the first place. He did well to tip over the bar late on, but that again came from indecisiveness in his own box. He may be better than Joe Hart with his feet, but he's lacking in every other department -- and the fans are pining for their old hero back between the sticks.

DF Bacary Sagna, 7 -- The veteran full-back was solid throughout the match and was intelligent in possession, especially when the home side were down to 10. When questions were asked of him in the air, he answered comfortably.

DF Nicolas Otamendi, 6 -- After a first half in which he seemed to have to fight his instincts to dive in -- especially on the edge of his own area -- the Argentinian settled into the match and was comfortable after the break.

DF Aleksandar Kolarov, 7 -- Many were unhappy to see the Serbian in the team after his poor showing against Liverpool, but there was little wrong with his display against Burnley. He was good in the air and comfortable on the ball, and he used his experience to defend well under the cosh at the end.

DF Gael Clichy, 7 -- A surprise goalscorer, Clichy had a good game on the left flank. He was comfortable under pressure and his effort for the opening goal was well struck for the bottom corner.

Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero came off the bench to spark Manchester City to a 2-1 win over Burnley on Monday.

MF Yaya Toure, 6 -- It was a very disciplined performance from the Ivorian, who seemed to crop up all over the pitch when he was really needed, especially after the red card. His influence on the game, though, died as the match wore on.

MF Fernandinho, 3 -- A brainless and reckless challenge gave the referee no option but to produce a red card after half an hour. He may have won the ball, but it was two-footed, overly aggressive and a scissor tackle; he knows better and it put his teammates under pressure for the rest of the match. He'll now miss four more games through suspension.

MF Kevin De Bruyne, 6 -- This was a match for the Belgian to grow into. He's looked tired in recent weeks and his passes and shots didn't seem to come off until he was joined by Silva and Aguero.

MF Raheem Sterling, 7 -- Again, the winger looked better once he'd switched to the right flank. He created the second goal, albeit unintentionally by tripping himself up, and looked a constant threat to the Burnley defence.

MF Jesus Navas, 5 -- There was no end product from the Spaniard, who again proved to be a thorn in the Burnley side ... right up until having to pick out a teammate in the box.

FW Kelechi Iheanacho, 5 -- The youngster had one great chance one-on-one with Tom Heaton, but the Burnley goalkeeper did well to stop Iheanacho going around him. Other than that, it was a very tough afternoon.

Substitutes

MF David Silva, 7 -- A big influence, replacing Navas at half-time, Silva was able to dictate a lot of City's attacking play and was one of the reasons why they got themselves in control of the match, despite having a man fewer.

FW Sergio Aguero, 8 -- The gauntlet was thrown down to the Argentinian by his manager and boy did he answer. On at half-time for Iheanacho, he continued to cause problems and scored a very impressive goal from an almost impossible angle.

DF John Stones, NR -- A last-minute replacement for Sterling to help City withstand the Burnley fight-back, Stones shored up the home side's defence.

David Mooney is ESPN FC's Manchester City blogger. Twitter: @DavidMooney

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.