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 By Simon Curtis

David Silva stands out in magic midfield as Man City beat Burnley 4-1

Manchester City have now reached a level of confidence and delivery of performance that they can afford to go to sleep for 45 minutes against the Premier League's surprise team of the season, give them a half-time lead and still wipe the floor with them by the end. The 4-1 scoreline was indeed a fair reflection of the home side's dominance over Burnley, but the way it was attained was a little unusual.


Pep Guardiola is happy to let the majority of the main players play on. The tired limbs argument is balanced on these occasions by the sheer exuberance of players who want to play every game. After all, if you lose your place in this side, it may be a while before you get back in. This was the club's 15th consecutive home win and maintains their unbeaten "start" to the 20117-18 season.


A flat first half seemed to be spelling trouble for City. Was this finally the start of a proper dip after the 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace? Were we actually witnessing an end to the all-pervading dominance? The answer: No.

Manager Rating out of 10

9 -- Another snapshot of how the manager's mind works: Opportunity to play second string rejected for a strong side. Finally leading comfortably, substitutes brought on? Kyle Walker, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva.

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

GK Claudio Bravo, 6 -- First uncomfortable moment was struggling to deal with a heavy back pass by Oleksandr Zinchenko, which he put out for a corner. Missed Ben Mee's header that came back along the goal line from the far post, but little chance to stop Ashley Barnes's strongly hit opener.

DF Danilo, 8 -- Delivered two cracking crossfield balls to Leroy Sane in the first half hour and did his best work powering forward to good effect. Big part in the third goal, breaking infield and passing across to David Silva to free Sane.

DF John Stones, 7 -- Looked aghast as his sliced clearance put Barnes through for the opener, but was generally calm and accurate in only his second game back after injury.

DF Nicolas Otamendi, 7 -- Prominent start gradually quashed as Burnley stole the lead in a fitful first half. More dominant after the break as City took the game by the scruff of the neck.

DF Oleksandr Zinchenko, 7 -- Such a cultured left foot. One cushioned pass inside to Sergio Aguero on the volley showcased his awareness of space on a cluttered left-hand side. Replaced by Walker after 72 minutes.

David Silva
David Silva worked his magic in midfield, leading Manchester City to a 4-1 win over Burnley.

MF Fernandinho, 8 -- Cool and authoritative head in among the flying studs and a reliable aid to Zinchenko in the opening minutes. Raking passes out of deep midfield and always ready to stick his foot in when the going gets tough.

MF Ilkay Gundogan, 8 -- Always available and mobile in a busy midfield, the German played one of his best games for City so far. Lightning-quick awareness to set Aguero free from the free kick and a masterful back-heel to put the striker through again a minute later. Two assists in the flash of an eye.

MF David Silva, 9 -- Game of turns, swivels and threaded passes from a player who could be forgiven for having his mind elsewhere. One amazing pass through the eye of a needle to Gundogan almost brought a goal and his precision pass set up Sane for the third goal. Won back possession in the build-up for the second too.

MF Leroy Sane, 7 -- So wasteful in a first half of over-hit crosses and baulked passes. Like the team as a whole, suddenly began to fire after the break, although his miss from Danilo's blocked shot was due to trying to flick the ball when a solid contact with the instep would have done.

MF Raheem Sterling, 7 -- Incredible work rate, tracking back to help out in midfield. Energy put to more positive use after the break, as he played a big part in stretching a tiring Burnley rearguard.

FW Sergio Aguero, 8 -- Chief focus of the turnaround as he shot two goals in a minute with the valuable assistance of Gundogan. Always available to receive a pass.


DF Kyle Walker, NR -- Came on for Zinchenko after 72 minutes to shore up the right-back slot.

MF Kevin De Bruyne, NR -- Surprise appearance after 75 minutes to replace Gundogan. First touch bounced off his shin, then he swept Sane through for the run that set up the final goal for Bernardo Silva.

MF Bernardo Silva NR -- On for the last 12 minutes in place of Aguero, he displayed all of his deft left-foot skills and got into the box to pass Sane's cross between two defenders and into the net for the fourth goal.

Simon is one of ESPN FC's Manchester City bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @bifana_bifana.


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