Ederson stars, Raheem Sterling wasteful in frustrating Man City draw
A game that Manchester City were cantering through took a turn for the worst in the 71st minute when Raheem Sterling missed his second gilt-edged chance of the match, from Kyle Walker's pinpoint low cross.
With the home side sensing that City were labouring, they stepped up the pressure and eventually found a way through to equalise. In a season of constantly breaking records, this was the first time since Manuel Pellegrini's tenure that three consecutive away league games failed to deliver a win.
The move in the 38th minute was a snapshot of City's season so far: with the ball coming under pressure from Burnley attackers, Vincent Kompany and Ederson left their passes as late as possible before just managing to transfer the ball out to Walker, who made rapid progress and passed on to Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgian shot, Sergio Aguero lunged at the rebound and, from a scare in front of their own goal, City had very nearly scored. Not more than 10 seconds had elapsed in the two passages of penalty box action.
Profligacy has been a problem despite the hatful of goals City have scored and it has been even worse in the last few games. That Sterling was the worst culprit here was ironic as he is the very player responsible for the late wins vs. Bournemouth and Southampton earlier in the season.
Manager Rating out of 10
8 -- This week's snapshot of how Pep Guardiola's mind works: Sterling, recipient of a hug and a kiss for missing against West Brom in midweek, was unceremoniously pulled straight after the second and worst of his misses in this game. It's not all about soft love evidently.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ederson, 9 -- Called into action much earlier than usual and brought into serious service later on with a fine save low to his left from Ben Mee's clever volley and the piece de resistance, an acrobatic one-handed save to flip Aaron Lennon's rasping shot onto the goal frame.
DF Kyle Walker, 6 -- Lively on the right side, but produced a litany of overhit diagonals towards Sterling and let Johann Berg Gudmundsson sneak ahead of him for the goal.
DF Vincent Kompany, 7 -- All action start from the skipper at both ends, upending Ashley Barnes at the back and flattening Sam Vokes when joining the attack. Later collided with Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope as he dived to try and score. Became more ragged later as Burnley pressured, when a weak header allowed Lennon in for a chance just before the equaliser.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 7 -- Solid and reliable in blocking the beefy twin strikeforce, but also found himself unable to keep the home side at bay as they sensed there was an equaliser in the pipeline.
DF Danilo, 7 -- First meaningful contribution was to swipe a majestic right-footer around Pope for the opener. Was lively down the left and produced a repeat effort in the second half, which Pope tipped over. Under increasing pressure as the match wore on. Along with Sterling, responsible for the most shots on goal for City (nine between them).
MF Fernandinho, 7 -- Largely bypassed by Burnley's up and over tactics to start with, he was the usual pivot in the middle, dictating changes of pace and direction.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 6 -- After a slow start, he appeared to be growing into the match, but a second half littered with misplaced passes did not deliver on that promise. Booked for a late chop on Lennon.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 8 -- Even when slightly subdued, there are still a string of wonderful moments to admire, from the 50-yard diagonal ball to Aguero to the clever short corner rolled along the byline to Walker. Perpetual motion in a midfield that did not always function to its normal levels.
MF Bernardo Silva, 8 -- Really growing into his first-team place. Had a lot of possession and plenty of angles worked with that classy left foot. Sideways assist for Danilo's goal came as he left his right-wing station to try his luck on the left with immediate compensation.
MF Raheem Sterling, 5 -- If the first miss -- skying from close in after a truly sumptuous multiplayer move -- will keep him awake tonight, the second -- skewing Walker's precision low cross wide from in front of the goal -- could well relieve him of sleep until next weekend.
FW Sergio Aguero, 5 -- Hardly made his presence felt. Closest he came was watching De Bruyne's shot rebound to him and seeing it bounce off his leg to safety. It was the metaphor for his day.
MF, Brahim Diaz. -- Came on for Sterling directly after the latter's all-important gaffe and produced a lively cameo wide on the left, but was well marshalled by Mee and Kevin Long.
Simon is one of ESPN FC's Manchester City bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @bifana_bifana.