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For the third time in four seasons we’ve gone out of one of the cups against Manchester City, this time losing 3-0 in the League Cup after previously suffering defeats at the Etihad in the FA Cup in both 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons.

Just four weeks after the first of those FA Cup defeats City came to the Turf for a Premier League game, it ended 1-1with Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson scoring our equaliser some eight minutes from time. Since then, in league and cup, prior to last night, we’d played them five times. In those five games they’d scored twenty goals against us while our only reply was a late consolation goal from Robbie Brady last season on the Turf. With last night’s defeat it’s now one scored and 23 conceded.

That’s how tough a task it was always going to be even though Pep Guardiola had threatened to turn up with a very young and inexperienced team because of all the injuries he has in his squad right now. You would think no one else suffered from injuries.

On that subject there was some good news when the Burnley team was announced. James Tarkowski was back. He’d missed the four league and cup games previously with a toe injury but was passed fit to line up in the centre of the defence. At the other end of the pitch there was a welcome return for Ashley Barnes. We hadn’t seen him in first team action since he left the pitch at half time on New Year’s Day but he came through two under-23 games last week with no concerns.

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As for City and this very young team. It was, apart from Kyle Walker, Fernandinho, Benjamin Mendy, Aymeric Laporte, Rodri, Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and not forgetting Kevin de Bruyne. I think that suggested we might be in for another tough ninety minutes and so it proved.

For a time in the first half it looked like a battle between Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Sterling. For much of that time it was our goalkeeper who was winning the battle but he had no chance when Sterling opened the scoring ten minutes before half time hitting home a cross from Mendy.

Although they were the better side, it wasn’t all one way traffic. Barnes had a half chance although he might have been offside and could we maybe have had a penalty or two? I’m biased but I fail to see how we didn’t. Charlie Taylor was fouled in the box with the score at 0-0 and I’ve seen them given countless times but I really fail to see how the foul by Walker on Dwight McNeil wasn’t a penalty and that came at 1-0 so we could have gone in level at half time.

When you are just a goal behind you always feel you have a chance, even against City, but that lead was doubled just four minutes into the second half with Sterling again scoring, this time set up by one of their summer signings Ferran Torres and midway through the half Torres got one for himself and you feared another big, big score against them.

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Thankfully that didn’t happen. In difficult circumstances I thought we did OK and it was really pleasing to see Josh Benson get on for a little cameo. With such a shortage of senior players recently it has been one of the positives to see some of the younger players grabbing their opportunities and it is fair to say Benson has done just that.

It wouldn’t be a Burnley game would it without an injury? This time it was Matt Lowton, forced off just over ten minutes from the end after a foul by Sterling who collected the game’s first yellow card too. Hopefully Lowts won’t be unavailable for long. We need all our injured players coming back.

That’s it then, the League Cup run is over for another season and like most seasons is over and done with before the end of September. This time though it felt a little bit like a cup run with getting through two rounds. Next time we do that we can keep our fingers crossed that we don’t get a draw against Manchester City, a team that hasn’t lost in this competition since October four years ago.

Time for the football cliché – we can concentrate on the league and that will take us to St. James’ Park this Saturday.

The teams were;

Burnley: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Matt Lowton (Phil Bardsley 78), Kevin Long, James Tarkowski, Charlie Taylor, Dwight McNeil, Josh Brownhill, Ashley Westwood, Erik Pieters, Ashley Barnes (Josh Benson 69), Matěj Vydra (Chris Wood ht). Subs not used: Will Norris, Jimmy Dunne, Anthony Glennon, Mace Goodridge.

Manchester City: Zak Steffen, Kyle Walker (Harwood-Bellis 66), Fernandinho, Aymeric Laporte, Benjamin Mendy, Kevin de Bruyne (Bernardo Silva 64), Rodri (Nathan Aké 74), Cole Palmer, Ferran Torres, Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez. Subs not used: Ederson, Tommy Doyle, Phil Foden, Liam Delap.
Yellow Cards: Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva.

Referee: Andy Madley (Ossett).

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