Clarets lose against City again
Last night saw us beaten 2-0 at home by Manchester City which took us back below Newcastle United in the Premier League table with Brighton then moving ahead of us later in the evening with victory at Liverpool.
Manchester City. They only beat us once in our first four Premier League meetings. Mind you, the one defeat was a memorable 6-1 home loss that ended in ‘110 Club Gate’. That run of four games ended with George Boyd’s winner against them on the Turf in 2015.
It’s been hard going since, it is fair to say. There have been ten league games and three cup ties against them since. We’ve lost all but one of them, the exception being the 1-1 home draw against them three years ago yesterday. With last night’s result it has taken the number of goals conceded in those 13 games to 42 with just five scored.
City are one of the big six clubs in the Premier League. While our record isn’t brilliant against any of the other five, it has to be said that during this period of City dominance against us we have beaten Liverpool twice, beaten Spurs at home with a brilliant performance, sensationally beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford and recorded wins at both Chelsea and Arsenal.
The two games against them are likely to be the most difficult games of the season and for that reason I find it really difficult to write an overly critical report of last night’s game. They might no longer have David Silva, a genius of a footballer in my view, they might have been without such as Kevin de Bruyne and Sergio Agüero, who has scored nine goals against us, but they still turned out with an outstanding looking line up and a bench that could probably take on most Premier League clubs.
The injury bug has hit us again and last night we had to play without any of Charlie Taylor, Josh Brownhill, Robbie Brady, Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes. Despite the loss of five players who have been regular first team players this season, the starting line up still looked strong but this loss of players meant a very inexperienced bench which included two players with no Premier League experience and four more with very limited experience.
At this point, I must make mention of the minute’s applause ahead of kick off as a tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore who passed away in his 101st year this week. An unknown a year ago, his fundraising for the NHS inspired so many of us and it was absolutely right that football, like the rest of the country, recognised him this week.
From that moment on you are struggling but one ball forward nearly found the impressive Matěj Vydra but generally there wasn’t really much to encourage us as we searched for an equaliser while City just about put the game to bed some seven minutes from half time when Raheem Sterling added a second when he turned in a low cross.
That didn’t make the half time brew, the only advantage of watching from home, any more palatable with the one bit of good news coming from Fulham where Leicester were also two goals up.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only Burnley fan who wondered just how many they might score in the second half so to our credit we actually kept a clean sheet in the second 45 minutes although it was a close run thing with them having a goal disallowed for offside and being denied what looked like a penalty.
Sean Dyche made three substitutions although I would think the first one, Dale Stephens for Jack Cork, was to not over play Cork who is coming back from injury. The other two were to give young players Joel Mumbongo and Josh Benson a few more minutes in the Premier League.
2-0 in the end. It could have been worse I suppose but I think we battled and defended really well to ensure they didn’t get an easy ride against us on the toughest of nights against some outstanding talent. It’s not often I single out opposition players but how good is Rúben Dias? I suppose that’s what you get when you pay over £60 million for a player but I thought he looked something special.
Down two places, but still eight points clear of the drop zone. We do still need points, I do think four wins, but as long as we can continue at around a point per game then I don’t think we should have any worries.
There were positives last night which included more game time for players such as Cork and Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson who said he was delighted to get through ninety minutes while admitting: “They are a fantastic side. They keep the ball so well and they’ve got options everywhere.”
At least we can say that’s City out of the way for another season. I’d be amazed now if they are not crowned champions in May.
The teams were;
Burnley: Nick Pope, Matt Lowton, James Tarkowski, Ben Mee, Erik Pieters, Jόhann Berg Guðmundsson, Ashley Westwood (Josh Benson 81), Jack Cork (Dale Stephens 71), Dwight McNeil, Jay Rodriguez (Joel Mumbongo 77), Matěj Vydra. Subs not used: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Jimmy Dunne, Richard Nartey, Anthony Glennon.
Yellow Cards: Dale Stephens, Joel Mumbongo.
Manchester City: Ederson, João Cancelo (Oleksandr Zinchenko 64), John Stones, Rúben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, Bernardo Silva, Rodri, Ilkay Gündogan, Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling. Subs not used: Zack Steffen, Kyle Walker, Eric García, Benjamin Mendy, Fernandinho, Claudio Gomes, Phil Foden, Ferran Torres.
Yellow Card: Ederson.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (Leeds).