Brilliant Bernardo brings victory – Manchester City 2-0 Burnley Review
Updated: Oct 17, 2021
City earn hard-fought three points at the Etihad. Goals from Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne took the game away from Burnley.
Pep Guardiola really rang the changes for this one. City’s Brazilian duo Gabriel Jesus and Ederson were not ready in time after their travels to South America. Ilkay Gundogan and Zinchenko were declared fit enough for a place on the bench. Zack Steffen started in the City goal with Joao Cancelo, John Stones, Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake in defence. Rodri anchored the midfield with Kevin De Bruyne (C) and Bernardo Silva alongside him. Raheem Sterling took up a central attacking position, flanked by Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez.
City started brightly as you would expect given the recent history of this fixture. Riyad Mahrez tested Nick Pope in the opening minutes, but the Burnley stopper was equal to his attempt.
City opened the scoring in the 12th minute through Bernardo Silva. Another save from Nick Pope prevented Phil Foden from scoring, but Bubblegum was on hand to tap in the rebound. Is there much better in this sport than a Bernardo Silva celebration?
Not letting up, City continued to attack Burnley. A Joao Cancelo shot teed up by Kevin De Bruyne was pushed out for a corner in the 15th minute. The Portuguese fullback was really enjoying himself out there.
A rare warning shot from Burnley arrived in the 22nd minute. Maxwel Cornet firing his effort over Zack Steffen’s bar. City were playing well but the job was far from done.
Mahrez was called over by Pep for a midgame pep talk. The Algerian was holding onto the ball a little too long at times and was struggling to make that killer pass. In the 33rd minute, he had an attempt on goal, but it was poor and sailed away into the crowd.
As the half went on City seemed to lose a little of that control and confidence from earlier in the game. Maxwel Cornet in particular looking threatening, but in the 40th minute, Raheem Sterling attempted a bicycle kick. His effort was unfortunately saved by Nick Pope. However, this didn’t do much to stop the momentum of the game swinging back the other way. City were looking poor by the halftime whistle. Aymeric Laporte found himself with a yellow card in injury time thanks to a poor challenge on Dwight McNeil.
Pep changed things up slightly for the start of the second half, with Phil Foden losing his favoured position wide left to Raheem Sterling and finding himself through the middle.
Riyad Mahrez found himself with a good chance in the 50th minute after some more good work from Bernardo Silva. Unfortunately, yet again, his shot was too high and scraped the bar on the way over. At 1-0, the game was still well in the balance.
Bernardo Silva was still running the show for City in the second half. Raheem Sterling looked a little better in the wide position that he did through the middle, but that is hardly a surprise, is it?
An hour in and City were getting into good positions and creating chances but just failing to put the game to bed. There is always a danger of conceding a sucker punch at the other end in games like this and Burnley were attacking more and more.
Finally, though in the 70th minute the second goal came. Kevin De Bruyne smashing in a shot after a break initiated by Riyad Mahrez. That’s what we needed! Pep traded Aymeric Laporte for Ruben Dias immediately after the goal.
If City thought that second goal would kill off any Burnley resistance, they were wrong. Chris Wood missed a good opportunity for the away side before he was replaced by Jay Rodriguez.
Phil Foden wanted a penalty in the 83rd minute after he was taken out by James Tarkowski, but he got nothing. Perhaps harsh on City. In fact, very harsh on City.
City ran out the game and claimed the vital three points. Fernandinho replaced Kevin De Bruyne and Cole Palmer replaced Bernardo Silva towards the end. All in all a good day for City.
Up next for Manchester City is a trip to Club Brugge in the Champions League. Kick-off is at 19:45 on Tuesday, October 19th.
This lad is somehow simultaneously the best right-back and left-back in the Premier League. His creativity from either side of the pitch is ridiculous and his defending is more than capable. There are very few players in the world with the technical ability that Joao possesses. His linkup with Bernardo Silva in particular is just beautiful. I honestly would not swap him for anyone at this moment in time.
Sooner or later, we need to have a difficult conversation about him. We all know the ability he has, but aside from England, when do we ever see it? He said just the other day that he wants to play more minutes and would potentially be open to a move to secure more football. I know that if he joined Barcelona tomorrow, he’d excel almost immediately. His lack of form isn’t because he doesn’t have it anymore. It’s something deeper and he needs to deal with it. We want the real Raheem Sterling back. Soon, please.
MAN OF THE MATCH
The man that proves goals and assists aren’t everything, even though he scored today. Bernardo Silva’s contributions on a football pitch are often overlooked by stats-driven fans of today's game. However, he’s easily one of the most dependable and creative midfielders in the world. He ran everything for City today, as he has done countless times before and will again. A fantastic player, and a player I cannot believe the club were willing to sell in the summer. Madness.
STEFFEN – 7
CANCELO – 8
STONES – 7
LAPORTE – 6
AKE – 6
RODRI – 7
DE BRUYNE – 7
BERNARDO – 9
FODEN – 6
STERLING – 5
MAHREZ – 6
Subs: Dias – 6, Fernandinho – 6, Palmer – N/A
Written by: @CityReportBen
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