Manchester City’s players sing ‘Wonderwall’ after their dressing room lights went out at Turf Moor but Pep Guardiola saw the funny side of it
The lights went out in the Manchester City dressing room before kick-off at Burnley – but when the players took to the pitch, they made sure their Premier League title hopes burn on, writes Sky Sports News’ Ben Ransom.
Yet make no mistake, the pressure remains well and truly on Pep Guardiola’s side, despite thrashing the Clarets 4-1 at Turf Moor on Tuesday night.
2:47 FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City’s 4-1 win at Burnley in the Premier League
There aren’t many more challenging places in English football to come on a cold night than Burnley, especially on the back of a draw at Newcastle that left them 11 points behind league leaders Liverpool.
But on what could have been an extremely uncomfortable evening, the visitors played with the calm authority of the double Premier League champions they are, controlling midfield even to walking pace at times.
It was perhaps a blueprint Anthony Joshua could follow on Saturday night – a heavyweight trying to overcome his doubts, keep a plucky underdog at bay with the jab, and then unleash devastating attacks.
But City’s title reign is still hanging in the balance.
In spite of injuries, City still have great quality
It would be easy for Guardiola to blame injuries for his side falling so far behind the Reds, but he’s so far resisted any urge to do so.
And even during such a comprehensive victory, Aymeric Laporte’s continued absence was evident as Burnley breached the City defence late on to deny them a first clean sheet in eight matches.
But you do not break the records Manchester City have over the last two seasons without having immense quality, and City have that up front in abundance. Each of their four goals was of the highest individual brilliance.
Gabriel Jesus, who has appeared to struggle to fill the shoes of Sergio Aguero, silenced Turf Moor with a fantastic curling finish to open the scoring – one that was reminiscent of the player that arrived from Brazil with a bang in 2017.
Then he capped his excellent night by volleying home a delicious cross from Bernardo Silva to make it two.
Summer signing Rodri has been going through a difficult spell early in his City career, but he more than made up for Ilkay Gundogan’s absence when his belter thundered into the net to make it three.
And the fourth came from Riyad Mahrez, perhaps City’s most vulnerable player to dips in confidence, yet he showed the self-belief required to come off the subs bench and steer a shot home from the outside of the box.
Where does it leave the title race?
Guardiola joked at full-time that the title race was “over” after what he had read in the media this week.
He appears actively trying not to talk about the title, calling such thoughts “crazy” given what is now an eight-point gap, albeit with Liverpool to play Everton on Wednesday.
But the performance on the pitch showed that both he and his players will not give up their trophy without a fight.
Man City vs Man Utd
December 7, 2019, 5:00pm
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Like last season, they’ll need help from elsewhere. Nine months ago, they got a favour from Everton when the Blues held Liverpool to a goalless draw, giving the Merseyside rivals a claim to have helped deny the Reds the title.
A repeat from the Toffees would be very welcome – and from the rest of the chasing pack, with Liverpool still yet to lose having only dropped two points so far.
A hat-trick of titles for City might be improbable, but they have shown they will take this right to the wire if they can.