Manchester City recorded their 12th league victory in a row on Sunday to move back above Liverpool to the top of the Premier League table.
A draw or better for Jurgen Klopp’s side at Newcastle next weekend will take the title race to the final match of the season and ensures Fantasy assets from Liverpool and City will have something to play for in Gameweek 38 – something FPL managers surely want in order to all-but-eliminate the risk of rotation or an “on the beach” mindset on May 12th.
City owe a debt of gratitude to goalline technology for their latest win, with Sergio Aguero‘s 62nd-minute strike crossing the line by little over one inch.
We reflect on the events of the game at Turf Moor in our Scout Notes article below.
Burnley 0-1 Manchester City
- Goal: Sergio Aguero (£11.9m)
- Assist: None
After two hard-fought victories in Double Gameweek 35, Manchester City were again made to graft for three points at Burnley on Sunday.
Recent games against Spurs and Manchester United were huge tests of City’s patience and ability to break down resilient defences and this was another big examination of their attacking credentials in Lancashire.
The Clarets may sit 15th in the Premier League table but this is not the porous Burnley side of the first half of 2018/19.
Coming into this match, Burnley had conceded the fewest “big chances” of any Premier League side when filtered by last six home matches.
Sean Dyche again named two strikers in his starting XI for the visit of Pep Guardiola’s side but the Burnley manager’s intent was obvious from the off, with two banks of four sitting behind the ball and Ashley Barnes (£5.6m) and Chris Wood (£6.3m) hustling the visitors when in possession.
The Clarets were successful in their first-half endeavours, frustrating an under-par City and limiting Guardiola’s side to two shots on target – both of which were tame efforts comfortably dealt with by Tom Heaton (£4.8m).
Raheem Sterling (£11.6m) and Leroy Sane (£9.3m) disappointed on the flanks, with David Silva‘s (£8.5m) blocked effort and Sergio Aguero‘s (£11.9m) curling shot wide as close as City came to breaking the deadlock before the interval.
Indeed, Wood arguably had the best chance of the first half – the Burnley striker, as he had done at Stamford Bridge last Monday, miscontrolling when clean through on goal.
The inevitable second-half onslaught ultimately proved too much for the stubborn Burnley backline but the game was settled by the buzz of referee Paul Tierney’s watch – Matthew Lowton (£4.6m) unable to prevent Aguero’s match-winning strike from crossing the goalline by a matter of centimetres.
Aguero had perhaps looked the likeliest to break the deadlock, having narrowly failed to capitalise on chances created by Ederson (£5.7m) and Ilkay Gundogan (£5.5m) in the first half before going on to pepper Heaton’s goal with eight shots after the break.
No player on show had more penalty box touches or efforts on goal than Aguero, who kickstarted City’s second-half siege by forcing Heaton into a near-post save just after half-time.
Pep Guardiola paid tribute to the Argentinean striker, who averages more FPL points per game than any forward this season:
He is a legend. He does that all the time, he scores important goals all the time, he is an incredible player.
Aguero was more of a threat than Sane or Sterling, with the German producing an underwhelming performance on the left flank before being withdrawn just after the hour mark.
Sterling was perhaps as anonymous as he has been all season in the opening 45 minutes but flickered into life after the break, working hard for his side and seeing two goalbound shots of his own blocked.
Bernardo was moved back into central midfield as a result of Fernandinho‘s (£5.3m) injury-related absence but the deeper position did little to minimise his goal threat, with the Portuguese playmaker creating more chances than anyone on show and trumping Sane and Sterling for penalty box touches and efforts on goal.
Bernardo was unlucky not to register an assist for City’s winning goal, too, with Aguero deemed to have had a blocked shot from Bernardo’s pass before following up to stab in the rebound.
City’s incredible run of clean sheets continued as they banked their 11th shut-out in 15 league games.
Burnley didn’t record a single shot on target throughout and had only eight touches in the City area – as many as Bernardo managed by himself in the Clarets’ box.
Some impressive defensive statistics are underpinning these clean sheets, with City having conceded fewer goals, shots on target, efforts in the box and big chances than any team in the last 15 Gameweeks.
Guardiola praised his troops for not allowing Burnley many free-kicks and corners, depriving the Clarets of perhaps their easiest route to a goal.
The City manager said:
We knew we just need to go forward, don’t make fouls and concede as little as possible the fouls and corners.
We didn’t concede one shot on target or one corner, we are a small team but we are smart, in the first half the pitch was so dry and it was slow but in the second half we knew we had to score our goal.
We controlled the long ball and we had chances to score the second goal – in the last minutes, anything can happen, always it is difficult if you cannot close the game.
Aymeric Laporte (£6.2m) and Kyle Walker (£6.4m) both supplemented their clean sheets with maximum bonus.
Sean Dyche said his side had deliberately made life “awkward” for City and hailed the display of his defenders, who had also excelled in the second half at Stamford Bridge last Monday.
The Burnley boss said:
I thought we had a real go and that was pleasing from a mentality point of view, because, obviously, when we get factually safe, people will wonder how will that affect the performance. But I thought we took the game on against a top side, very technical side.
We’re not going to beat them at their game, so we had to make it awkward, almost a cup tie feel, when the game feels completely different, and I thought we did that well.
We didn’t find the effectiveness in the front third, which is difficult against these sides, but we had the big moment with Woody in the first half, and we’ve kept at it, defended fantastically well, and you end up close to getting something from the game.
Ben Mee (£4.6m) and James Tarkowski (£4.7m) made 24 clearances, blocks and interceptions (CBIs) between them, with Mee coming in for particular praise from his manager:
He was excellent. After a tough start for everyone, I think, this season, a bit of confusion, cloudy minds – I still haven’t quite worked it out, because there were so many different things needs altering – but he’s been first class, since the turn.
He was terrific against Chelsea and excellent today, Tarky as well, Lowts, a lot of good performances defensively, but finding that balance in those games is tough.
Burnley have conceded only four goals in their last five matches despite facing attacking teams such as Wolves, Bournemouth, Chelsea and City, so could very well make life difficult for Everton and Arsenal in Gameweeks 37 and 38.
Robbie Brady (£5.4m) missed out as his partner is due to give birth but Phil Bardsley (£4.2m) still wasn’t fit to feature, with Dyche saying:
He got the last couple of days in but we didn’t want to make a decision on that. We have let that one go until next week.
Burnley XI (4-4-2): Heaton; Lowton, Tarkowski, Mee, Taylor; Hendrick (Gudmundsson 76′), Westwood, Cork, McNeil, Barnes, Wood (Vydra 72′).
Manchester City XI (4-3-3): Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Zinchenko; Bernardo Silva, Gundogan, Silva; Sterling (Otamendi 90+2′), Aguero (Stones 83′), Sane (Gabriel Jesus 64′).