After Manchester City’s 2-1 win away at Burnley, Club journalists David Clayton, Caroline Oatway and Rob Pollard dissected the game and offered their thoughts on the performance.
1Right place, right time
The brace that lifted Sergio Aguero to fourth in City’s all-time goalscoring charts will not be winning any beauty competitions any time soon.
In terms of significance for the 2016/17 season though, it could be right up there.
On an afternoon in which chances were at a premium against a physical Burnley side, Aguero netted twice following scruffy passages of play – but it’s true what they say: it doesn’t matter how they go in.
Burnley had been one of only two Premier League teams the Argentine had not scored against – that target was achieved with a classic case of poaching, as he pounced to covert at the backpost after a corner had caused mayhem.
He didn’t know a lot about his second, though he had Fernandinho to thank. The midfielder did well to keep the ball in play before cutting back. The ball literally hit Aguero and bounced in.
Call it luck if you like but Kun had to be in those positions to make those goals happen. It’s no accident.
Throughout his career, Aguero has scored so many different types of goal. In 2016 alone, he has scored 27 – eight more than any other player – and he’s netted 33 in his last 34 league appearances.
One more goal is needed to equal Colin Bell’s record and with his current form, it may not be long before Aguero rewrites the history books… yet again.
2 Otamendi: A tower of strength
He may not get all the plaudits he deserves, but Argentina centre-half Nicolas Otamendi has been the axis of the City defence this season.
He’s not the tallest of centre-halves, but he takes some beating in the air and is prepared to put his body on the line for the team, time and time again.
Forceful but fair in the tackle, a superb reader of the game and his passing out of defence is also perhaps a little underrated.
So while Otamendi isn’t getting the headlines or man-of-the-match awards at the moment, he is certainly putting in a shift for his side each time he plays and his contribution so far has been excellent.
3City’s character on display
For the first time in the Premier League this season, City came from behind to win – and as Fernandinho said in his post-match interview, it’s wins such as this that are the mark of champions.
City weren’t at their best but they found a way to get the points. Pep Guardiola has now masterminded victories away at Stoke City, Crystal Palace and Burnley, defying the narrative that some of English football’s trickiest grounds would cause him tactical difficulties.
4Fernando’s quiet effectiveness
Brazilian midfielder Fernando had a superb game. Burnley were difficult opponents, playing a predictably direct, physical style and looking to make life uncomfortable for City’s back four.
But Fernando gave City real security and protection. He read the game brilliantly and won five tackles from five attempted, made three vital interceptions and won all five of his aerial duels.
Without him, it could have been a very different result.
Yaya Toure returned to the City side last week and inspired the Blues to a 2-1 win at Crystal Palace. He repeated the trick again this week as City improved their already fine away record at Burnley.
The 33-year-old may not have the same engine that once saw him play a box-to-box role and score 24 goals from midfield in a single season, but his metronomic passing proved decisive once again at Turf Moor. Few can match Yaya’s ability to keep possession.
He completed 91 percent of his passes and Burnley struggled to get a grip of him.
It’s great to see him back.