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Five Things We Learned - Manchester City 2-0 Burnley (Premier League)

Pep Guardiola's side came away with all three points after seeing off Burnley 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium.

Goals from Bernardo Silva and Kevin de Bruyne did the business, with Manchester City left frustrated not to score more.

Though the visitors threatened on a few occasions, it was ultimately a straightforward win that saw the Blues stay in touch with slight league leaders, Liverpool and Chelsea. 

Here's what we learned from a professional win at the Etihad...


1. De Bruyne does it himself

Today was far from the first time we saw Kevin de Bruyne take matters into his own hands. 

After a frustrating afternoon on the ball, the Belgian put the game beyond Burnley's reach with an emphatic strike to wrap things up. His celebration certainly suggested that the playmaker felt the game should've been over long ago. 

A lot of people have said that De Bruyne hasn't been in great form of late, but it doesn't help that the movement in front of him is well below par at present. 

Where he once had Agüero, Sané and an in-form Raheem Sterling making runs, now KDB is trying to make chances for an out-of-form Mahrez and a confidence-lacking Sterling playing out of position. 

We may not need a striker to win the league, but De Bruyne could do with one to get back to his best.


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2. Foden shows the value of the long shot

Under Pep Guardiola, even excellent long-range shooters like Kevin de Bruyne and Yaya Touré have played with a little more restraint than usual, preferring only to take long shots when the opportunity presents itself. 

Today it was Phil Foden who proved that strikes from distance don't always need to go in to be successful. 

His effort from range was spilt by Nick Pope, allowing Bernardo Silva to sneak in and slot home the rebound- just as the Portuguese international did to score the winner against Leicester last month. 

If Foden had opted to be patient, as is usually City's approach, the goal would never have come. It goes to show that sometimes a little brute force is what's needed to get the job done.


3. A defensively dominant display

No Dias? No Walker? No problem. 

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Two of Manchester City's best defenders were missing from the starting XI today, but that didn't stop the home side from keeping Burnley at bay. 

Aymeric Laporte started alongside John Stones, who made his first start of the season for City after playing well in an England shirt all summer. 

The performances of Stones, Laporte and makeshift left-back Nathan Aké demonstrated that City can be a solid side even without last campaign's Premier League Player of the Season - or Walker, who has bailed out the blues on countless occasions.

With help from Rodri and Joao Cancelo, City kept a clean sheet for the 6th time in eight league games this season. 


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4. Zack Steffen: Mr. Reliable

Now into his second season as Manchester City's backup goalkeeper, USA international Zack Steffen kept his first-ever Premier League clean sheet today. Burnley made him work for it, too. 

When Maxwell Cornet (a name that rightly gives any City fan nightmares) looked almost certain to score in the first half, Steffen did brilliantly to make a save, forcing Cornet to fire over the bar on the rebound. 

This was just the latest in a long string of solid performances from Steffen, who's starting to cement a reputation as the most dependable reserve 'keeper that City have had in a very long time. 

The only question is how much longer he'll stay, because the American could easily find a Premier League club to start regularly for if he wanted.


5. Front three frustration

It would have sounded ridiculous, a couple of years ago, to say that in 2021 the weakest part of City's squad would be their forwards by a long shot. 

But this game was another example of a problem that's plagued the blues for nearly a year now - our attackers just aren't at their best.

It was another tough game for Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez, with the former looking low on confidence and the latter making the wrong decision time and time again. 

We really missed Gabriel Jesus, who will undoubtedly be back in for the next few Premier League games. 

He's provided the clinical edge that our other forwards (save Foden) have lacked this season. Sure, when Gundogan, De Bruyne and Bernardo are banging in goals you can get away with it, but that won't last forever.


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