Premier League

Burnley 0-2 Man City: Player ratings as Cityzens reclaim Premier League top spot

Grey Whitebloom
Manchester City celebrate Kevin De Bruyne's opening goal against Burnley
Manchester City celebrate Kevin De Bruyne's opening goal against Burnley / Jan Kruger/GettyImages

Manchester City cruised to a 2-0 win at Burnley's Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon, returning to the top of the Premier League table in a performance aided by an early lead.

Liverpool's lunchtime win over Watford nudged City down to second place by kick-off. Yet, it took less than five minutes for Kevin De Bruyne to thump his side ahead and back to the summit.

With a move that could have been feverishly scrawled on Pep Guardiola's whiteboard, Rodri picked out Raheem Sterling sneaking behind Burnley's close-knit blockade. Sterling cushioned the ball into De Bruyne's path for an emphatic finish lashed into the roof of the net.

With a lead to lean on, City dialled back the tempo to a crawl, almost urging Burnley to creep out of their rearguard to open space between the lines.

Despite Burnley's insistence on a lack of persistence, De Bruyne found an unguarded patch of grass to set Sterling down the wing with an unbalancing one-two. The England international provided his second assist of the afternoon, drilling the ball back from the byline for Ilkay Gundogan to volley in City's second after 25 minutes.

After an opening half in which Burnley seemed in awe of a club their manager described as one of the game's "superpowers", Sean Dyche's side took a more proactive approach.

The hosts reminded City's backline they too were allowed to attack around the hour mark. A pair of punted free kicks from goalkeeper Nick Pope unsettled the visiting defence which lost the ball in the bright spring sunshine.

Ashley Westwood snapped into a tackle on Jack Grealish in City's half, providing the familiar bite that had been missing from Burnley's game, teeing up Jay Rodriguez for Burnley's first shot on target of the match (and just their third attempt all game) with 15 minutes left to play.

However, City largely kept Burnley at arm's length as both sides turn their focus to season-defining matches on the horizon.

Burnley player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Kevin De Bruyne, James Tarkowski
Charlie Taylor (left), James Tarkowski (centre) and Connor Roberts (right) watch on as Kevin De Bruyne opens the scoring / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Nick Pope (GK) - 5/10 - Barely able to see De Bruyne's opener, Pope was wrong-footed by a faint but decisive deflection for Gundogan's second.

Connor Roberts (RB) - 6/10 - Muzzled his opposite winger better than his teammate on the other flank.

Kevin Long (CB) - 4/10 - On his first Premier League appearance of the season, Ben Mee's stand-in was unfortunate to divert City's second past his own keeper.

James Tarkowski (CB) - 5/10 - Failed to capitalise upon one of the rare slip-ups from City on an even rarer foray out of his own penalty box.

Charlie Taylor (LB) - 3/10 - Left resembling a claret and blue training cone at times as Sterling and co repeatedly bamboozled the fullback.

2. Midfielders

Ashley Westwood (CM) - 4/10 - Desperately struggled to get a boot on the ball at all as City had a laughable monopoly of possession.

Jack Cork (CM) - 4/10 - Failed to assert any hint of influence on proceedings in a midfield that was swamped.

Josh Brownhill (CM) - 5/10 - His presence alone clogged up midfield but, despite his energetic efforts, didn't offer much else.

3. Forwards

Wout Weghorst, Rodrigo, Nathan Ake
Wout Weghorst (centre) challenging for the ball ahead of City's Rodri (left) and Nathan Ake / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Aaron Lennon (RW) - 6/10 - Burnley's brightest outlet on the rare occasions he was provided with possession in City's half.

Wout Weghorst (ST) - 3/10 - Got away with a nasty whack on Rodri's neck that only earned a yellow card early on but could barely get near the ball or a City player for the rest of the game.

Dwight McNeil (LW) - 4/10 - Spent more time as an auxiliary left-back than any vague attacking force before Sean Dyche hooked him off at half-time.

4. Substitutes

Maxwel Cornet (LW) - 5/10 - Hanging higher up the pitch than McNeil, Cornet gave Kyle Walker more to consider.

Jay Rodriguez (ST) - 6/10 - Offered something different as the first Burnley player to force Ederson into a save.

Ashley Barnes (ST) - N/A

Man City player ratings

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

Connor Roberts, Joao Cancelo
City's Joao Cancelo (right) tangling with Burnley's fullback Connor Roberts / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Ederson (GK) - 7/10 - Spraying some outrageous passes around the pitch from the confines of his own penalty area.

Kyle Walker (RB) - 7/10 - Carried out what little defensive work he had to do coolly and calmly.

Aymeric Laporte (CB) - 6/10 - Playing on his unnatural side, the left-footer was afforded all the time in the world to pick his passes in the first half. A lot less composed when dealing with high balls tumbling out of the sky.

Nathan Ake (CB) - 7/10 - Gamely handled the robust approach of Weghorst.

Joao Cancelo (LB) - 7/10 - So casual on the ball it would be condescending if his nonchalant flicks and drag-backs didn't come off so effortlessly.

6. Midfielders

Rodri (CM) - 7/10 - Snaffling up loose balls dotted around the middle third, Rodri went close with a couple of sighters himself.

Kevin De Bruyne (CM) - 8/10 - As well as charging into the box to score, De Bruyne was involved in every third of the pitch to lubricate City's progression towards goal.

Ilkay Gundogan (CM) - 7/10 - Pushing very far forward to add another navy shirt for Burnley's backline to focus on when City teased their way into the final third.

7. Forwards

Phil Foden
Phil Foden made his ninth consecutive Premier League appearance against Burnley / Jan Kruger/GettyImages

Raheem Sterling (RW) - 8/10 - Caused all manner of problems with chalk on his boots to stretch Burnley's narrow shape.

Phil Foden (ST) - 7/10 - Didn't quite catch Pope out with a cheeky flicked shot from close range on an afternoon with more on creating space for others than himself.

Jack Grealish (LW) - 6/10 - Skirted around the fringes of the contest.

8. Substitutes

Gabriel Jesus (ST) - 6/10 - Wasn't presented with an open goal but was on the end of a flurry of half-chances he may have converted on another afternoon.

Bernardo Silva (CM) - 6/10 - N/A