Burnley 0 – 3 Manchester City

Erling Haaland of Manchester City did not require much time to announce his presence in the new Premier League season, as he scored a double in the champions’ 3-0 walkover against promoted Burnley at Turf Moor on Friday. The Norwegian striker, who had registered a Premier League record 36 goals plus a total of 52 in all competitions in the previous campaign, gave his side the lead four minutes into the match. Haaland then added a second with a spectacular shot in the 36th minute, putting City in an unassailable position. Kevin De Bruyne had to be replaced in the first half due to an injury, and manager Pep Guardiola said the Belgium midfielder was set to miss a “few weeks” due to a similar hamstring problem he sustained in the Champions League final in June. Rodri scored City’s third from close range after 75 minutes, making it a discouraging return to the top flight for Vincent Kompany’s Burnley. To finish off their misery, Anass Zaroury was dismissed in stoppage time for a bad tackle on Kyle Walker – the decision was upgraded from a yellow card by referee Craig Pawson following VAR review. If anyone had doubts about Haaland’s ability to replicate the remarkable feats of his initial season in England, or thought it might take him a while to get up to speed, they were swiftly dispelled. City, who had no new faces in their starting XI, gave an early signal to any team hoping to prevent them from clinching a fourth consecutive English title. Guardiola commented that “We started well. We found a goal, we struggled a bit after. We gave away balls, our pass created problems but after a while we played much, much better.” Haaland’s opener was a typical poacher’s effort, as he jabbed a shot past Trafford following Rodri’s header from De Bruyne’s cross. Burnley responded well to the early setback, but De Bruyne was unable to last much longer and had to be substituted by Mateo Kovacic. City then proceeded to double their lead, with Haaland clinically curling the ball into the net from a pass by Julián Álvarez. City managed the second half patiently, eventually finding a third when Rodri thumped in a set piece in the penalty area. Haaland was taken off late on, while Josko Gvardiol also got some playing time. Burnley had an evening to forget, both on and off the pitch – the club had to apologise for an object being thrown at City’s Rico Lewis in the first half. Kompany, who won two of his four City titles under Guardiola, believes his team will get better after this game. He said, “You can’t feel good with a defeat, but I’ve seen enough to know we have made progress since the last time we played them. This is going to be the worst we play this season, this team is only going to get stronger.”

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