BURNLEY — Manchester City restored their three-point lead at the top of the Premier League after goals from Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling secured a comfortable 2-0 win at Burnley on Wednesday.
The routine victory at Turf Moor left City on 47 points from 21 games with second-placed Manchester United, who crushed Southampton 9-0 on Tuesday, three points behind having played one more match.
City have won 13 straight matches in all competitions and Pep Guardiola’s side will head into Sunday’s clash with Liverpool at Anfield in confident mood after another faultless display.
Pep Guardiola was again without playmaker Kevin De Bruyne and striker Sergio Aguero but that hardly showed in a confident performance against a Burnley team that failed to produce a single shot on target.
It was a rare error from Nick Pope that handed City a third- minute opener, the Burnley keeper parrying Bernardo Silva’s shot straight out to Jesus who nodded the ball into the net.
The second, seven minutes before halftime, was a classic City goal with Riyad Mahrez feeding Ilkay Gundogan whose low cross was turned in by Sterling from close range.
After the break, Pope redeemed himself as he denied Sterling, who was clear on goal but could not beat the outstretched leg of the Burnley keeper.
Mahrez had the ball in the net in the 57th minute after good work from Jesus but the effort was disallowed for offside.
City felt they could have had a penalty when Jesus went down under a challenge from Tarkowski but Guardiola’s side looked content to settle for a two-goal win over a Burnley side who threatened little.
“We were lucky to score early and after the first half we struggled a bit to break the lines,” said Guardiola.
“The second half was much better. The start of the second half was the best and in the last 15-20 minutes we just passed the ball with no intention to attack to save energy.”
That energy will certainly be needed for a crucial run of games starting with a match against the champions before a home encounter with Tottenham Hotspur and a trip to Arsenal.
“It is the same points, but against a (title) contender,” Guardiola said of Sunday’s match.
“At the end the aim is to be champion. Against teams lower in the table people can say it’s guaranteed but we know how difficult it is,” added the Spaniard.
“Now comes another tough, tough group of games. Today we enjoy the game, have good food and tomorrow we start to think about Liverpool.”
Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond and Toby Davis; Reuters