Vincent Kompany had been telling us all week to ignore Pep Guardiola’s bouquets, the Catalan’s siren voice hinting that the Burnley manager was such a talent that sooner or later he was bound to coach Manchester City.
Kompany knew it was all too much, too young, a case for being drowned in praise before climbing to the lifeboats. After all, Kompany has been in enough Manchester City squads and turned away enough contenders at the Etihad to know what’s likely to come his way.
But Burnley is a phenomenon in The Championship, running away with the league and as such this felt like an intriguing competition, with the added twist of apprentice Kompany going up against his master Guardiola.
And then Burnley met the monster Erling Haaland. There is no shame in submitting to him. Not many tactical plans survive contact with the Norwegian. Still, the experience is brutal. And all the more bruised when Kevin De Bruyne is given time and space in midfield.
There isn’t a team in world football that allows that and escapes unscathed. Haaland now has six hat-tricks this season – more than the rest of the Premier League players combined – 42 goals in mid-March and nine this week alone.
Manchester City advanced to the FA Cup semi-finals after beating Burnley in comfort
Star man Erling Haaland increased his tally for the season to 42 goals after scoring another hat-trick
Manchester City (3-2-4-1): Ortega, Dias, Walker, Laporte, Rodri (Phillips 66′), Alvarez, De Bruyne (Grealish 89′), Lewis (Gomez 66′), Foden, Haaland (Palmer 63′), Mahrez
Unused subs: Stones, Ake, Gundogan, Ederson
scorers: Haaland (32, 35, 59), Alvarez (62, 73) Palmer (68)
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Burnley (4-2-3-1): Peacock-Farrell, Roberts, Al Dakhil, Beyer, Maatsen (Taylor 77′), Cullen, Gudmundsson (Cork 45′), Tella (Obafemi 64′), Da Silva (Bastien 77′), Zaroury, Foster (Barnes 45′) )
unused subs: Schnur, Manuel, Dervisoglu, Muric
Manager: Vincent Kompany
referee: John Brooks
Clive Allen, who scored 49 goals for Tottenham in 1986/87, sat here in the stands. He knows that the post-war record is underway. Dixie Dean has passed away, but at least his family can rest assured that his record 60 league goals in 1927-28 remains safe. Probably.
However, sixty goals in all competitions in a season could be within Haaland’s reach. Nobody in the world has seen anything like it in English football.
“I don’t know what number this guy will reach,” said Guardiola. “Probably he’ll have a problem in the future because he has three out of four points in every game and that’s not going to happen. But then he’s so positive, so optimistic when that happens, he never complains.”
Kompany, a world-class central defender, felt for his players. “I’ve played against Messi, Ronaldinho, Zidane and Cristiano Ronaldo. They are part of a special elite and even the best defenders have a hard time stopping these guys. Someone like Erling will always find a way.” That’s quite a list to check the name against.
Burnley was brave, at least give them that. They went on City man for man and refused to change their style of play. “Burnley’s Premier League aggregate against City is about 34-1 if he’s doing exactly the opposite style so someone had to try it the other way,” reasoned Kompany.
He looked the part sartorially: a slim black suit, white t-shirt and baseball cap is pretty much the Euro Coach look. And for 32 minutes his team too looked like they had brought City together with quirky positional formations and off-ball runs, even producing a dangerous moment when Nathan Tella forced Stefan Ortgea into a sharp save.
Burnley boss and City legend Vincent Kompany endured a nightmare return to the Etihad
Julian Alvarez also came into play with a brace against the in-form championship leaders
And when Jordan Beyer brought in a nice ball for Tella in the 28th minute and it took a great tackle from Ruben Dias to save the day.
But it didn’t help Burnley that their positional reinterpretation of English football resulted in Ameen Al-Dakhill deciding not to pursue Haaland after initially challenging a header in the 32nd minute. There are interesting underdogs who take on the role of centre-back in modern football, but standing around while the world footballer’s most accomplished forward takes off for a follow-up run isn’t one of them.
Julian Alvarez then threaded through the kind of ball that Haaland just gobbles up. Sprinting towards it, his finish was exquisite, delaying until goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farnell was signed and then pushing past him.
Kompany immediately assembled his team on the bench to brief them but wasn’t in the playbook and conceded a second against Haaland three minutes later. This time it was the brilliance of Kevin De Bruyne’s ball in centre-back Connor Roberts, which was simply undefending, followed by Phil Foden, who rolled his cross into Haaland’s run to make it 2-0.
When Kompany came on at half-time and Ashley Barnes and Jack Cork came on, you had a hunch it could be pointless now. So it has proven itself. Foden buzzed around like the best kid on the playground and accelerated past his man after 60 minutes, hiding his shot only to see it bounce off the post. Guess who was there, pulling a perfectly coordinated swing the first time and nailing the rebound for their hat trick?
Kevin De Bruyne was at his best against Burnley, adding two assists to the 6-0 win
Three minutes later, Riyad Mahrez met De Bruyne and Alvarez completed the sharp move to make it 4-0. If it were cricket, City would have declared. As it was, Guardiola did the only decent thing and took Haaland away.
But even that couldn’t stop the flood of goals. Cole Palmer, the 20-year-old substitute for Haaland, would have had a clear chance to make it 5-0 in the 67th minute after Peacock-Farrell deflected a Foden cross into his path. Of course he took it.
De Bruyne then played one of those wonderful balls through a ragged Burnley midfield in the 73rd minute for Alvarez. And there’s nothing the Argentine loves more than running on goal and as he spun and spun poor Al-Dakhill landed on his butt to make it 6-0.
The grace for Burnley is that they stopped there. At least Kompany had the last word. “What everyone sees are their goals [but] his movement in the box, his athleticism and pace to get to the bottom of those balls… and he’s in the right place for his development, with the right coach. I can see that he is still improving a lot. He’ll get better.’ Which is equally amazing and terrifying.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-11876471/Manchester-City-6-0-Burnley-Erling-Haaland-nets-hat-trick-hosts-secure-semi-final-spot.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Manchester City 6-0 Burnley: Erling Haaland scores another hat-trick as hosts secure semi-final spot