Raheem Sterling spurns glorious opportunity clinch victory for the Blues
FA Premier League
Saturday 03 February 2018, 12.30 KO
City: Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Danilo, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, B Silva, Sterling (Diaz 74), Aguero
Unused: Bravo, Laporte, Adarabioyo, Zinchenko, Toure
Goals: Danilo (22)
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the match: Ederson
A late equaliser by Johann Berg Gudmondsson saw Burnley steal a point in Saturday's early kick off at Turf Moor. The Blues had led through Danilo's first-half wonder strike, but missed a number of opportunities to put the game beyond Burnley. Raheem Sterling missed the most gilt-edged chance of them all, somehow failing to score from two yards out with the goal gaping, although Pep Gurdiola refused to blame the young forward.
"That is football," Guardiola said. "Today Raheem missed one chance - it can happen.
"It was not the first time that someone had missed a chance and it was not just Raheem, it happened a lot in this game.
"When we arrived for the last action for a pass, a one-against-one or to dribble against the central defender and shoot, we were not able to do that.
"I am delighted with the way we played but you have to score goals and we were not able to do that, which is why we dropped two points."
City made two changes to the starting XI which had beaten West Brom in midweek, with Danilo, Ilkay Gundogan and Vincent Kompany coming in for Oleksandr Zinchenko, David Silva and Aymeric Laporte. It was Kompany's first start in over a month, and City's captain looked rusty at times on his comeback. With seven players out injured, Guardiola was only able to name six substitutes on the bench, although there was a suspicion that this was pointedly sending a message to the FA as much as anything. The City manager had made his displeasure clear at what he saw as the failure of referees to protect his players from some robust challenges in recent weeks.
The Blues started brightly here, as you might expect from a team who had dropped just seven points all season. Indeed, they were as low as 1/5 for the win here in some matchbook betting odds. City enjoyed the majority of possession in the first half, but Danilo's superb shot from outside the area after 22 minutes was scant reward given the extent of their dominance. Aguero, Gundogan and Sterling all had chances to extend City's lead, whilst Ben Mee had a smart volley saved by Ederson.
Further chance were spurned in the second half, with City perhaps guilty of overplaying at times in the box, and they almost paid the price after 69 minutes when Ederson made a superb save to prevent Aaron Lennon from equalising. Moments later City broke on the counter attack, and Kyle Walker's precise cross found Sterling unmarked inside the six yard box. It looked harder to miss, but somehow Sterling put it past the far post. This spurred the home crowd, and Burnley began to apply greater pressure on Ederson's goal. Eventually the Blues were made to pay, as Gudmondsson half-volleyed home with just eight minutes remaining. It was perhaps more than Sean Dyche's side deserved, but to their credit they didn't buckle under City's pressure and got their rewards.