Riyad Mahrez scored a hat-trick as Manchester City steamrolled Burnley 5-0 in their finest performance of the season so far.
The winger fired the hosts into a sixth-minute lead from a flowing move which would encapsulate City’s performance against woeful Burnley, who would go on to suffer their fourth successive 5-0 defeat at the Etihad.
Mahrez netted his second midway through the half from a poorly-defended throw-in, and Benjamin Mendy weighed in with his first Premier League goal shortly before the interval with a smartly-timed volley from a tight angle.
After the break, Ferran Torres fired in from close-range before Mahrez completed his hat-trick with a header from Phil Foden’s cross.
City’s win lifts them into the top half of the Premier League and back within three points of Chelsea in third, while Burnley are five points off Brighton, the next team ahead of them, and remain 17th.
Pep Guardiola had a full squad to choose from against a Burnley side buoyed by their first win of the season against Crystal Palace on Monday night – but the spring in Sean Dyche’s step did not last long.
It took only six minutes for Mahrez to take Kevin De Bruyne’s perfect pass in his stride before stroking the ball past stand-in goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell to maintain his scoring run against the Clarets.
The last time the two sides met, Mahrez scored twice – and midway through the opening period, he had already matched that tally from a move which would make Dyche wince. Kyle Walker’s throw-in was missed altogether by Charlie Taylor allowing Mahrez space to cut back and beat Peacock-Farrell from a tight angle.
That goal was a rarity in being City’s first in the league from a throw-in since April 2016, but, for the most part, the rest of their victory was immensely familiar.
Before half-time Mendy added a third with City back to their fluent best. Of course, it was from De Bruyne’s pinpoint delivery to find the defender, whose cushioned volley from the left was perfectly placed to nestle in the far corner.
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Game over, near enough. Burnley did manage one moment of note on the hour mark when Jay Rodriguez’s low effort became their first shot on target at the Etihad since January 2017, but soon normal service was resumed as Torres rolled in a fourth from close range.
Mahrez completed his hat-trick shortly afterwards as Foden teed him up moments after coming on as a sub, with his well-placed header securing him his first match ball in a City shirt.
The hosts thought they had exceeded their tally from their last meeting with the Clarets when Peacock-Farrell’s painful day appeared to get worse as his knee turned the ball into his own net after diving on a low cross, but VAR ruled out the goal for a marginal offside against Gabriel Jesus.
From there, the final 20 minutes played out like a training game with City having flexed their scoring muscles, and Burnley praying for the full-time whistle.