Manchester City coasted into the FA Cup semi-finals courtesy of a 6-0 win over Burnley at the Eithad. Erling Haaland was amongst the goals once again following his five strikes against RB Leipzig in midweek. Julian Alvarez and Cole Palmer added the gloss to the scoreline for Pep Guardiola’s men preventing Vincent Kompany from having a happy homecoming. Express Sport look at five takeaways from the game as the Sky Blues continue to fight on three fronts.
Erling Haaland’s form ‘nuts’
Haaland’s goalscoring form this season defies all kinds of logic. The Norwegian has now scored eight goals in the space of four days after tearing both Burnley and RB Leipzig apart with successive hat-tricks.
The striker sent City on their way with two goals, three minutes apart in the first half with Clarets’ defenders unable to handle him. He then added to the scoreline near the hour mark with his perfect positioning in the box before being subbed for a well-deserved rest.
Host of the BBC’s coverage of the game, Gary Lineker, was blown away by the Scandinavian’s goalscoring form and described it as ‘nuts’ in a tweet during the first half. He later suggested that Haaland’s strike rate was getting ‘silly’ with the 22-year-old now on 42 goals this season.
Phil Foden sends Guardiola a message
Foden has found game time hard to come by at times this season but the England international showed Guardiola what he can offer against the Championship opposition.
The 22-year-old was a constant thorn in Conor Roberts’ side and created the opening for the first goal with a sumptuous square ball straight into Haaland’s path while it was his shot off the post that led to the Norwegian’s third. Jack Grealish has made the position his own this season but Foden is now coming for his spot.
Ruben Dias is back to his best
The Portugal international was a sensation when he arrived at the Etihad in 2020 deservedly winning player of the year during his first season at the club. However, he has not quite hit the same heights since with Manuel Akanji and John Stones often preferred in the centre of defence.
However, he has returned to the starting lineup in recent weeks becoming the linchpin of the backline once more. Dias was not challenged too much in the second half but made a number of impressive contributions in the first with a last-ditch challenge while the score was still 0-0 a notable highlight.
Julian Alvarez should not be a bench player
It is difficult not to feel somewhat bad for Alvarez. The Argentine is one of the best young strikers in the world but has regularly found himself on the bench with Haaland understandably leading the line.
He earned himself a place in the starting line-up against Burnley as Guardiola rotated his side and he did not disappoint. Playing in a deeper attacking midfield position, the 23-year-old worked tirelessly setting up the Haaland’s first before going up front when the Norwegian was replaced.
From there he scored twice and could have had hat-trick after charging down a Peacock-Farrall clearance. He is simply too good to spend so much time on the sidelines and will have given Guardiola serious food for thought with his performance, particularly in a deeper position.
Vincent Kompany’s unhappy homecoming
It was not the return to the Eithad that Kompany would have hoped for with his side completely outplayed by the Premier League champions.
The Belgian appeared to have taken a leaf from Guardiola’s book by standing on the sidelines in a blazer, sweatshirt and trainers but he could summon the same level of performance as the Spaniard did from his players.
Still there were positives in the first half and Kompany will have learned a lot from the humbling in Manchester, making him a better manager when Burnley return to the Premier League as expected next season.