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Burnley 0-3 Man City as Erling Haaland and Rodri goals begin Premier League season

Erling Haaland said he would “enjoy the chaos” of the season ahead after scoring two goals on the opening weekend of the Premier League campaign for a second successive year in the reigning champions’ 3-0 win at newly-promoted Burnley.

Last season’s runaway top scorer in the division reacted quickest to fire in from Rodri’s header in the fourth minute, netting the fastest opening goal of a top-flight season since Paul Pogba pounced for Manchester United after less than three minutes against Leicester City in 2018-19.

The 23-year-old then curled a clinical first-time shot off the crossbar nine minutes before the break to take his tally to 100 in England and Germany since his first game for Borussia Dortmund in January 2020.

“We’ll see about that,” Haaland told Sky Sports when he was asked if he could match his 52-goal haul across all competitions in his first season at City.

“It’s a good start. It’s about not stressing, relaxing and being focused on ourselves. I have to keep on working, keep on relaxing and try not to focus too much on negative things. I have to enjoy the chaos around me.”

UEFA Champions League final matchwinner Rodri lashed in City’s third, capitalising on confusion among Burnley’s defence following a Phil Foden free-kick with 15 minutes remaining.

Burnley were lively on their return to the Premier League after a season away, threatening through bright work by Luca Koleosho and Zeki Amdouni but struggling to capture the cutting edge Haaland provided for City.

Kevin De Bruyne had to be replaced after 23 minutes through injury for City, and Burnley had Anass Zaroury sent off in second half added time following a VAR check and monitor review by referee Craig Pawson over a late challenge on Kyle Walker.

The Clarets have a 16-day break before their next match, when they host Aston Villa, because scheduled opponents Luton Town are not yet ready to host Premier League matches at their Kenilworth Road home.

City are next in action in the UEFA Super Cup against Europa League holders Sevilla on Wednesday. Newcastle are their visitors in the late Premier League kickoff three days later.

Pep talk demands directness

After De Bruyne first made his way frustratedly down the tunnel, Phil Foden initially appeared to be shifted to the right and Bernardo Silva situated more centrally as manager Pep Guardiola adjusted to Burnley’s uncompromising approach.

With the hosts marking man-for-man, the master tactician, who was on even more animated form than usual and was booked during the second half, was soon urging his players to manage the ball meticulously, playing more passes but sending it long more often.

“We gave passes away,” said Guardiola, who had visibly told Haaland not to risk losing possession by demanding the ball near the end of the first half. “I wanted them to be more direct. It’s the connection, doing exactly what you have to do.”

Foden re-emerged for the second half in a narrower position, and Guardiola was pleased with the frequency and impact of the England international’s perceptive passing to Julian Alvarez and Haaland.

“It’s a pleasure working with Pep,” said Haaland, agreeing with his head coach’s change of tactics. “I don’t know if there’s anyone better to work with as a young player – because I’m still young, don’t forget.

Haaland starts fast again

There were murmurs – possibly loudest among Burnley fans this week – that Haaland’s relative drought of one goal in eight competitive fixtures at the end of last season was a sign of deeper problems.

Unfortunately for optimistic opponents, Haaland scored with his first touch of the season to ensure he has contributed to goals in each of his last seven away games in the Premier League, scoring seven and setting up another.

The sharpness of Haaland’s first goal made talk of a dry spell seem as fanciful as the speculation that he might struggle before his spectacular debut season, and his second was as instinctive as it was honed, struck without looking up from Julian Alvarez’s subtle shift and pass.

Only three current Premier League teams – Brentford, Chelsea and Liverpool – have now prevented Haaland from scoring against them in the league, and newcomers Burnley must have feared the worst following his 28-minute hat-trick against them in the FA Cup in March.

“We conceded after three minutes and you have to live with the consequences,” said Burnley manager Vincent Kompany, a City legend and winner of four Premier League titles during eight years as club captain.

“When you have momentum, you have to do something. We were dangerous but not dangerous enough. Against the best team in the world, it is always going to be difficult.”

Kompany now has the distinction of becoming the first Belgian to manage in the Premier League, which will be little consolation for Burnley’s 12th successive defeat in the fixture in all competitions – their outright longest losing streak against any opponents.

Burnley had enjoyed more touches inside the opposition penalty area than City well into the second half, but Haaland scored twice from just three shots and nine touches – and only Robert Lewandowski, with 114, has more goals than him since the Norway sensation’s Dortmund debut.

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