It was an afternoon that lent credence to the argument that the FA Cup at this stage should be seeded, sending Manchester City to test their skills at Barnet or Accrington this weekend rather than entertain a Burnley side who, frankly, could have done without the bother.
There was a sense of how far removed the competition seemed from days of old when members of City’s 1969 Cup winning team appeared on the pitch before the game.
There was barely a cheer for them. A far louder response came for the officials who took several minutes more than they might trying to replace a snapped corner flag early in the game. It was the only event which took this game remotely into the realms of the unexpected.
Manchester City’s 5-0 demolition of Burnley was concluded by Sergio Aguero slotting home calmly from the spot
Aguero stepped up after David Silva was felled in the area, and sent goalkeeper Nick Pope in the wrong direction
City players celebrated once more as Aguero jogged away after converting coolly from 12-yards
Kevin Long added to Burnley’s misery by deflecting the ball into the back of his own net to make it 4-0
The Burnley man cut an incredibly dejected figure as the scoreline got further and further from Burnley’s reach
Kevin De Bruyne had taken on Riyad Mahrez’s pass and lashed the ball home to put City 3-0 ahead and out of reach
MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Ederson 6; Walker 5.5, Stones 6, Otamendi 6, Danilo 6; Fernandinho 7 (Silva 66 6.5), Gundogan 6.5; Mahrez 5.5, De Bruyne 7.5 (Foden 74 6), Bernardo 7; Jesus 8 (Aguero 74).
Substitutes: Muric, Sterling, Aguero, Laporte, Sane, Silva, Foden
Goals: Gabriel Jesus, B. Silva, De Bruyne, Long (OG), Aguero (pen)
Burnley (3-5-2): Pope 6; Long 5, Tarkowski 6, Gibson 5.5; Brady 6 (Cork 46 5.5), Hendrick 6, Defour 6.5 (Westwood 77 5.5), Taylor 6.5, Ward 5.5; Vydra 5 (Wood 62 5.5), McNeil
Subs: Hart, Cork, Mee, Vokes, Barnes
Referee: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire) 6.5
None of which should imply there was a lack of quality. City are capable of playing with divinity even when the occasion is lacking and there was beauty in the vision with which the excellent right back Danilo spotted Gabriel Jesus’ diagonal run on 23 minutes and located him.
The Brazilian promptly powered past Kevin Long and James Tarkowski to despatch a low shot that goalkeeper Nick Pope could only turn in off his right boot. It was the intense watchfulness of Jesus which took your eye.
He was looking, plotting, his eyes everywhere, as he advanced into the space, on the left hand side of Burnley’s box, from where he took possession.
Kevin de Bruyne showed the same visionary delivery as Danilo in a tie which provided a good chance for him to collect game time.
His first half reverse pass for Ilkay Gundogan would have been equally fruitful had the midfielder made a better job of controlling it.
It was Kyle Walker who struggled to make the same impact. The full-back’s start to the game was strikingly slow.
He had lost possession to Jeff Hendrick twice and come out second best in two aerial challenges before the game was ten minutes old.
Earlier, Bernando Silva had added City’s second after being assisted by the craftsmanship of De Bruyne
The Portugal international celebrated with De Bruyne and thanked him for making the goal-scoring opportunity
Both Silva and De Bruyne were influential in midfield as City overran Burnley and imposed their dominance on the game
Gabriel Jesus got his body over the ball and lashed a powerful shot goal-bound and opened the scoring for Manchester City
Focus was etched on the face of the forward as he turned his marker and rocketed the ball into the back of the net
The Brazilian pulled off his trademark phone celebration after breaking the deadlock on the half-hour mark at the Etihad
Jesus saluted the celebrating home supporters as City made their way back to the centre circle to restart the match
Then came a rash challenge on Steven Defour, taken out by the defender’s trailing leg, saw him booked. There was very little else to trouble the City manager.
Burnley had made seven changes to the team they fielded at Watford last Saturday, ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Old Trafford and did not look like a side with the remotest intent. The defenders trotted slowly out from their own quarters when Pope had gathered the ball, offering him no opportunity to set a counter-attack in train.
The forward Matej Vydra was an isolated individual and even when he was offered a gilt-edged chance to score in the opening stages of the second half he couldn’t bury it. Bringing the ball out of his own area, Danilo was burgled by the Czech who had only Ederson to beat as he advanced up on goal but managed only to find the side netting.
How dearly Burnley could use a semi-prolific striker. Sean Dyche said this week that the lack of recruits so far this January did not concern him but here was another occasion when they did not muster a single shot on goal. Wood replaced Vydra just beyond the hour.
The result was beyond doubt within minutes of the miss. A flowing City advance saw Gundogan and de Bruyne shift the ball left to right, from where came a Bernardo Silva shot which Pope could again only deflect into the net.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche was on the touchline for most of the first half, bellowing instructions to his players
Manchester City’s Kyle Walker ended up breaking the corner flag, which was examined by referee Graham Scott
A minute of silence was held for Cardiff striker Emiliano Sala, who disappeared last week on board a flight with Dave Ibbotson
De Bruyne put a gloss on the occasion with the afternoon’s outstanding exhibition: a 16-touch move, beginning with Ederson, which saw Gundogan swivel and lay right for de Bruyne to deliver a right-foot finish way to Pope’s right.
Burnley helped City to equal their tally managed in last season’s Third Round clash between the sides. De Bruyne was allowed a criminal amount of space to advance into the right hand side of the box, from where he delivered a hard low cross which was deflected in off Long’s knee.
Other clubs would have brought on the second tier players from such a commanding position but for City it was Sergio Aguero racing into proceedings, with Phil Foden, in the teeming rain. It was he who converted the penalty to make it five.
Long had manhandled David Silva, another substitute, to prevent him reaching a ball Pope was painfully slow to run and and collect. Guardiola will believe he can advance beyond the semi final which his best return in this competition. Burnley will be relieved to return to the type of football that actually matters to them.