Manchester City began their Premier League title defence in the perfect way on Friday by beating Burnley 3-0 at Turf Moor.
A first-half Erling Haaland brace, followed by a second half Rodri strike, earned the treble-winners the three points agaisnt Vincent Kompany’s side.
The way in which City made light work of a tough opponent was striking, but here are three things we noticed from City’s opening day win.
Value in having so many defenders is clear
Following the £77.5m signing of Josko Gvardiol, Pep Guardiola has six centre-backs in his squad.
City are looking to sell Aymeric Laporte, but are yet to receive any suitable offers for the Spain international.
Given Guardiola’s usual preference for working with small squads, having six central defenders seems a little excessive.
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However, City’s starting line-up showed the value in having so many options.
John Stones and Ruben Dias were absent due to muscle and concussion issues respectively. Kyle Walker and Rico Lewis came in for them, with Gvardiol and Laporte the options on the bench.
Pre-match Guardiola said that in his experience, centre-backs tend to pick up a lot of injuries. In other words, you can never have too many.
Kevin de Bruyne concern
Kevin de Bruyne pre-season comprised of 20 minutes against Arsenal in the Community Shield last weekend.
On Friday the Belgian star was named in the starting XI by Guardiola but was forced off through injury after 24 minutes.
The obvious assumption is that De Bruyne was rushed back from the serious hamstring injury he suffered in the Champions League final two months ago, but it’s hard to imagine City’s medical team taking such a risk.
Whether De Bruyne’s injury is a flare-up of that injury or a different issue, it’s possible that the 32-year-old’s body is starting to fail him. That’s concerning.
Goal drought? What goal drought
Erling Haaland failed to score in any of City’s final six matches of last season, and didn’t manage to get on the scoresheet in the Community Shield either.
If any City fans were worried that he’d lost his scoring touch, well, they needn’t have been.
Haaland’s two goals were classic poachers’ finishes, although few frontmen could hope to pull off the 23-year-old’s second.
Without even lifting his head towards goal, Haaland latched onto Julian Alvarez’s lay-off and on the turn lashed an unstoppable effort in off the underside of the bar.
It certainly wasn’t the kind of goal you’d expect to see from a striker lacking confidence or form.
Despite his goal-scoring antics, Guardiola still took the opportunity to publicly scold his striker as the players walked off for half-time. There’s always something to improve on.