Manchester City began the defence of their Premier League title with a comfortable 3-0 victory at Turf Moor as Burnley endured a chastening return to the top flight.
City had won their previous 11 fixtures against Burnley by a combined score of 40-1, meaning their fourth-minute opener came as no surprise.
The identity of the scorer was no shock either, with Erling Haaland finding space among a crowded penalty area to sweep the ball into the bottom corner from Rodri’s headed pass.
Last season’s Golden Boot winner then rattled another first-time finish in off the bar in the 36th minute, with Rodri adding the third in the second half before Anass Zaroury received a straight red card after VAR review for an ugly tackle on Kyle Walker.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for City, who lost Kevin De Bruyne to another injury in the first half – with Guardiola conceding he perhaps shouldn’t have started the midfielder – but the ease at which they picked up the three points is an ominous sign for the rest of the Premier League.
Vincent Kompany warned before the visit of City – the club he captained to four Premier League titles as a player – that his side would be at their “worst” on the Premier League’s opening night.
With that in mind, a visit from the English and European champions was far from ideal, and a side including six debutants quickly found themselves behind as Haaland beat former City goalkeeper James Trafford when Rodri nodded down a corner.
The England U21 goalkeeper was also powerless to prevent City’s second as Haaland swept Julian Alvarez’s pass into the top corner with an unerring finish.
Burnley had earlier seen a penalty claim waved away as Zeki Amdouni went down a little too easily under pressure from Manuel Akanji, while there was the unpleasant sight of Rico Lewis being struck by a lighter thrown from the crowd near the corner flag.
City also had to cope with the loss of De Bruyne to injury but they hardly skipped a beat, with Mateo Kovacic calmly slotting into midfield as his new side began to toy with their prey.
Pep Guardiola and Haaland were then filmed in a heated discussion as they made their way towards the tunnel at half-time, with the manager seemingly unhappy at the striker’s on-field complaints.
But City regained their composure in the second half, dominating possession and controlling the game as Burnley began to chase shadows, while Rodri again exposed the Clarets’ vulnerability from set-pieces to guide home the visitors’ third from short range.
Burnley’s night then went from bad to worse as Zaroury saw a yellow card turn to red following a VAR review after he caught Walker on the calf with a rash sliding challenge.
Kompany now has two weeks to work with his side before they take on Aston Villa in their next game, while City will continue their relentless pursuit of silverware against Sevilla in the European Super Cup on Wednesday.