In a timely response to criticism of their early-season form, Riyad Mahrez scored a hat-trick as Manchester City thrashed Burnley 5-0 on Saturday.
In the first half, the Algeria international struck twice to cross 100 goal attendance in the Premier League and bring City in complete charge.
When a third City effort was disallowed, Burnley had a fleeting respite, but the smart finish of Benjamin Mendy, his first goal in English football, ultimately terminated the competition before half-time.
Before substitute Phil Foden crossed for Mahrez to complete his treble and top a supremely comfortable outing at the Etihad Stadium, Ferran Torres also got his first league goal for City.
After a smooth City transfer that started from a loose James Tarkowski pass, Mahrez opened the scoring just six minutes in, slotting home from Kevin De Bruyne’s pass.
It was 2-0 16 minutes later, after Burnley’s defense turned off a City throw-in, Mahrez skipped into space and fired a shot off the left-hand post.
Goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell saw the ball rebound off the same upright, making his Premier League debut, only for the assistant referee’s flag to spare Burnley’s blushes, with Gabriel Jesus heading the ball off Torres’s foot.
De Bruyne created time to clip a cross to Mendy, who turned a managed finish beyond Peacock-Farrell for his first club goal since a Coupe de France match in March 2017 between Monaco and Marseille. The reprieve did not last long.
After Jesus’ smart lay-off from a Kyle Walker delivery, it was 4-0 with 66 minutes out, Torres side-footing in and Foden needed just 93 seconds on the pitch before his cross was bumped home by the unmarked Mahrez.
Peacock-Farrell turned the ball into his own net, but was spared another offside penalty, with De Bruyne smashing a shot from the post in injury time as City claimed seven wins in a row against the Clarets by a combined score of 28-1.
And what is next?
On Tuesday, City travel to Porto, having already qualified for the Champions League last 16, before hosting Fulham in a week’s time. Burnley are next at Everton’s home.