THE NOTEBOOK: Only Haaland could have dimmed return of a City legend

THE NOTEBOOK: Only Erling Haaland could have spoiled the return of City legend Vincent Kompany, the quality of Nathan Tella shines through amid Burnley’s misery… and Kyle Walker must now look forward after a rocky few weeks

  • Vincent Kompany couldn’t draw upon the magic of the FA Cup to stop 6-0 rout
  • But quality of his Championship-topping players shone through regardless
  • Shearer is left in awe of ‘BEAST’ Haaland after he netted his sixth City hat-trick 

Vincent Kompany’s return to the Etihad may have been hotly anticipated but Burnley’s 6-0 drubbing at the hand of mighty Manchester City on Saturday evening failed to provide a wild-card ‘magic of the FA Cup’ moment. 

Instead, spectators were rewarded with a show of Pep Guardiola’s men at the height of their powers as they swept away the promotion-bound Clarets despite the visitors putting in an admirably feisty performance. 

Erling Haaland continued to dazzle, completing a second hat-trick in Manchester in four days and bringing his season’s goal tally across all competitions to 41. 

Julian Alvarez, who inked a new contract extension with City on Thursday, scored a brace, and academy prospect Cole Palmer also made his mark on the scoresheet.  

Here, Sportsmail’s JOE BERNSTEIN shines on light on some of the things that might have gone under the radar during Saturday’s rout. 

Vincent Kompany had a nasty return to the Etihad but Burnley can walk away from the tie with their heads held high

City handed the visitors a comprehensive drubbing with their composed and lethal showing

Haaland’s performance takes the shine off a hero’s return

One man watching inside the Etihad would have understood how Erling Haaland felt as the Norwegian moved into the 40s for goals this season. Former City striker Clive Allen, working for overseas broadcasters, once bagged 49 in a season for Tottenham, though even that prolific record now looks under threat from Pep Guardiola’s unstoppable centre-forward.

Haaland hasn’t gone longer than three games without a goal all season and took some of the limelight off Vinny Kompany on his big return to the Etihad with his sixth hat-trick of an incredible debut season

High-flying Erling Haaland is in unplayable form in his debut season for Manchester City

Watching Kompany’s return was his former defensive partner Kolo Toure who spent four years with the Belgian at City until leaving to join Liverpool.

Toure was at the club when Kompany lifted the first of his two FA Cups but the Ivorian missed out on the 2011 final against Stoke at Wembley after failing a test for a “specified substance” which he blamed on taking water tablets.

Walker looks forward after passing through rocky period

Kyle Walker’s rehabilitation was completed with Pep Guardiola naming him in City’s starting line-up. Walker was the subject of lewd newspaper headlines a week ago but since then Gareth Southgate has named him in the latest England squad, police have decided no charges will be brought and now Guardiola was happy to play him after Walker had been an unused substitute against Leipzig in midweek.

At 32, Walker is only four years younger than opposition manager Vinny Kompany and 14 years older than City’s left-back on the other side, Rico Lewis. Guardiola had reacted to claims Walker had exposed himself in a bar by retorting: ‘I’m not his father.’

Kyle Walker has navigated through a turbulent period to return to the City starting line

Tella’s quality shines through – but can’t stop history repeating itself 

Despite City’s glittering array of attack talent, Burnley’s lively on-loan striker Nathan Tella had the honour of the game’s first shot on target. Tella’s tally of 19 goals this season is nine more than anyone has managed at his parent club, Southampton and a major reason why runaway leaders Burnley are unbeaten in The Championship since Bonfire Night.

Nathan Tella has been in rare form for Burnley, likely to the envy of parent club Southampton

The 7,500 travelling Burnley fans enjoyed themselves but rightfully feared another result like their last FA Cup visit to the Etihad – a 5-0 defeat in 2019 when City then went on to win the trophy. Only three players who started yesterday were involved in that fourth round tie – Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Walker, all of City.

Legends greeting legends 

Kompany shared a hug with fellow City legend Mike Summerbee before kick off. Summerbee, part of the great Joe Mercer-Malcolm Allison team that won four major trophies in three seasons from 1968, was presented to the crowd to mark being presented with an OBE by Prince William a fortnight ago.

Mike Summerbee was introduced ahead of kick-off at the Etihad on Saturday evening

Pep invests in the future as Etihad sky blue-wash continues  

Cole Palmer, who has played for since he was in the under-8s, made it onto the scoresheet

Pep Guardiola picks strong teams for the FA Cup but also lets youth have a go when the ties are won, allowing 20-year-old Cole Palmer to come on and score his first goal since last season’s competition when he netted in the third round at Swindon. Astonishingly, 26 of the last 27 goals at the Etihad have been scored by City – the only exception Ollie Watkins’ consolation for Aston Villa in a 3-1 defeat.

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