Manchester City's players celebrate after scoring their side's second goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester City and Burnley at Etihad stadium in Manchester, England, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Rampant Man City thrashes Burnley 5-0 in FA Cup

January 26, 2019 - 10:20 am

Pep Guardiola has dismissed as "fantasy" the notion of his Manchester City players winning the quadruple this season.

It's certainly a long shot but, on current form, it's hard to see how or when they'll next be beaten.

City swept past fellow English Premier League team Burnley 5-0 in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday, extending its run of wins to eight in all competitions. In that streak, the team has 33 goals and has not conceded a goal in the last six games — a first under Guardiola.

Kevin De Bruyne scored one goal — a powerful strike from the edge of the box — and had a hand in two others, with Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, and Sergio Aguero scoring along with an own-goal.

"Who is going to stop them winning everything if they are in that mood?" Burnley manager Sean Dyche asked. 

City is second in the Premier League, four points behind Liverpool, and into the final of the English League Cup against Chelsea on Feb. 24. It also is through to the last 16 of the Champions League and was handed a favorable match against German outsider Schalke.

Guardiola is managing to rotate his squad for games in this fixture pileup without his starting team losing any of its fluidity. City's bench against Burnley, for example, contained Aguero, David Silva, Raheem Sterling, and Leroy Sane. The latter two weren't even needed as City made it 108 goals in 36 games for the season, an average of exactly three per match.

"Everyone has been involved this month. Everybody plays," Guardiola said. "All together, we can achieve it, arriving at the latter stages (of the season) in the right moment. It's the only way I understand when you are in four competitions."

The FA Cup is the only domestic competition Guardiola has yet to win, after capturing the Premier League and League Cup last season. An embarrassing fifth-round loss to Wigan was one of City's few low points last season and Guardiola is taking the FA Cup seriously this time around.

The same cannot be said of some other top-flight teams.

Five have already lost to lower-league opposition this season — Fulham, Leicester, Cardiff, Huddersfield and Southampton — and Wolverhampton Wanderers avoided becoming another only by scoring in the third minute of injury time through Matt Doherty to salvage a 2-2 draw at third-tier Shrewsbury.

Wolves, who knocked out Liverpool in the third round, rested key players for the game despite not being in genuine danger of relegation in its first season back in the Premier League.

In an all-Premier League matchup, Watford won 2-0 at Newcastle, which hasn't progressed beyond the fourth round since 2006.

Brighton was taken to a replay by second-tier West Bromwich Albion after a 0-0 draw.

Everton and West Ham are away to lower-league opposition, in Millwall and AFC Wimbledon respectively, later Saturday.

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Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80

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