The Clarets suffered successive home defeats for the first time in the Premier League this season as Manchester City showed the stuff of champions to cruise to victory at Turf Moor.
City may be struggling to retain their crown after an indifferent start to the season by their own high standards.
But three goals of the highest quality – including two from Gabriel Jesus as he ended an eight-game drought – underlined their enduring class as they rarely gave Sean Dyche’s men a sniff before a late exchange of goals at least saw the Clarets finish on a high.
Riyad Mahrez added City’s fourth goal three minutes from the end, leaving just enough time for Burnley substitute Robbie Brady to claim his first club goal in two injury-hit years to hopefully signal a change of luck for the wingman.
With the Clarets feeling the pinch in the treatment room and on the back of Saturday’s loss to Crystal Palace, Dyche made three changes to face up to a City side knowing they have virtually no margin for error if they are to catch run-away league leaders Liverpool.
Pep Guardiola’s side kicked off 11 points in arrears of the Reds but were not presented with the twin striking challenge they might have expected as Ashley Barnes made way with a slight knock to also prompt a tweak to the Clarets’ formation.
Jeff Hendrick returned to the position just behind lone frontman Chris Wood with Danny Drinkwater plugging the midfield gap left by the continued absence of Ashley Westwood.
It was a 100th Premier League appearance for the former title winner and first in a Burnley shirt – against the same opposition he had faced in his 99th game in the competition when playing for Chelsea back in March, 2018.
The England international looked to bridge that gap with a lively start which helped the Clarets set a decent tempo and ask questions of a City back four tweaked on the back of dropping more points in a draw at Newcastle United last weekend.
But as is so often the case against City and their ilk, just when it looks as though a foundation has been put in place it is undermined by a flash of quality.
And this time it was Jesus who showed his class to put the champions ahead mid-way through the opening half.
The Clarets appeared to have nullified the immediate threat through Jack Cork’s fine tackle on Kevin De Bruyne but City again managed to re-cycle the ball and when David Silva fed Jesus, the little Brazilian cut in and bent a beauty around Nick Pope.
It took two fine saves from Pope – both with his legs – in front of watching England boss to prevent City adding to their lead before the break as the Clarets’ keeper denied Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva.
The Clarets’ best chance had seen Dwight McNeil meet a cross from Aaron Lennon, restored to the starting line-up along with Erik Pieters in place of Brady and the injured Charlie Taylor, with a volley which hit team-mate Chris Wood.
And five minutes into the second half a difficult challenge became an almost impossible one when Jesus doubled City’s lead with another top-notch finish into the top corner from close in following Bernardo Silva’s delightful curling ball into the six-yard box.
That was the cue to bring on Barnes and Jay Rodriguez with just over half an hour to go and when Barnes - who became the first Claret to make 150 Premier League appearances -- immediately won a free-kick, McNeil at least occupied City goalkeeper Ederson with a dipping free-kick he held under the crossbar.
It was becoming a tough night, though, and with 20 minutes to go the visitors went 3-0 up through another clinical strike.
Having prodded and probed around the Burnley area, the ball finally dropped the way of Rodri and his thumping 20-yarder whistled into the roof of the net to give the Spaniard a second Premier League goal.
His first had come in City’s shock defeat at Norwich but this was not a night when they would repeat those mistakes as the Clarets were shown no mercy, substitute Riyad Mahrez drilling home their fourth goal three minutes from the end.
Proof this is not quite the City of old came 60 seconds later, though, as they failed to register a clean sheet for an eighth game in a row and Burnley finally got some reward for their efforts, Brady’s drilled finish from Hendrick's pass giving the Irishman a welcome personal milestone and hopefully a shot of confidence to take into potentially more meaningful match-ups to come.
Burnley: Pope; Bardsley, Tarkowski, Mee, Pieters; Lennon, Cork, Drinkwater (Rodriguez 58), McNeil (Brady 75); Hendrick, Wood (Barnes 58). Substitutes: Hart, Lowton, Brady, Gibson, Vydra.
Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho (Garcia 84), Otamendi, Angelino; D Silva, Rodri, De Bruyne (Foden 80); Bernardo Silva, Jesus, Sterling (Mahrez 72). Substitutes: Bravo, Stones, Mendy, Cancelo.
Booked: Bernardo Silva
Referee: Jon Moss