Manchester City vs Chelsea. Premier League.
Highlights and report as Manchester City go back to the top of the Premier League in fine fashion
Monday 11 February 2019 06:16, UK
Sergio Aguero hit his second hat-trick in eight days as Manchester City thrashed Chelsea 6-0 at the Etihad to return to the top of the Premier League.
City were irresistible in the first half and raced into a 4-0 lead after just 25 minutes. Raheem Sterling put them ahead (4), running onto an effort at the far post, before Aguero's 25-yard stunner (13) into the top corner made it 2-0, moments after he had missed a sitter from close range.
Aguero turned home his second after a Ross Barkley mistake (19) and Ilkay Gundogan put the game well beyond Chelsea with a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box (25).
Man City: Ederson (7), Walker (7), Stones (7), Laporte (7), Zinchenko (8), De Bruyne (7), Fernandinho (8), Gundogan (8), B Silva (8), Sterling (9), Aguero (10)
Subs: Jesus (6), Mahrez (6), D Silva (7)
Chelsea: Kepa (5), Azpilicueta (4), Rudiger (4), Luiz (4), Alonso (4), Kante (4), Jorginho (4), Barkley (4), Pedro (4), Higuain (5), Hazard (4)
Subs: Kovacic (5), Loftus-Cheek (5), Emerson (5)
Man of the match: Sergio Aguero
Aguero completed his hat-trick from the spot (56), meaning he has 43 goals in 64 games against the big six, 22 more than any other player since he moved to the Premier League in 2011.
Sterling made it 6-0 from close range after fine team move (80), and the result means City go back to the top of the Premier League on goal difference, having played a game more than Liverpool. Pressure grows on Maurizio Sarri and Chelsea, who drop to sixth, a point behind fourth-placed Manchester United.
City were looking to cap off a tough week of fixtures with nine points out of nine, and they got the job done before Chelsea could even think about settling. Sterling had them ahead just four minutes in, slamming home from eight yards at the far post after Bernardo Silva's cut-back had deflected into his path.
It should have been 2-0 moments later through Aguero, but he uncharacteristically missed an open goal three yards out at the far post, though he did make amends in fine fashion on 13 minutes.
City made three changes from the side that won at Everton; Zinchenko, De Bruyne and Sterling came in, replacing Otamendi, Silva and Sane.
Chelsea made two changes; Rudiger and Pedro came in for Christensen and Willian.
Picking the ball up 30 yards out, Aguero took a touch out of his feet before unleashing an unstoppable effort into the top corner past Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Aguero then became City's leading league scorer with 159 goals, capitalising on Barkley's poor header back to his own goal by turning into the bottom right corner from 10 yards.
The game was essentially over on 25 minutes as Gundogan's crack from the edge of the box flew past Kepa after Chelsea had failed to clear their lines again.
Sarri was exploding on the touchline, but Chelsea did force a couple of chances before the break; Ederson blocked Pedro at his feet, and the City goalkeeper then acrobatically kept out Gonzalo Higuain's fine 25-yard volley.
City carried on after half-time like a steam train. Aguero hit the bar with a close-range header, but he completed his second hat-trick in three games from the spot after Cesar Azpilicueta's rash challenge on Sterling.
Aguero, who is now level at the top of the Premier League scoring charts with Mohamed Salah (17 goals) was brought off for Gabriel Jesus on 65 minutes, and his replacement went close to making it 6-0 as Kepa saved when one-on-one.
Sub David Silva then found Oleksandr Zinchenko with a beautiful ball in-behind, before the Ukrainian squared for Sterling to prod home his second from close range.
City's PA system played the Madness' 'One Step Beyond' at full-time, a favourite at Stamford Bridge after Chelsea wins, while Sarri claimed he didn't see Guardiola as he headed straight down the tunnel without shaking hands on a horrible afternoon for the Italian.
Pep Guardiola: "After Newcastle everybody was put in front of the mirror and we talked to each other and we accepted the reality and moved forward.
"It's about being calm and then it's a lot of compliment to the players. Arsenal at home and Chelsea at home and Everton away is a tough, tough week and we did incredibly."
Maurizio Sarri: "I am not able at the moment to understand, because during the week my feeling was really very good. At the moment we have a big problem away [from home]. I don't know why."
To think this man was nearly out of the door when Guardiola first arrived is scary. His record against top-six sides is remarkable, and once again on Sunday he was City's main man.
If he continues this form, he could be a strong contender for PFA Player of the Year. What more can you say about this man?
Jamie Carragher has a go...
"In terms of a goalscorer, he's the greatest we've seen in the Premier League. That's the difference between him and the other greats, he's a goalscorer rather than the greatest all-round player."
Manchester City are at Newport on Saturday at 5.30pm in the FA Cup fifth round, while Chelsea now go to Malmo in the Europa League round-of-32 first leg on Thursday night.