Sergio Agüero hat-trick helps Manchester City back to top of the Premier League

Manchester City moved back to the top of the table with an ominously convincing 6-0 victory over Chelsea, with Sergio Agüero getting a hat-trick.

Raheem Sterling and an Agüero double put the league leaders 3-0 up within 20 minutes. İlkay Gündoğan made it 4-0 on 25 minutes.

After that flurry, waiting a further 31 and then 24 minutes for their fifth and sixth goals seemed pedestrian. Sterling was involved yet again to win a penalty that Agüero converted for his hat-trick and then on hand to tap one in himself for the half-dozen.

Team news: 

Visitors Chelsea lined up much the same as usual, although with English youngster Ross Barkley starting in place of Mateo Kovacic and Pedro in place of Willian.

Manchester City, however, are always something of a guessing game in terms of predicting how the written line-up will play on the pitch.

22-year-old Oleksandr Zinchenko came into the starting XI in a nominal left-back role and, surprisingly, that's exactly the role he played. Elsewhere, David Silva was a surprise omission and John Stones came back into the line-up in defense, replacing Nicolás Otamendi.

Goals:

1-0 (4 mins) - City scored early yet again. Quick-thinking from a free-kick saw Bernardo Silva in a good position to pull the ball back across the six-yard box. The pass didn't initially find a teammate, but it found its way to Sterling at the back post, who finished with calm composure.

2-0 (13 mins) - If the first goal was intricate, this was the opposite. Agüero picked up the ball around 25 yards from goal, nudged it into space, and fired it into the top corner.

3-0 (19 mins) - City's third was entirely different again. Agüero latched onto Ross Barkley's backwards header to finish first-time on the turn with his left foot.

4-0 (25 mins) - Chelsea may well have felt hard done by to be 4-0 down from these chances. The ball feel to Gündoğan just outside the 18-yard-box, and the German stroked it out of reach of the hapless Arrizabalaga.

5-0 (56 mins) - Sterling was brought down inside the area by César Azpilicueta and Agüero coolly slotted away the penalty from the spot.

6-0 (80 mins) - Sterling was involved in the action yet again as he bagged his second of the day. He was in space to receive a pull-back from Zinchenko and hook it left-footed into the net.

Key moment: 

Either of Sergio Agüero's goals were the defining moment of the match. The Argentine had missed an open-goal sitter moments before his first, and the two strikes made up for it.

However, both had the air of fortune (or, for Chelsea, misfortune) about them. While both were superb finishes, they came out of nowhere, and weren't created lovingly by City's midfielders like so many of their goals are.

Coming in such quick succession, bolts from the blue, the match felt over, even before Gündoğan hit the back of the net for City's fourth.

Key player – Sergio Agüero

With the way City played in the first half an hour particularly, the award could almost go to any player, but it was the Argentine striker who put the game beyond doubt.

He bounced back straight away from an early bad miss for a truly elite strike from outside the box for his first, and he made his second look easy.

 

What it means:

City move back to the top of the Premier League table on goal difference, ahead of Liverpool who have a game in hand which they will play in two weeks' time.

That game in hand comes about because, at the end of February, these two teams meet again for the League Cup final. This win might make City feel confident that they will pick up the first domestic trophy of the season.

Key Stats:

Possession: Manchester City 56% - 44% Chelsea

Shots: Manchester City 15 - 12 Chelsea

Shots on target: Manchester City 9 - 4 Chelsea

Teams: 

Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Zinchenko; De Bruyne (Mahrez 68), Fernandinho (D Silva 75), Gündoğan; B Silva, Agüero (Jesus 65), Sterling

Subs not used: Danilo, Sané, Otamendi, Muric

Chelsea (4-3-3): Arrizabalaga; Azpilicueta, Rüdiger, David Luiz, Alonso (Emerson 73); Kanté, Jorginho, Barkley (Kovačić 52); Pedro (Loftus-Cheek 65), Higuaín, Hazard

Subs not used: Caballero, Giroud, Willian, Christensen


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