Sergio Aguero equalled the record for Premier League hat-tricks as a rampant Manchester City thrashed Chelsea 6-0 at home to leapfrog Liverpool and return to the table’s summit.
Pep Guardiola’s side move above Liverpool on goal difference, with the Catalan coach enjoying a crushing victory against a side he has lost to on a record three league occasions.
City made a blistering start and led 4-0 inside 25 minutes, with Aguero on target twice.
Sterling opened the scoring with a thumping drive after Bernardo Silva’s cross deflected into his path, then Aguero somehow missed an open goal from three yards out.
Aguero soon made amends with a thunderous 25-yard drive after great work from Oleksandr Zinchenko, and he then capitalised on Ross Barkley’s abysmal header to become City’s record league goal-scorer.
City’s fourth came from Gundogan, his placed 20-yard shot beating Kepa Arrizabalaga, with Ederson brilliantly tipping over Gonzalo Higuain’s volley at the other end before the break.
Aguero’s header from Kevin De Bruyne’s cross crashed against the crossbar, but the Argentina attacker was able to celebrate his historic treble in the 56th minute.
Sterling’s pace and skill drew a clumsy Cesar Azpilicueta foul inside the box, and Aguero beat Kepa once more with an excellent penalty.
Guardiola was able to rest City’s hat-trick hero, De Bruyne and Fernandinho for the closing stages and Sterling tapped in a cross from the lively Zinchenko for a simple sixth.
What does it mean? City send Liverpool a message
Goal difference might yet decide the title, and in thrashing Chelsea, City gave themselves an ever larger advantage over Liverpool. For the Blues, this was their fourth consecutive loss away from home in all competitions, with the aggregate score in their most recent three Premier League trips reading 12-0.
Silva’s energy drives City forward
Aguero provided City’s cutting edge and took his 2019 tally to 10 goals in all competitions, but the platform for their dominance was built on Silva’s boundless energy. With namesake David surprisingly on City’s bench, Bernardo was brilliant.
Barkley’s baffling error gifts Aguero his second
What Barkley was thinking when he headed the ball back towards his own goal from 20 yards out is difficult to understand. Chelsea already trailed 2-0, but setting up Aguero’s second of the game ended any hope of a Blues fightback. Barkley looked out of his depth throughout and was unsurprisingly hooked early in the second half.
Chelsea will try to recover some pride when they head to Malmo in the Europa League on Thursday, with City at Newport County in the FA Cup two days later. In-form Manchester United are then the visitors at Stamford Bridge on Monday in the fifth round of the cup.
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