Record-breaking Aguero hat trick helps Man City hit six past Aston Villa
Manchester City reclaimed second spot in the Premier League table with a 6-1 demolition of a helpless Aston Villa side.
After a relatively slow start, Riyad Mahrez was given too much room to open the scoring on 18 minutes. The same player doubled his side's tally from Sergio Aguero's cut-back six minutes later, before Aguero crashed home a third with just 28 minutes on the clock. Gabriel Jesus capped a spectacular first half when he converted Kevin De Bruyne's stunning cross and Aguero grabbed two well-taken goals in the second stanza to complete his hat trick
Anwar El-Ghazi pulled once back with an injury-time penalty but it was City's day as the champions ran riot.
City's frankly ridiculous away scoring record continued at Villa Park, on the heals of the Sky Blues striking in every road game of 2019. Aguero's goals played a big hand in that and the Argentine's brilliant display saw him move beyond Thierry Henry to become the highest-scoring non-Englishman in Premier League history.
Finally, the visitors' victory was a 9th win in 10 games over all competitions.
City were a little slow out of the blocks and gifted their opponents an early opportunity as El-Ghazi found room between Rodri and Fernandinho, but other than that it was plain sailing for Pep Guardiola's men. The boss will have been irked that his side couldn't register a clean sheet after Ilkay Gundogan's clumsy late trip on Trezeguet.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Guardiola paired Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero in a Premier League fixture for the first time since Sept. 2018 and that proved a masterstroke as the two combined for four goals and two assists between them.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ederson, 6 -- The City keeper was helpless as El-Ghazi's thunderous strike flew past his-left post, but he barely touched the ball following the resulting goal kick. El Ghazi's well-taken penalty snatched away his clean sheet in the dying seconds.
DF Joao Cancelo, 6 -- The full-back found himself with plenty of freedom to get forward and looked to exploit it, trying his luck early on with a driven effort from distance which swerved wide of Orjan Nyland's left-hand post.
DF Rodri, 6 -- Asked to play in a deeper role as City's right-sided centre back; the 23-year-old didn't particularly seem to enjoy El-Ghazi's energetic bursts early on and found himself chasing the Dutchman's heels on a couple of occasions before City settled into their groove and took control.
DF Fernandinho, 6 -- Caught flat-footed inside the opening 60 seconds which allowed El-Ghazi the chance to burst into the box, but the Villa man couldn't get any meaningful contact on his headed attempt. The veteran Brazilian was largely untroubled thereafter, although he went into the book for a cynical tactical challenge that stopped Jack Grealish in his tracks.
DF John Stones, 7 -- The centre-back has been challenged to become one of the best in the world by his manager and showed excellent awareness to come across and sweep up a dangerous ball forward with El-Ghazi buzzing around the City penalty area. Other than that, it was a quiet afternoon for the England man.
DF Benjamin Mendy, 6 -- Put under some early pressure by Ahmed Elmohamady but came through unscathed and enjoyed a great deal more freedom thereafter on a quiet afternoon. He will have been a tad disappointed to see his searching cross from the left easily hooked away by Tyrone Mings.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 9 -- De Bruyne was at his spectacular best yet again, first allowing Mahrez the opportunity to surge into the Villa penalty area with an intelligent dummy on the opening goal, before picking out Jesus with a ridiculous cross from the right for 4-0. The 28-year-old is quite simply living on a different planet to the rest of us.
MF David Silva, 7 -- El Mago had Nyland desperately scrambling across his line with a beautifully struck free kick from 25 yards that missed the top-right corner by inches, much to the disbelief of the traveling supporters.
FW Riyad Mahrez, 8 -- Came close to unlocking the Villa defence with a delicious low cross, but neither Jesus or Aguero could connect. The Algerian then took it upon himself to open the scoring, cutting into the box and squeezing his effort in at the near post, before crashing in a second at the expense of former Leicester teammate Danny Drinkwater.
FW Sergio Aguero, 10 -- The record-breaking striker was nothing short of unplayable at times on an afternoon that saw him bag a hat trick and add an assist. The Argentina first attacked the line to tee up Mahrez, before grabbing a goal for himself with a fine 20-yard effort. That was followed by a precise finish into the bottom corner after the break, and he capped a record 12th career Premier League hat trick with a confident finish into the roof of the net.
FW Gabriel Jesus, 8 -- Rewarded for some good hold-up play with a shove in the face from Elmohamady and later steered his toe-poked effort on the spin comfortably over the Villa crossbar. Jesus made no mistake next time around, calmly tapping in for 4-0 after a delicious cross from De Bruyne, and later saw a second-half effort hooked off the line by Mings.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 6 -- Replaced Fernandinho in the 63rd minute. His biggest involvement was protesting a last-ditch penalty, ultimately in vain.
MF Phil Foden, 6 -- Came on for the final half-hour and at that point the game was effectively a training session. That said, he was involved in a couple of neat exchanges with Jesus.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, N/R -- Guilty of tripping Trezeguet which allowed El-Ghazi the chance to take the gloss of the scoreline and spoil the clean sheet.