LONDON: City returned to the top of the Premier League, with another Sergio Aguero hat-trick, and did so by destroying Chelsea.
Manchester City handed Chelsea its worst ever Premier League defeat on Sunday as a Sergio Aguero hat trick led Pep Guardiola’s team to a 6-0 win and back into first place. City had 15 shots, nine on frame, converting two-thirds of them in a game that left Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri embarrassed at the final whistle.
In addition to Aguero’s three, Raheem Sterling scored two and Ilkay Gundogan added another as the hosts led 4-0 after just 25 minutes.
This was City at its best and Chelsea at its worst. The Blues created a few chances but it didn’t really matter as the door was blown off this thing before it was a half-hour in. City was lethal from the get-go and Chelsea was knocked out quickly. Sterling’s first goal in the fourth minute ended up being the winner.
A 4-0 defeat to Bournemouth in their last away game was Chelsea’s heaviest league defeat since 1996.
And this was their worst loss in any competition since 1991 after failing to recover from Sterling’s fourth-minute opener. Eden Hazard went to sleep from Kevin de Bruyne’s quickly taken free-kick and Bernardo Silva had acres of space to cross for the England international to fire home.
Guardiola had described this match as a “final” for his side given that Chelsea had a week to prepare, while City ground out a 2-0 win at Everton on Wednesday. He fell to the floor in exasperation when Aguero somehow side-footed wide with his easiest chance of the game moments later.
But the Catalan coach need not have worried that would prove a costly miss as Aguero made amends in stunning fashion by blasting into the top corner from 25 yards to double City’s after just 13 minutes.
Aguero had a simple task to make it 3-0 six minutes later when he pounced on Ross Barkley’s slack header towards his own goal. And Gundogan’s shot from the edge of the area then had too much power for the world’s most expensive goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga to compound Chelsea’s woes.
Such was the defensive collapse at the other end, Gonzalo Higuain had little chance to shine but the Argentine striker was unfortunate not to score his third goal in as many league starts for Chelsea when Ederson turned over his dipping volley five minutes before the break.
That was as much of a response as Chelsea mustered, though, and it only got worse for Sarri’s chances of keeping his job in the second period. Aguero missed his first chance to seal a second hat-trick in two games when he headed against the crossbar.
But when Sterling was too quick for Cesar Azpilicueta and chopped down by the Spaniard inside the area, Aguero coolly slotted home from the penalty spot to move level with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah as the Premier League’s top scorer on 17 for the season.
Even after Aguero went off to a standing ovation, City’s strength in depth shone through as Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez and David Silva came off the bench.
And Silva’s pass opened the visitors up again for the sixth as he picked out Oleksandr Zinchenko who crossed for Sterling to tap home.