Sergio Aguero and Man City earn full marks but Chelsea get an F after 6-0 rout

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Liverpool may have enjoyed a convincing 3-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday but they will be more nervous than ever now as a rampant Manchester City side are in hot pursuit of the Premier League title.

The reigning champions demolished an insipid Chelsea 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium with Sergio Aguero scoring his 11th hat-trick in the English top flight – levelling Alan Shearer’s record.

Maurizio Sarri had no answer as Raheem Sterling opened the scoring four minutes in after Chelsea’s defence switched off – and remained that way. Two from Aguero and one from Ilkay Gundogan left the visitors trailing 4-0 after 25 minutes.

The Chelsea boss didn’t seem to make any notable changes in strategy at the break and Aguero converted from the spot early in the second half before Sterling rounded off the scoring 10 minutes from time.

Here, we grade the performances of both sides in our report card.

THE GOOD

City – Sensational Serge

There’s plenty to choose from but we’d be remiss not to highlight Aguero’s frightening form. The Argentine missed an absolute sitter – probably one of the most glaring of his career – early on when he failed to slot Bernardo Silva’s excellent pass across goal into an empty net from close range. His response? A thumping effort from 25 yards to really put City in control before going on to complete his second hat-trick in three games and level Mohamed Salah at the top of the scoring charts with a tally of 17.

Aguero looked disappointed to come off in the 64th minute with the damage done and understandably so, as Chelsea were there for the mauling. He was a nightmare for the centre-backs to pick up as he dropped off and ran in behind intelligently. His contribution off the ball was also commendable, helping to cut off passing lanes and keep Chelsea pinned back, forcing turnovers.

Sergio Aguero

THE BAD

Chelsea – Schoolboy errors

There’s little room for error when you’re playing the champions, especially with the form they’ve been in lately, but Chelsea’s casual defending cost them dearly. For the first Marcos Alonso lazily motioned – to no one in particular – to pick up Bernardo out wide from a free-kick while he ambled into the crowd in the middle. Unsurprisingly, his team-mates didn’t heed his warning and the Portuguese took full advantage.

Sloppy misplaced passes inside their own half were responsible for other goals, including a passage of play that saw a poor David Luiz headed clearance woefully nodded back by Ross Barkley for a gleeful Aguero to bag his second. Then, a clumsy foul on Sterling – who had been dribbling past players for fun – from Cesar Azpilicueta saw the Argentine score City’s fifth from the spot.

Maurizio Sarri

TACTICAL TALKING POINT

Intensity and breaking through the lines

In many ways, Chelsea’s play is the mirror image of City’s philosophy, devoid of one crucial element – intensity. With a possession-heavy style, there’s a fine line between ponderous and irresistible and City are regularly on the right side of it, Chelsea aren’t.

The other aspect of their passing game that Sarri failed to implement in this fixture is the ability to break through the lines. The away side were often boxed in as their midfielders came short and they tried to play their way out from the back, with City doing well to cut off passing lanes and repeatedly winning possession.

When the hosts played out from defence, the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan were positioned up field. Centre-backs John Stones and Aymeric Laporte were positive with their passing, fizzing the ball into the midfielders’ feet. That saw City instantly break through Chelsea’s press and earned them plenty of inviting scenarios against their exposed back-line.

GRADING

For City: A+

They started like a house on fire and took the game away from the opposition in no time. The passing was slick, movement mesmeric, pressing relentless and defending dominant. City are quite simply playing like champions.

For Chelsea: F

The flaws in Sarriball were evident early on and as the season has progressed teams have learned how to expose them. City were ruthless in their efforts and Chelsea – as ever under Sarri – had no Plan B.

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Hat-trick hero Sergio Aguero helps Manchester City destroy Chelsea

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Sergio Aguero scored another hat-trick.

Manchester City put in a stunning performance to thrash Chelsea 6-0 on Sunday, and it came thanks to an historic day from their star striker.

Sergio Aguero scored another hat-trick, his 11th in the Premier League – which now puts him level with Alan Shearer in that particular tally. Just as sweet a milestone, if not sweeter, was that his three goals made him City’s highest-ever league goalscorer.

Here’s a closer look at Aguero’s display.

KEY STATS

Goals – 3

Shots – 6

Shots on target – 3

Dribbles – 2

Passing Accuracy – 89%

Touches – 36

30-SECOND REPORT

Hat-trick against Arsenal last week. Hat-trick against Chelsea here. Aguero is in unstoppable form at the moment, and because of that, so are his team. No one would have expected City to host Chelsea and win 6-0. But thanks to their star striker, that’s what happened, as the Argentine scored a peach, a tap-in, and a penalty to lead his side to victory.

Meanwhile, the hat-trick adds a delicious sub-plot to the title race. Aguero is now level with Liverpool‘s Mohamed Salah atop the league goalscoring charts. Which player, and team, is going to come out on top?

GOT RIGHT

Aguero’s second was a great strike, but his first underlined the key aspect of his game: he’s arguably the greatest goal-poacher in world football at the moment. Simple finishes aren’t always easy – more on that later – but just the fact that he’s able to get in position for them, despite his reputation commanding added defensive attention, is remarkable.

The striker actually had the fewest touches of any player in City’s starting XI, only 36. And yet he emerged three goals. His ability to find space in the box is incomparable.

GOT WRONG

Aguero’s only mistake all game was a glaring one. How did he miss an open goal from two yards out?

It was a collector’s item made even more redundant by what came after, which included a header he thumped against the bar in the second half.

Could have scored five, only managed three. Not Aguero’s greatest performance, then?

VERDICT

The best big-game player in the Premier League? The best player, period? The superlatives are going to keep flowing for Aguero and well they should. Consecutive hat-tricks in games against the ‘Big Six’ is an incredible feat, even more so when the two games are only a week apart.

His inexplicable first-half miss is the only reason this performance hasn’t rated a perfect 10. Although that only serves as a reminder that he could easily have turned this hat-trick into a five-goal display.

RATING: 9/10

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Man City thrash Chelsea 6-0 to go top of Premier League

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Sergio Aguero scored a record-equalling hat-trick as Manchester City powered back to the top of the Premier League with a sensational 6-0 thrashing of Chelsea.

The prolific Argentinian joined Alan Shearer on 11 Premier League trebles as the champions returned to their ruthless best in a one-sided encounter at the Etihad Stadium.

Most of the damage came in a whirlwind opening 25 minutes, with Aguero hitting his first two of the afternoon between strikes from Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan.

That established Aguero as City’s record league goalscorer, surpassing the 158 goals of Eric Brook and Tommy Johnson, and he later extended his tally to 160 by completing his treble from the spot.

Sterling put the seal on the rout by adding his second 10 minutes from time.

Aguero should even have had more, having missed a sitter in the early stages and headed against bar on a dismal afternoon for Chelsea, whose manager Maurizio Sarri headed straight down the tunnel at full-time.

While City responded in the perfect manner to Liverpool’s victory on Saturday, Chelsea looked far from the top-four side they aspire to be. The loss left them outside the Champions League places and the pressure is mounting on manager Sarri.

It was Chelsea’s heaviest defeat since losing 7-0 to Nottingham Forest in 1991.

It began badly as they were caught napping after just four minutes. Kevin De Bruyne released Bernardo Silva down the right with a cleverly-taken free-kick and the Portuguese cut back for Sterling to smash home.

Aguero should have doubled the lead almost immediately but remarkably missed from two yards. Silva had weaved through the area to set up a gilt-edged opportunity but the Argentinian uncharacteristically poked wide.

Manager Pep Guardiola sank to his knees in frustration but he was soon celebrating as Aguero made amends in sensational fashion. The striker played a one-two with Oleksandr Zinchenko outside the area and then unleashed a ferocious shot that flew in from 25 yards.

Aguero’s second was gifted to him. David Luiz headed clear but Ross Barkley inexplicably headed back into the danger area. Aguero was lurking in the six-yard box and punished the former Everton midfielder with a sharp turn and shot.

Chelsea hardly had time to take stock before they conceded again, with Gundogan slotting home a neat shot from the edge after a poor clearance from Antonio Rudiger.

City eased off for the remainder of the first half, and Gonzalo Higuain even managed to test Ederson with a sharp volley, but the hosts clicked back into gear after the break.

Aguero was inches away from completing his 15th City hat-trick when he headed against the woodwork from a De Bruyne cross. He did not have to wait much longer, however, as Sterling was felled in the box by Cesar Azpilicueta. Aguero stepped up and sent Kepa Arrizabalaga the wrong way from the spot.

There seemed to be no let up from City with De Bruyne firing a free-kick at Kepa and Aguero shooting into the side-netting.

Sterling wrapped up a brilliant afternoon’s work after substitute David Silva opened up the Chelsea defence yet again and Zinchenko picked out the England international.

City supporters goaded Chelsea by telling them to bring Jose Mourinho back and, after such a hammering, it may not be long before Stamford Bridge managerial speculation is ramped up again.

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