Manchester City thrashed Aston Villa 6-1 as Sergio Aguero netted a hat-trick to break two records, Riyad Mahrez scored twice and former Leicester City team-mate Danny Drinkwater endured a debut to forget.
The contest was settled in a 10-minute spell at Villa Park in which Mahrez grabbed a double and Aguero equalled Thierry Henry as the Premier League’s top-scoring non-Englishman, later surpassing him and securing a record 12th hat-trick in the process.
It was a particularly harsh introduction to life at his new club for Chelsea loanee Drinkwater, who might have prevented the opener and effectively supplied the second.
Mahrez broke the deadlock after easily shrugging off Drinkwater’s dithering presence, while the three-cap England international gave the ball away in his own box to allow his former Foxes team-mate to double his tally.
Aguero’s rasping drive put City in control and Gabriel Jesus made it 4-0 before the break, with Villa’s punishment extended by two more goals for Aguero after the break – Anwar El Ghazi’s late penalty a minor blemish for the champions.
Having seen Liverpool continue their apparently unstoppable march to the top-flight title with a 1-0 win at Tottenham on Saturday, City – fresh from a 3-1 EFL Cup semi-final first-leg victory over Manchester United – were initially a little lacklustre before Mahrez injected some much-needed quality with his 18th-minute opener, which came at the end of a fine solo run.
Drinkwater, having failed to make an impact in a previous spell with Burnley, looked off the pace and was caught by David Silva, who found Jesus to set up Mahrez for the Algerian’s second soon after.
Aguero’s record-equalling goal was more eye-catching, his vicious strike from outside the box getting the better of Orjan Nyland to leave Villa reeling.
Worse was to come in first-half stoppage time, Jesus steering home from Kevin De Bruyne’s superb pinpoint cross from right.
To Villa’s credit, they limited the damage in the second half, albeit Dean Smith’s side were often pinned back by a fluent and strutting City outfit.
Aguero’s fancy footwork in the box created the space for him to coolly slot in the fifth, making history in the process, but he was not done there.
An emphatic close-range finish ensured Aguero has now scored more hat-tricks than any other player in Premier League history.
El Ghazi took out his anger on a last-gasp penalty that did little to paper over the cracks for Villa, with City jumping above Leicester into second.
What does it mean? City shine, even in the shadows
Liverpool’s stunning form has left City somewhat in the Merseyside club’s shadows, but even now they continue to shine.
This was a display of champions, which is what City officially remain for the time being. Villa can take solace in knowing they will not face this quality every week in their quest for survival.
Mahrez makes his mark
Several City players underlined their class in this one, not least of all the likes of De Bruyne, Aguero and Silva, but it took Mahrez to bring the game to life.
He was a willing runner at an ailing Villa defence who failed to limit his influence.
Drinkwater’s maiden outing a harsh lesson
As debuts go, this was up there – or down there – with the worst. Drinkwater’s lack of game time had readily apparent consequences in a contest where Villa were already huge underdogs.
He will need to dust himself down after this one and hope the only way is up.
Key Opta Facts
– Aguero became the highest-scoring non-British player in Premier League history with 177 goals, two ahead of Henry’s tally of 175.
– Aguero netted his 12th Premier League hat-trick, making him the outright record holder for trebles in the history of the competition, one ahead of Alan Shearer on 11.
– Villa conceded six goals in a home league game for the first time since losing 6-0 against Liverpool in February 2016.
– Since the start of the 2016-17 season, Pep Guardiola’s side have scored 343 Premier League goals – 42 more than any other team.
– Mahrez is the only Premier League player to both score and assist 20 goals since the start of last season in all competitions (21 goals, 23 assists).
City welcome Crystal Palace to the Etihad Stadium next Saturday, having lost the same fixture last season in a five-goal thriller. Villa, meanwhile, head to the south coast to take on Palace’s bitter rivals Brighton and Hove Albion.
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