London: Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero struck his second hat-trick in a week as the champions ruthlessly destroyed Sunday a woeful Chelsea in a 6-0 win at The Etihad to return to the top of the Premier League. This triumph over a club in the top six of the points table was an emphatic statement of City’s title aspirations.
In the past week City have beaten Arsenal at home and Everton away before taking Maurizio Sarri’s side to pieces with four goals in the opening 25 minutes.
“Incredible week, incredible game,” said manager Pep Guardiola. “To score six against Chelsea and the way we played, we had so much attention (to detail). We did it, it’s an incredible compliment to the players, they are outstanding,” added the Spaniard.
City have now scored 33 goals in their last five home games in all competitions. They and Liverpool are both on 65 points with City having the better goal difference. Third-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who beat Leicester City 3-1 earlier Sunday, are five points behind.
Aguero, who scored a hat-trick seven days ago against Arsenal, has equalled Alan Shearer’s record of 11 Premier League hat-tricks and is now joint top scorer in the league this season with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah on 17 goals.
Chelsea had no time to settle before Raheem Sterling fired City ahead in the fourth minute with a side-foot finish after a quick free-kick from Kevin De Bruyne caught the visiting defence napping.
Aguero then got into the act when he beat Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga with a blistering strike from 25 metres, underlining the fact that he is far more than a penalty area poacher.
A poor header by Chelsea’s Ross Barkley towards his own goal gifted Aguero with City’s third, the Argentine firing home with a first-time shot on the turn, and then a low drive from Ilkay Gundogan made it 4-0 after 25 minutes.
Guardiola had left David Silva on the bench but his midfield looked perfectly balanced with De Bruyne and Gundogan providing a presence in the middle and Bernardo Silva, who seems to get better with every game, in imperious form on the right flank.
Following the break, Aguero, who also became City’s all-time top scorer in league games, headed against the bar before he completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after Sterling had been brought down by Cesar Azpilicueta.
Sterling completed the rout, turning in a low cross from Oleksandr Zinchenko in the 80th.
“It is one of the worst nights in my career. It is difficult to explain what happened,” said Chelsea captain Azpilicueta.