Sep 24, 2017
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Three talking points as Manchester City thrashed Crystal Palace at the Etihad

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A swashbuckling second-half performance helped Manchester City demolish hapless Crystal Palace to remain at the summit of the Premier League.

It took City 44 minutes to break the deadlock, but once they did the floodgates opened. Raheem Sterling scored twice, while Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero and Fabian Delph were also on target for the hosts, who have scored 21 goals from six top-flight outings so far.

Palace however, are still to find the net or register a point this season and are rooted to the foot of the table. Here are three things we learnt at the Etihad Stadium.

Sizzling City are setting the benchmark

The two Manchester clubs are locked together at the top of the table on 16 points – but it is the blue half of the city that has really caught the eye so far.

Pep Guardiola’s men have recorded four consecutive victories, scoring 18 goals and conceding just one in the process. While United have generally ground down their opponents, City have simply outclassed them with breathtaking football.

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They have goal scorers all across the pitch and a depth to their squad that is unmatched. The signings they made in the summer have greatly enhanced the squad and they are showing exactly why they were rated the frontrunners for the title before a ball was kicked.

Hodgson has an unenviable task

It is fair to say eyebrows were raised when Palace replaced Frank de Boer with Roy Hodgson, who had been out of work since overseeing England’s embarrassing Euro 2016 campaign, just four games into the season.

The South London outfit have not had the new-manager bounce the club’s hierarchy would have hoped for. If anything, their performances have deteriorated further.

Of course, Hodgson will not be judged by the results against a side of City’s class, but Palace are completely bereft of confidence and even after six games, look destined for the drop. Still pointless, it is tough to see when they will finally break their duck.

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Palace’s next opponents, you ask? Manchester United.

Sterling is confounding his critics 

The England forward has often been criticised for his finishing ability – but this season his statistics in front of goal are up there with the best.

Sterling has bagged five in six Premier League games, averaging a goal for every 60 minutes he is on the pitch. Important goals too, including the equaliser against Everton and an injury-time winner versus Bournemouth.

His brace against beleaguered Palace was another indication that he has stepped up his game this season and is benefiting from working under a coach of Guardiola’s calibre. There is plenty more to come from him, too.