Manchester City 5-1 Leicester City: Sergio Aguero issues timely reminder to Pep Guardiola
Sergio Aguero scored four second-half goals as Manchester City blitzed Leicester City to take another step towards the Premier League title.
Raheem Sterling’s third-minute opener was cancelled out by Jamie Vardy, as both teams went into half-time level-pegging.
Then came the fireworks.
Aguero netted his first on 48 minutes before putting another three past Kasper Schmeichel, with his fourth and final goal coming on the 90-minute mark.
City’s victory, coupled with Manchester United’s surprising 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United, extended their advantage at the top to the table to 16 points.
Leicester, meanwhile, remain in eighth spot despite enduring a torrid evening at the hands of Aguero and co.
Here are three talking points…
Aguero issues a timely reminder to Pep Guardiola
There is only one place to start.
At times, this has been a difficult season for the Argentinian sharpshooter, who has often played second fiddle to Gabriel Jesus in the crunch fixtures and cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines.
However, the Brazilian’s injury opened the door for Aguero and he has barged through, reminding Pep Guardiola why he can still play a major role as City fight on three fronts; in the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League.
Aguero was at his predatory best against a Leicester side that were far too accommodating in the second period and, with Kevin de Bruyne pulling the strings in behind, the Argentine has the perfect foil.
All the talk right now is about Harry Kane, but Aguero is only two goals behind the Tottenham man in the goalscoring charts, after netting in his seventh straight game at the Etihad.
This tally has also seen the 29-year-old surpass 20 goals for the fourth successive season.
Off-field issues undermine Leicester
With such a major distraction off the pitch this week, a visit to the runaway leaders was not the ideal fixture for Leicester manager Claude Puel.
Riyad Mahrez had dominated the headlines in light of his failure to report for training.
A U-turn saw him make himself available for the City clash, but at such short notice he was only afforded a place in the substitutes bench, coming on just after the hour mark.
Mahrez has acted unprofessionally after a deadline-day move to City was blocked by the club and he will have bridges to build with the club’s supporters.
When Vardy scored for the fourth game in succession to equalise, those fans would have hoped that they could return to the Midlands with a point.
Alas, City flexed their muscles after the interval and extinguished such aspirations.
But Leicester, in the comfort of eighth spot, can hopefully look forward with their best player back in the right frame of mind.
De Bruyne sparkles like a real diamond
This week, Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard was honoured with Belgium’s player of the year award.
Perhaps that was the spur for de Bruyne to produce another virtuoso performance.
He was always at the heart of City’s attacking play, the conductor of the orchestra who is at the peak of his powers.
De Bruyne assisted City’s first three goals to take his tally for the season to 14 – four more than his nearest challenger.
The cross that teed up Sterling was perfectly weighted, so was the delivery that enabled Aguero to open his account.
Another sumptuous ball from de Bruyne for the Argentinian left him with the opportunity to double his tally, which he duly took.
Football is subjective, but it is hard to believe at present there is a better midfielder in Europe than de Bruyne – that includes Hazard.
Belgium are fortunate to have them both in their ranks.
Wrapping them up in cotton wool will be crucial to their World Cup bid.
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