Sergio Aguero looks as good as ever after a stunning hat-trick against Watford. (AP: Nigel French)
Sergio Aguero has sent a reminder of his class with an “amazing” hat-trick as Manchester City climbed to the top of the Premier League and sent an ominous warning to their title rivals with a 6-0 victory at Watford.
Aguero’s 10th hat-trick in City sky blue took his goal tally for the club to 175 — two fewer than all-time top scorer Eric Brook — but incredibly his future at the Etihad had been questioned following the emergence of 20-year-old Gabriel Jesus.
The talented Brazilian joined the club in January, leading many to doubt whether the two could both play in Pep Guardiola’s fluid system.
Jesus has scored 12 goals in 16 Premier League games including one in the rout at Watford.
However, the Argentine has six goals in as many games in all competitions this season, and has formed a lethal partnership with Jesus to catapult the red-hot blues to the Premier League summit.
“Aguero’s numbers speak for themselves — he is amazing,” Guardiola told the BBC.
“I am especially happy for his third goal because he was so clever and fast in the box and has the power to beat one or two players and score. I am so happy for him because we need him and his goals.
“It’s important for us that both our strikers are scoring goals. When Gabriel came last season we cannot forget he had just seven or eight games because he was injured immediately.
“We scored a lack of goals last season so we thought that maybe they should play together because Gabriel, when he came, was also striker.
“He’s a fighter and he helps us in many many ways. He has a goal-scoring sense. Today, he fought for one goal and scored another one.”
City has 13 points from five games and this week beat title rivals Liverpool 5-0 and Feyenoord 4-0 in the Champions League.
Guardiola, however, was quick to call for calm after a similarly impressive start last season ended trophyless.
“We started last season similarly winning 10 games in a row. We’re still at the beginning of the season but we know exactly what we have to do,” he said.
“This kind of performance, and the way we played, is completely down to the quality of the players. We can win at home, away — it doesn’t matter where. We play football to attack and we did that today.”
Liverpool held, Spurs stutter at Wembley again
Liverpool completed a disappointing week by drawing 1-1 with Burnley at Anfield. The visitors remained unbeaten away from home in the Premier League this season after a win at Chelsea and a draw at Tottenham Hotspur.
Even Philippe Coutinho’s first start could not secure the points for Liverpool, who trailed to a Scott Arfield goal before Mohamed Salah equalised with his fifth of the season.
In the late kick-off, suggestions that Tottenham Hotspur had cracked its home curse after the midweek Champions League victory over Borussia Dortmund proved short-lived.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side was held 0-0 by Swansea City, the third successive time Wembley’s new tenants have failed to win at home in the league this season.
Former England manager Roy Hodgson would have loved to call on some of Man City’s firepower at Selhurst Park as he began his latest job at Crystal Palace, who look serious candidates for relegation after suffering the worst start to a season by any side in English football’s top-flight history.
Steven Davis scored the only goal of the game after six minutes and Southampton, for whom Virgil van Dijk came on as a substitute to play his first game in eight months, survived the odd second-half scare to take all three points.
Newcastle United posted its third successive win, 2-1 over Stoke City, to cheer Rafa Benitez on his return to the dugout after ill health. For the second week running, Jamaal Lascelles scored the winner to justify the expected award of a new five-year contract at the club.
Newcastle is fourth, two places and one point above fellow promoted side Huddersfield Town, which drew 1-1 with Leicester City.
Jamie Vardy’s second-half penalty earned the visitors a point after Laurent Depoitre had given Huddersfield the lead.
West Ham United drew 0-0 with West Bromwich Albion in a game memorable only for Gareth Barry’s record-equalling 632nd Premier League appearance for the home side at The Hawthorns.