Ilkay Gundogan

Aguero rewrites record book as Man City unloads on Aston Villa

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Manchester City took over second place in the Premier League with an emphatic 6-1 beating of Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday.

Sergio Aguero wrote a new Premier League record with his 12th hat trick, breaking Alan Shearer’s two-decade old record. He also became the all-time leader in goals for a foreign-born player. Aguero added an assist, because why not?

Riyad Mahrez scored a brace, Kevin De Bruyne supplied a pair of assists, and Gabriel Jesus also scored as the two-time reigning league champs opened up a four-goal halftime lead.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Ilkay Gundogan gave away a needless penalty to Trezeguet in stoppage time. Anwar El Ghazi blasted his effort home for the consolation.

City’s 47 points are 14 back of leaders Liverpool, who have a match-in-hand.

Villa is in the Bottom Three with 21 points, its minus-15 goal differential second worst in the league.


Three things we learned

1. City piling up numbers as sensational Aguero sets standard: Sergio Aguero’s two goals gave him a new Premier League record. His 175 goals are the most scored by a non-English player in league history, and it’s fitting that it came off a David Silva assist. That helped is Silva’s 137th for the club.

Then he upped the ante, scoring his 12th Premier League hat trick. No one’s done that.

2. History-chasing De Bruyne puts on show: Kevin De Bruyne’s .636 assists per league match this season have him well on his way to breaking Thierry Henry’s PL single season assist record. KDB has 14, meaning at current pace he’ll tie or break the record even if he misses four matches.

This pass to meet Gabriel Jesus’ run was just stupid.

3. Nightmare debut for Drinkwater: Danny Drinkwater has a new claret shirt after his loan to Burnley changed to a loan to Aston Villa, but the Chelsea man is still in relegation form. Drinkwater was worked by Mahrez for City’s first goal and then played with lower league speed in failing to clear danger on the second. Honestly, the embattled midfielder could’ve been at fault for a third before the match was 25 minutes old.

Man of the Match: A-guer-o.


City was ready to pounce on any mistakes from Moment No. 1, and Mahrez didn’t need much room to make it 1-0.

The Algerian danced past Danny Drinkwater and then used Kortney Hause as a screen to fire a low shot inside the near post.

Mahrez got his second after some real industry from Aguero on the left. The Argentine pushed a ball off the end line and back into the mixer. Both David Silva and Gabriel Jesus got a piece of the ball en route to Mahrez’s finish.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Jesus turned a terrific Mendy pass to rip a shot over the bar in the 26th.

Aguero made it 3-0 when Villa’s back line gave him acres of space to rip a shot that Nyland could only slow on its journey to the back of the net.

Aguero and David Silva each could’ve made it four before the 37 minute mark, the latter curling his free kick around the near post.

Jesus hit the scoreboard off a fantastic and acute pass from De Bruyne, the latest example of the latter’s pure wizardry.

Aguero collected a giveaway and clinically finished past Nyland for 6-0 in the 82nd. It was his 16th hat trick for City.

FOLLOW LIVE: Manchester derby in League Cup semifinals

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Manchester City meets Manchester United in a heavyweight Carabao Cup semifinal clash as the two do battle at Old Trafford in the first leg of their League Cup tie.

[ MORE: Follow League Cup scores live ]

Both teams have started a strong lineup, although it’s Manchester City that has gone completely full-strength with Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling, and Bernardo Silva all starting up front without a main striker. Both Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are on the bench to start, while Ilkay Gundogan, Rodrigo, and Kevin De Bruyne control the midfield and Phil Foden starts on the bench.

For Manchester United, Morgan Greenwood looks to continue his excellent Cup form up front supported by Marcus Rashford wearing the captain’s armband. The injured Harry Maguire misses out completely with Phil Jones in his place at center-back. Fred looks to continue his good performances in midfield and the warrior Aaron Wan-Bissaka starts at full-back.

Manchester United came out victorious in their last meeting, back in December in Premier League play. They also have gotten the better of City in each of their last two League Cup meetings, in 2016/17 and 2010/11. They will need to contend with a world-class Raheem Sterling who leads the EFL Cup in goals involved since the start of the 2012/13 season with eight goals and six assists.

Gabriel Jesus brace drives Man City past Everton

Manchester City beats Everton video highlights
Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images
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Gabriel Jesus scored two goals as Manchester City firmed up its Top Four footing with a 2-1 win over Everton at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

City now has 44 points, eight more than fourth-place Chelsea and 11 fewer than leaders Liverpool who have two matches-in-hand.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Richarlison scored the lone Everton goal. The Toffees stall in 10th with 25 points.


Three things we learned

1. It pays to be a City center forward: Gabriel Jesus’ two goals were fine finishes. The 22-year-old Brazilian potted his 12th and 13th goals of the season in all competitions to go with six assists in 1600 minutes. Sergio Aguero was rested, having scored 14 times in just under 1200 minutes.

Entering play Wednesday, Jesus and Aguero ranked first and second in expected goals per 90 minutes of Premier League play at .91 and .88. No player with more than 300 minutes has more than .70 per game.

It’s also worth noting that xG said Jesus has actually cashed in 3 fewer chances than expected. It’s not crazy to think he may be handed the wheel next season.

2. Bravo follows the story line to keep Everton in it: The gap between Ederson and Claudio Bravo is a significant one, and the Brazilian’s illness had the Chilean back in gaffe mode. City led 2-0 when Bravo badly mishit a pass that ended up in the back of his net within a half-dozen seconds.

3. Calvert-Lewin lucky to stay on: In-form Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin couldn’t keep up his goal scorring run on Wednesday, but is very fortunate to have not been sent off for an 86th minute scissor tackle of Fernandinho on the end line. A yellow card was shown, but it could’ve been much worse for the center forward.

Man of the Match: Easy one, this time, as Gabriel Jesus was wonderful and the difference. Fernandinho also very decent in the win.


City looked to have a dream start with a classic City goal. Riyad Mahrez slipped in Joao Cancelo and the fullback crossed for Phil Foden‘s finish, but VAR spotted Mahrez offside.

VAR denied Riyad Mahrez a penalty shout, and the Algerian saw another chance go for naught in the 45th.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Jesus scored in the 52nd minute to finally get through Ancelotti’s defense, running to meet Ilkay Gundogan‘s invitation. Jordan Pickford could only get a piece of the effort.

The Brazilian potted a Mahrez pass in the 58th minute to make it 2-0.

City clawed one back off a poor Claudio Bravo clearance, as Richarlison raced to the back post to deposit a deflected Theo Walcott shot.

Pickford denied Jesus a hat trick in the 73rd minute as the Brazilian didn’t get enough on a back post header.

Tactics Session: How Man City dominated Leicester City

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This past weekend’s game between Manchester City and Leicester City at the Etihad was a highly anticipated matchup. Both sides had plenty at stake, and both sides not only a lot to lose, but also plenty to gain.

Man City sat 11 points off the top of the table coming in, and any more slips could prove deadly not only to their already slim title hopes, but also to any thought of finishing second, which still remains important to the club after winning back-to-back titles and not wishing to fall behind anyone else. Leicester City came in also looking to stay in the title hunt with Liverpool seemingly pulling away, and also looking for another statement win that entrenches the Foxes as a legitimate long-term threat to the top of the table.

Leicester City went in front early as Jamie Vardy continued his torrid stretch, but Pep Guardiola came away with the goods via a 3-1 comeback victory on goals from Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan, and Gabriel Jesus. Still, it was all about Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling. In the video above, Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe break down the tactical change Guardiola made that left Man City firmly on top after the 90 minutes.

The 2 Robbies brilliantly illustrate how one slight change made all the difference for Man City going forward and left Brendan Rodgers to reconsider his approach moving forward. Guardiola left defensive midfielder Rodri on the bench, an unexpected move that left some scratching their heads before kickoff, instead selecting Ilkay Gundogan in the holding role and dropping Bernardo Silva into a true central midfield position. With both taking a step back, de Bruyne operated in a central attacking midfield role with Sterling also pinching in, a wrinkle for a Man City team that has unabashedly played out wide so far this season.

With de Bruyne drifting centrally, it left Wilfried Ndidi – who has been one of the best, if not THE best, defensive midfielder in the Premier League this season – to decide whether to mark Sterling or de Bruyne. Unable to do both, and with Youri Tielemans not prepared to be needed tracking back, Man City found its mismatch. Sterling created three chances, all in a central location in and around the penalty area, and de Bruyne was absolutely stellar pulling the strings. The Belgian’s best moment came on the final goal, turning Caglar Soyuncu into minced meat before a pinpoint feed to the far post for Jesus.

Credit Guardiola for identifying a weakness in the squad – even if it took a few months – and realizing the team is better when playing through the middle. Man City still delivered 15 crosses in the game, a hefty number for most top European clubs, but it was ultimately a decoy for the truly dangerous moments.

 

Classy Man City humbles Leicester City

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Manchester City humbled second place Leicester City with a controlling 3-1 win at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan, and Gabriel Jesus scored for Man City, who pulls to within a point of the second place Foxes.

Jamie Vardy gave Leicester a surprise lead against the run of play, but the Foxes failed to make up ground on Liverpool.


Three things we learned

1. Lessons for Rodgers, Leicester City: The Foxes have been very good this season, no question about that, but for the second time this season they were shown how much work is left to keep up with the leaders. Liverpool barely beat Leicester in terms of the score line, but controlled the match.

This was worse for Brendan Rodgers‘ boys, who will meet Liverpool on Boxing Day.

Leicester was out shot 18-2 in the aforementioned loss to Liverpool.

This was probably worse. Man City had 63 percent of the ball and a 23-5 edge in shots. *Twelve* of those were on target as Kasper Schmeichel bailed out his men. Seventeen of the 23 attempts came inside the box.

Pep Guardiola surprised Brendan Rodgers by leaving Rodri out of the midfield in a bid to out-sly the Foxes, and Gundogan, De Bruyne, and Bernardo Silva were very, very creative. Wilfred Ndidi did his best to keep the group from being overrun, but the remaining midfielders were absent aside from Barnes’ great assist.

2. No one’s quite like KDB right now: There are better dribblers and players with quicker pace, but there is no Premier League attacker quite as complete as De Bruyne. The Belgian’s work on Man City’s deserved this goal showed just that. It wasn’t his only moment on the day, of course, but his show of power down the right side was unstoppable in setting up Jesus’ sliding goal. And the PL’s top assist man also strikes the ball about as pure as anyone.

3. Sensational Schmeichel saves Foxes from uglier outcome: Leicester City’s goalkeeper is the reason this one wasn’t a massive and deflating blowout for Brendan Rodgers’ Foxes. He stopped some pummeled shots from the champs, and kept Leicester alive for a point.

Man of the Match: Mahrez over De Bruyne and Schmeichel, but just.


[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Man City came out of the gates with vigor, and was nearly rewarded with a goal when Kevin De Bruyne blasted the far post in the 13th minute.

Riyad Mahrez stung a deflected shot to Kasper Schmeichel soon after, the hosts all over the Foxes. The Algerian then set up Gabriel Jesus for a half-chance that Schmeichel did very well to slap away from the line.

Vardy scored out of nothing when Harvey Barnes, fresh off a miscue, hit a sensational outside of the boot pass to find the industrious English striker on the break.

Vardy had blazed past Fernandinho, and the Man City defender hoped his goalkeeper would save him blushes. Ederson charged out hard, but Vardy’s little chip was perfect and found its way into the goal.

Mahrez continued to have his way with Ben Chilwell to set up the equalizer, his drive taking a wicked turn to beat Schmeichel. The Leicester keeper then did very well to stop a De Bruyne rocket in the 41st.

Sterling chased after a loose ball when Mike Dean played advantage moments later, and the Englishman sidestepped Ricardo Pereira to win a penalty.

James Maddison swung a hopeful shot through traffic and Ederson did well to palm it wide of the goal.