Three things we learned: Man City v. Chelsea

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MANCHESTER — This is what you call making a statement.

Manchester City hammered Chelsea 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, with Pep Guardiola‘s men scoring four times in the first 25 minutes to move back to the top of the Premier League table on goal difference.

A hat trick from Sergio Aguero and goals from Raheem Sterling (two) and Ilkay Gundogan did the damage, as Chelsea collapsed away from home once again to cast fresh doubt over Maurizio Sarri‘s future as the Blues’ manager.

Here’s what we learned from a huge win for Man City, and another demoralizing defeat for Chelsea.


ANOTHER FAST START PROPELS CITY

Nothing eases tension in a title race better than an early goal. In three of Man City’s last four Premier League games they’ve scored their opener with less than four minutes on the clock, and Sterling’s opener set the tone for the entire game. City should have been 5-0 up inside 25 minutes, but they had to settle for 4-0 as Aguero scored twice and missed a sitter, while Gundogan added another. City got the ball wide as quickly as they could and dominated the individual battles with Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso. City are showing no signs of nerves because they are just blowing teams away early on and they have now opened up a +10 goal differential lead on Liverpool which like an extra point.

Aside from their early goal at Newcastle, which seemed to breath overconfidence into the team which led to their shock defeat, scoring early has put Guardiola’s men back in the title race. The fast start also provided Guardiola with the luxury of subbing off the likes of Aguero, Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne for well-earned rests. In two weeks time City play against Chelsea at Wembley in the League Cup final and this display will leave Chelsea shuddering with fear. Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp will be watching on with a similar feeling of angst. City are pushing themselves to the limit as they chase winning all four competitions they’re in.


A NEW LOW FOR CHELSEA UNDER SARRI

Chelsea have had some embarrassing moments recently but the capitulation at Man City took the biscuit. These are the kind of defeats which instantly get you fired. Sarri knows that. Of course, City can do this to any team in the world but the way Chelsea totally lost their shape and any defensive stability was painful for Sarri to watch. You could see it etched on his face throughout the game. For the first time since December 1999 Chelsea conceded four times in the first half of a PL game and for the first time in the PL era they’ve lost three top-flight games in a row on the road without scoring.

Coming after their similarly horrific defensive displays at Arsenal and Bournemouth, Sarri has a huge problem to solve. If he’s given the chance to solve it. After they went 4-0 down, Chelsea did okay in the first half. Gonzalo Higuain went close on a couple of occasions and they patched together some fluid attacks, but that all came when City had taken their foot off the gas. Chelsea have now failed to beat any of the so-called ‘big six’ in their last seven away games against them, and this display underlined how far from a title-challenging team they are.

Many would suggest Chelsea’s players have chucked in the towel and after conceding 12 goals and scoring zero in their last three PL away games (all defeats) things are quickly unraveling for Sarri. The way a disinterested Eden Hazard failed to track back on City’s first goal, Ross Barkley nodded to Aguero to score and the general lack of defensive cover for full backs suggests Chelsea are in a whole world of hurt. The Blues are only one point off the top four and sit in fifth, but at this rate you’d put money on Manchester United and even Arsenal finishing above them. You also wouldn’t put much money on Sarri lasting beyond this season as his tactics and man-management aren’t working at all. Sarri-ball has been kicked into touch in a big way with this embarrassing shellacking.


AGUERO, GUNDOGAN KEY IN TITLE BID

Aguero is on the kind of tear which ends up winning a Premier League title. He’s now scored seven goals in his last four PL games and his treble on Sunday saw him equal the most hat tricks scored (11) in Premier League history. In truth, he should have scored five as he hit the bar and missed an absolute sitter early on. But we will let him off… City’s all-time leading goalscorer has now scored 10 goals in his last seven PL matches, with that run starting in City’s win against Liverpool on Jan. 3. If City win the league this season, it will be because Aguero remained fit and kept scoring goals. Simple. The stats around Aguero are mind-boggling. He’s now scored eight goals in his last six PL games against Chelsea and he has scored 14 times in 12 home games for City this season. He also leads the PL, along with Mohamed Salah, in goals with 17.

Eyebrows were raised when City’s resident magician David Silva was left out of their starting lineup for such a pivotal game in the title race, but that was soon forgotten. Gunodgan pressed Jorginho into making several mistakes and scored City’s fourth with a trademark cool finish. The German midfielder is finally injury free and his freshness as a combative playmaker could prove pivotal in the big games coming up. Gundogan doesn’t do anything outstanding. He just oozes class at whatever he does. From his chipped pass to Sterling to set up City’s second goal against Arsenal last week to his caressed finish against Chelsea, Gundogan is popping up with vital contributions in the title run.

Manchester City destroy Chelsea (video)

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  • Aguero earns two league records via another hat trick
  • Sterling scores two
  • Chelsea sinks 6th, below Arsenal

Sergio Aguero wrote his name twice more in the record books as Manchester City smashed Chelsea 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Aguero scored a hat trick for the second week in-a-row, joining Alan Shearer as the only players to register 11 Premier League hat tricks. He also went atop the Man City leaderboard for league goals.

Other guys played, too, with Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan scoring while Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva put on playmaking and possession master classes.

City goes back atop the Premier League table on goal differential, now nine better than Liverpool having played one more game. Chelsea drops below fifth place Arsenal on goals scored, the goal differential level.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

City’s habit of striking quickly continued with a 4th minute goal off the boot of Sterling.

Left all alone at the back post to collect a David Luiz-deflected cross from Bernardo Silva, Sterling hammered the ball into a gaping space.

Aguero also worked himself into a back post position and skewered his chance to tap in Bernardo’s unreal dribble and pass through the six.

Eden Hazard work Chelsea up in the 12th minute with a long dribble down the left producing a shot that Kepa Arrizabalaga collected wide of the post.

Maybe the tap-in was too easy, because Aguero then took a Kevin De Bruyne feed and curled a 20-yard beauty around a flying Arrizabalaga.

Aguero helped produce the fourth, his dribble blocked by Antonio Rudiger onto the path of Gundogan for another long distance goal.

Ederson made a second decent save of the half when Gonzalo Higuain tore into a shot from distance, but Chelsea did not pull any goals back before halftime.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Aguero nearly nodded home for his hat trick when his header of a De Bruyne cross hit the cross bar.

Mike Dean pointed to the spot after Cesar Azpilicueta took down Sterling in the 55th minute, and Aguero had his chance for back-to-back hat tricks and a share of the Premier League hat trick record.

De Bruyne sent an arrow of a free kick around the wall, but Arrizabalaga stopped it.

Substitute Gabriel Jesus was shoved by Luiz as he attempted a 1v1 shot on Arrizabalaga, but Dean stopped short of awarding another penalty.

Sterling got his second in a similar enough fashion to his first. It was 6-0 with 10 minutes to play.

Aguero hits golazo as part of Man City’s unreal start v. Chelsea (video)

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Navy blue heads are spinning in Manchester, as City scored four goals in the first 25 minutes at the Etihad Stadium.

That’s even wilder considering that Sergio Aguero missed a total sitter early in Manchester City’s Sunday morning match against Chelsea.

That in itself is a headline, yeah?

[ RECAP: Spurs 2-1 Leicester ]

But the Argentine superstar, fresh off a hat trick, had something up his sleeve (or down his sock).

Aguero doubled Chelsea’s early lead with a vicious, curling effort from outside the 18-yard box that Kepa Arrizabalaga did well to touch on its route into the upper 90.

What a hit. Aguero then scored a tap-in before a blocked effort from his fell to Ilkay Gundogan for City’s fourth of the half. Raheem Sterling scored the first.

Newport County shocks Leicester City as five PL clubs exit

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A late Padraig Armond penalty helped Newport County to a surprising 2-1 win over Premier League mainstay Leicester City in FA Cup action on Sunday at Rodney Parade.

Jamille Matt also scored for the Exiles, who became the second League Two side to knock off a top-flight team on the day after Fulham was upended by Oldham Athletic.

It was one of several big upsets on Sunday, though we’ll get to those a bit further down the page.

Rachid Ghezzal scored for Leicester, who left Jamie Vardy, Harry Maguire, Wilfred Ndidi, and Kasper Schmeichel out of the 18, and only found their equalizer once Demarai Gray and James Maddison subbed into the game.

Matt scored in the 10th minute.

Leicester needed 72 minutes of play to level the score through Ghezzal, their first success in a match which held 70 percent for the Foxes and a 24-9 edge in shot attempts.

But the stalemate was only three minutes long, as Marc Albrighton handled a ball in the box, and up stepped Armond. Scenes, as they say.

More upsets

League One side Gillingham used home field to beat Cardiff City 1-0 on Saturday.

Huddersfield Town lost 1-0 at Championship side Bristol City.

Bullets dodged 

Newcastle United got a late penalty from Matt Ritchie to dodge Blackburn Rovers upset bid at St. James’ Park, and will face a replay at Ewood Park.

Jordan Ayew‘s late goal helped Crystal Palace avoid a stunning home loss to Grimsby Town.

Burnley got a lone goal in holding off Barnsley.

Southampton tossed away a 2-0 lead at Derby County but will still get the chance to advance through a replay.

A pair of early goals had Everton ticketed for an easy ride past Lincoln City, but the Imps had other ideas and were unlucky not to level the score late in a 2-1 Saturday loss.

Big boys have little problem

Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata scored as Manchester United beat Reading 2-0 while handing Tahith Chong a debut at Old Trafford.

Manchester City hung seven goals on Rotherham United on Sunday, with Ilkay Gundogan starring with four assists.

Spurs absolutely worked over Tranmere Rovers, scoring seven goals of their own in a Friday clean sheet.

Blackpool was pesky enough in front of a half-empty stadium, but Arsenal mostly cruised in a 3-0 win highlighted by a pair of Joe Willock goals.

Chelsea got a brace from Alvaro Morata in knocking off Nottingham Forest.

Liverpool plays Monday at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Other Premier League teams

Watford dodged a solid challenge from non-league Woking and its assistant coach, long time Premier League broadcaster Martin Tyler.

West Ham United scored in the second minute through Marko Arnautovic and added an Andy Carroll goal in stoppage time to hold off Birmingham City.

Brighton and Hove Albion beat Bournemouth 3-1 at the Vitality Stadium.

Foden, Gundogan star for seven-goal Man City

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Manchester City rolled past Rotherham United 7-0 in the FA Cup on Sunday, with Ilkay Gundogan starring and Phil Foden scoring his second senior goal.

A trip to the Etihad Stadium was always going to be a tall ask for the Championship side, and Pep Guardiola‘s inclusion of Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling in the Starting XI didn’t help the Millers.

[ REPORT: Mourinho turns down job ]

De Bruyne cued Sterling up for the first goal of the game, while Foden, Gabriel Jesus, Riyad Mahrez, Nicolas Otamendi, Leroy Sane, and a Rotherham own goal also dotted the score sheet.

Gundogan was the playmaker for four of City’s seven goals, while Sterling also picked up an assist.

Foden’s goal was his first senior goal for City, and it must’ve seemed to him like it took ages for the ball to cross the line considering it took a relatively long time anyway.

The own goal followed, making it 3-0 into halftime.

City out-attempted the Millers 23-1, though that one shot did go on target (Silver lining alert?).

Gundogan set up Foden’s goal, and was provider for the final three goals of the match as well.

It’s no surprise to hear that Foden is definitely sticking around the Etihad Stadium.

Here are all the markers via the FA Cup’s Twitter feed: