Sergio Aguero scored a superb hat-trick as Manchester City continued their strong start to their Premier League title defence by thrashing Huddersfield at Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola’s side, who beat Arsenal 2-0 in their opener, lost only once at home all of season and victory never looked in doubt against the Terriers, who have two defeats from their first two matches of the campaign.
Huddersfield did manage to hold City at bay for 25 minutes but were undone when goalkeeper Ederson superbly picked out Aguero with a pinpoint pass and the striker drew out Terriers keeper Ben Hamer before lifting the ball into the net.
Gabriel Jesus added a second seven minutes later with a crisp low strike from the edge of the area, before Aguero pounced on a Hamer error to stab in his second soon after.
Jon Gorenc Stankovic gave the visitors the slightest glimmer of hope before half time when he poked in from Steve Mounie’s flick-on, but any optimism was snuffed out early in the second half by a brilliant free-kick from David Silva.
Aguero then wrapped up his hat-trick with a smart flick from Benjamin Mendy’s cross – before a Terence Kongolo own goal sealed an emphatic win for an impressive City.
Guardiola’s side are top of the table and have scored eight goals in two games, conceding just one. Huddersfield, meanwhile, drop to the bottom of the standings on goal difference.
Guardiola’s experiment a worry for his rivals
How do you stop a team like Manchester City? That was a question pondered by the 19 other Premier League managers last season, with many opting for the tactic of ‘parking the bus’.
City usually managed to find a way through but sometimes not until very late on – winning goals against Huddersfield, Southampton, Bournemouth and West Ham last term did not come until after the 80th minute.
That has perhaps prompted Pep Guardiola to find an alternative tactic to deal with defensive sides, as BBC Radio 5 live pundit Leon Osman observed during Sunday’s game.
“Pep Guardiola has made a number of changes and left out Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker,” said the former Everton midfielder.
“He’s taken out all the guys with pace and got his footballers on. Guys with quick feet that can operate in small spaces.”
The result was that Huddersfield could barely get the ball off their hosts as City skilfully crafted opportunities from the limited space they had.
Even at 6-1, City did not ease up their attacking intent. In truth, Huddersfield can consider themselves fortunate that a repeat of the 10-1 defeat they suffered at City 31 years ago did not materialise.
Guardiola will surely have been happy with what he saw. Usually so tense on the touchline, he was seen sharing a joke with coach Mikel Arteta towards the end of the game.
His side now have a couple of ways they can successfully approach a game – an ominous sign for the rest of the Premier League.