Aguero leads City stampede to top
MANCHESTER City stormed to the top of the Premier League as Sergio Aguero’s hattrick inspired a 6-0 demolition of Watford, while Philippe Coutinho’s return couldn’t lift Liverpool in a 1-1 draw against Burnley.
With previous leaders Manchester United not in action until an overnight clash with Everton, City had a chance to move three points clear of their title rivals.
Aguero ensured they did just that as the Argentine forward maintained his mastery of Watford at Vicarage Road.
Pep Guardiola’s side took the lead in the 27th minute when Aguero headed in from Kevin de Bruyne’s free-kick for his seventh goal in five games against the Hornets.
Aguero wasn’t finished inflicting pain on Marco Silva’s men and he struck again four minutes later, tapping in after Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes couldn’t hold David Silva’s cross-shot.
Having notched his fifth goal of the season, Aguero turned provider in the 38th minute, slipping in Gabriel Jesus for a nonchalant finish.
It was City’s 12th goal of a memorable week that also included a 5-0 thrashing of Liverpool and a 4-0 win at Feyenoord.
Nicolas Otamendi added to that tally when he headed in the fourth from Silva’s cross in the 63rd minute before Aguero completed his 10th City treble with nine minutes left.
There was still time for Raheem Sterling to win and convert an 89th-minute penalty to cap City’s top display.
At Anfield, with Sadio Mane suspended, Brazilian Coutinho made his first Liverpool start since his failed attempt to force a move to Barcelona.
But despite his return, Jurgen Klopp’s team was rocked when Scott Arfield put Burnley in front in the 27th minute.
Liverpool drew level three minutes later through Mohamed Salah but could not find a winner, finishing 1-1.
Tottenham Hotspur failed to win for a third successive league match at Wembley as Swansea City held on 0-0.
Crystal Palace hit a historic low as Steven Davis sealed Southampton’s 1-0 win at Selhurst Park.
Jamie Vardy rescued Leicester City as his second half penalty secured a 1-1 draw at Huddersfield Town, who took the lead through Laurent Depoitre in the 47th minute.
Jamaal Lascelles was Newcastle United’s hero again as he clinched a 2-1 win over Stoke City at St James’ Park.
Rafael Benitez’s side took the lead through Christian Atsu and Xherdan Shaqiri equalised for Stoke.
Newcastle captain Lascelles earned the hosts’ third successive victory with a 68th minute header.
West Bromwich Albion midfielder Gareth Barry equalled the Premier League appearance record in a 0-0 draw against West Ham at the Hawthorns. Barry, 36, is now level with Ryan Giggs’s mark of 632 games, having made his top-flight debut in 1998.