Guardi­ola magic fi­nally starts to work on City

NT News - - TENNIS -

AL­THOUGH it’s taken a year longer than many ex­pected, Manch­ester City is fi­nally be­gin­ning to re­sem­ble a Pep Guardi­ola-coached team.

City re­mained in ram­pant form as it ended Wat­ford’s un­beaten start to the EPL with a re­sound­ing 6-0 vic­tory at Vicarage Road yes­ter­day.

Guardi­ola’s side has scored 15 goals in three matches since the in­ter­na­tional break, fol­low­ing 5-0 and 4-0 wins over Liver­pool and Fey­er­nood re­spec­tively.

City stut­tered to a third­place fin­ish in Guardi­ola’s de­but sea­son while fail­ing to pro­duce the stylish play of its man­ager’s former sides, but a sec­ond straight off-sea­son of sig­nif­i­cant per­son­nel changes ap­pears to be pay­ing off.

“It was so good, es­pe­cially af­ter an away game in the Cham­pi­ons League,” Guardi­ola said.

“I was lucky to man­age Barcelona with many out­stand­ing per­for­mances but this week has been a lot of goals. We have found our game, we can make short passes, and we have a lot of en­ergy from our full backs.”

Ser­gio Aguero scored a preda­tory hat trick and laid on an as­sist for Gabriel Je­sus, while Ni­co­las Ota­mendi headed in, and Ra­heem Ster­ling added a late penalty.

The vic­tory took City to the top of the ta­ble, but Manch­ester United can join it should its bit­ter ri­val over­come Ever­ton overnight.

Else­where, Liver­pool failed to shake off the ef­fects of last week’s thrash­ing by City, let­ting Burn­ley leave An­field with a 1-1 draw.

Crys­tal Palace be­came the first club in league his­tory to lose its open­ing five games with­out scor­ing when they fell 1-0 at home to Southamp­ton.

Swansea brought Tot­ten­ham back to earth in a score­less draw at Wem­b­ley, three days af­ter Spurs tore apart Borus­sia Dort­mund.

New­cas­tle made it three league wins a row by beat­ing Stoke 3-1, Le­ices­ter and Hud­der­s­field drew 1-1, and West Brom and West Ham played out a goal­less draw.

Hav­ing strug­gled at times last sea­son, Aguero ap­pears to have been re­vi­talised by his part­ner­ship with Je­sus and com­pleted the sixth Premier League hat trick of his ca­reer.

The Ar­gen­tine for­ward is just three goals away from break­ing Eric Brook’s 177-goal record at Manch­ester City.

Philippe Coutinho made his first start of the sea­son for Liver­pool af­ter fail­ing to force a sum­mer move to Barcelona, but his re­turn wasn’t enough to fill the void left by the sus­pended Sa­dio Mane.

Liver­pool strug­gled at times last sea­son with­out Mane and it ap­pears lit­tle has changed.

Ser­gio Aguero

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