Six-goal City goes top, Liverpool held by Burnley
LONDON: Manchester City stormed to the top of the Premier League as Sergio Aguero’s hat trick inspired a 6-0 demolition of Watford, while Philippe Coutinho’s return could not lift Liverpool in a 1-1 draw against Burnley on Saturday.
With previous leaders Manchester United not in action until Sunday’s 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 was not finished inflicting pain on Marco Silva’s men and he struck again four minutes later, tapping in after Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes could not 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 89thminute penalty to cap City’s swaggering display.
At Anfield, with Sadio Mane suspended, Coutinho made his first Liverpool start since his failed attempt to force a move to Barcelona.
Brazil forward Coutinho missed the first five games of the season with a back injury before coming on in Wednesday’s 2-2 Champions League draw against Sevilla.
But despite his return, Jurgen Klopp’s team were rocked when Scott Arfield put Burnley in front in the 27th minute.
Liverpool drew level three minutes later through Mohamed Salah’s cool finish from Emre Can’s pass, but the Reds couldn’t find a winner with Coutinho substituted in the closing stages.
Roy Hodgson was unable to stop Crystal Palace hitting a historic low as Steven Davis sealed Southampton’s 1-0 win at Selhurst Park.
Former England boss Hodgson was taking charge of Palace for the first time following his appointment on Tuesday as successor to the sacked Frank de Boer.
But Hodgson could not inspire an immediate upturn in Palace’s fortunes, with Davis’s goal condemning the Eagles to a piece of unwanted history.
Palace sit bottom of the table after becoming the first English top-tier team to lose their opening five fixtures without scoring a single goal.
Jamie Vardy rescued Leicester City as his penalty secured a 1-1 draw at Huddersfield Town.
Laurent Depoitre, on his full Premier League debut, put Huddersfield ahead in the 47th minute, only for England striker Vardy to equalize with a spot-kick three minutes later following Chris Lowe’s foul on Andy King.
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 when Christian Atsu volleyed home for his first Premier League goal in the 19th minute.
Xherdan Shaqiri equalized for Stoke with an impressive strike, curling home after a penetrating run in the 57th minute.
But Newcastle captain Lascelles, who also bagged the winner at Swansea City last weekend, earned the hosts’ third successive victory with a header from Matt Ritchie’s 68th minute corner.
Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero celebrates after scoring their fifth goal completing his hat trick against Watford on Saturday. (Reuters)