Aguero scores three as Manch­ester City go top

Hodg­son’s first game at Crys­tal Palace ends in de­feat

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Manch­ester City man­ager Pep Guardi­ola said his team’s rich vein of form is com­pa­ra­ble to his all-con­quer­ing Barcelona side af­ter Ser­gio Aguero’s hat-trick led to a de­mo­li­tion of Wat­ford at Vicarage Road yes­ter­day.

Aguero’s tre­ble, as well as goals for Gabriel Je­sus, Ni­co­las Ota­mendi and a penalty from Ra­heem Ster­ling saw City run out 6-0 win­ners.

Fol­low­ing a 5-0 win last week against Liverpool and a 4-0 vic­tory at Feyeno­ord in the Uefa Cham­pi­ons League, City have now scored 15 goals with­out con­ced­ing in their past three matches.

“It was so good. Es­pe­cially af­ter an away game in the Cham­pi­ons League. The way we played as a team, we are so happy,” 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.”

The win sends City to the top of the Premier League ta­ble, three points ahead of ri­vals Manch­ester United, who play their game in hand to­day against Ever­ton at Old Traf­ford.

New­cas­tle United wel­comed back man­ager Rafa Ben­itez with a third suc­ces­sive win as the pro­moted side saw off Stoke City 2-1 with a sec­ond win­ner in as many games from cap­tain Ja­maal Las­celles. Ben­itez, who missed the 1-0 win over Swansea City af­ter hav­ing surgery, was back in the dugout but was un­der in­struc­tions to stay calm.

“Nor­mally I am a lit­tle bit more ag­i­tated, but to­day I have to be care­ful,” Ben­itez said. “It will take some time to heal, but at least win­ning is al­ways eas­ier.”

It was all square in three of yes­ter­day’s games, with Le­ices­ter City leav­ing Hud­der­s­field Town with a point, Burn­ley hold­ing Liverpool to a draw, and West Bromwich Al­bion and West Ham United play­ing out a goal­less draw.

Roy Hodg­son said he faces a stiff chal­lenge to turn around Crys­tal Palace’s for­tunes af­ter a 1-0 home de­feat to Southamp­ton saw them be­come the first Premier League side to lose their first five games and fail to score.

“I still be­lieve in the long-term, these play­ers will pick them­selves up from where they have been knocked down to,” Hodg­son, who was tak­ing charge of his first game since re­plac­ing the sacked Frank de Boer, told Sky Sports.

“It’s go­ing to be a long road and there might be some more pain be­fore we see some light at the end of the tun­nel.”

In yes­ter­day’s late game, Tot­ten­ham were held to a goal­less draw by Swansea at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium.

EPA

Ser­gio Aguero helped keep Manch­ester City on a roll as he scored three times in a 6-0 thrash­ing of Wat­ford yes­ter­day at Vicarage Road

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