Hawke's Bay Today

City making EPL charge

- Rob Harris

Sergio Aguero is scoring for fun, and even referee Mike Dean got in on the japes. Only Chelsea had nothing to smile about after a 6-0 humiliatio­n at Manchester City. Scoring a hat-trick for a second successive Monday in the Premier League meant Aguero was owed another match ball. Not that Dean was going to make it easy for Aguero to collect the ball. Certainly not as easy as Chelsea allowed the Argentine to net a competitio­n-equalling 11th treble. Spotting Aguero on the field after the final whistle, Dean tucked the bright yellow ball up the back of his black referee’s jersey. Feigning ignorance about the location of the ball, Dean shrugged his shoulders before retrieving it from under his top for a beaming Aguero. This was a day of misery for Chelsea — the west London club’s heaviest loss in 28 years — but one for both City and Dean to flaunt their flamboyanc­e. When it came to awarding the penalty that allowed Aguero to complete his hat-trick — after spotting Cesar Azpilicuet­a’s foul on Raheem Sterling — Dean pointed exuberantl­y at the spot while jumping dramatical­ly to end up in a pose with his legs outstretch­ed in a squat. With Raheem Sterling scoring twice and Ilkay Gundogan also netting, Chelsea had nothing to enjoy in this latest embarrassm­ent on the road. As defending champions City reclaimed top spot from Liverpool on goal difference, Chelsea slipped to sixth place, coming on the back of a 2-0 loss at Arsenal and 4-0 collapse at Bournemout­h in away games. With Maurizio Sarri hired after Antonio Conte failed to make the top four last season, the prospect of another season out of the Champions League is likely to imperil the job prospects of another Chelsea manager. “My job is always at risk so I am not worried about the club — you have to ask the club,” Sarri said. “Something is changing. At the moment I am not able to see the reason but I have to work for this because my target is to play my football, not to change (to) another football because at the moment we are playing another football.” Silverware could still be collected in two weeks. Standing between Chelsea and the League Cup is City in the final on February 24 at Wembley Stadium. English football’s national stadium remains the temporary home of Tottenham where the north London club beat Leicester 3-1 in yesterday’s other game. It strengthen­ed Tottenham’s hold on third place and left Mauricio Pochettino’s side only five points behind City and Liverpool. City have played a game more than Tottenham and Liverpool, which beat Bournemout­h 3-0 on Sunday.

 ?? Photo / AP ?? Sergio Aguero signals to the fans after completing a hat-trick for Manchester City against Chelsea.
Photo / AP Sergio Aguero signals to the fans after completing a hat-trick for Manchester City against Chelsea.

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