Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick as ruthless City moved back into second position in the Premier League after thrashing Aston Villa 6-1 at Villa Park. Aguero is now the greatest overseas goal-scorer as well as setting a new benchmark for Premier League trebles Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring on 18 minutes with a fine individual goal. And Mahrez doubled the lead just six minutes later after a series of defensive blunders gifted the Algerian an opportunity from close range that he finished emphatically. The champions made it three in 10 minutes when Sergio Aguero rifled a 20-yard shot into the top left-hand corner to virtually end the contest with less than half-an-hour played. And Aguero became the Premier League’s greatest overseas goal-scorer with his second goal of the night on 57 minutes as he wriggled past a couple of challenges before burying a low shot into the bottom corner from 15 yards. Aguero completed his record haul of hat-tricks nine minutes from time to cap a memorable day for him and City. Villa pulled a consolation back from the penalty spot in stoppage time. City now move to within 14 points of leaders Liverpool, while Villa slipped deeper into relegation trouble.
CHAMPIONS CONTINUE PERFECT START TO NEW YEAR There has been a school of thought that suggests City are back to their very best in recent weeks. In the first half against Manchester United in midweek, City were at their irresistible best – and the same could be said of the opening period against Villa. That ability to blow teams away before the break has not been as evident this season – but it most certainly has in the past two games with both United and Villa taken apart on the opening 45. With Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane both nearing full fitness, we could be in for a very exciting second half of the campaign.
MAHREZ OOZES CLASS – AGUERO CONFIRMED AS GREATEST Riyad Mahrez’s first goal was one of a player at the very peak of his powers. Picking up a pass midway inside the Villa half, the Algerian winger raced into the box, jinked inside one challenge and with thee defenders ahead of him, tucked a low drive inside the post. His second was thanks to the persistence of Aguero, keeping the ball in play when all seemed lost and when debutante Danny Drinkwater then dithered in possession, David Silva poked the ball to Mahrez who thumped home from eight yards. Aguero drew level with Arsenal legend Thierry Henry as the greatest overseas goal-scorer in Premier League history with a sublime strike from 20 yards. And the irrepressible Kevin De Bruyne provided his second assist of the game with the sort of burst forward and low cross that only he can provide to give Gabriel Jesus the simplest of tasks. Aguero, who had been writing history at Club and Premier League level for some time, moved on to 176 league goals just before the hour with the sort of goal that has been his trademark over the years, powering past a couple of challenges before placing a low shot just out of the keeper’s reach. On 81, he fired home yet another City hat-trick with a low drive from close range - incredible.
MAN OF THE MATCH: SERGIO AGUERO What can you say about this man that hasn't already been said? A legend.
WHAT’S NEXT? City enjoy a six-day break before hosting Crystal Palace at the Etihad (3pm kick-off).
MATCH DETAILS: Aston Villa (1): Nyland; Elmohamady, Konsa, Mings, Hause, Taylor; Drinkwater (Lansbury, 79’), Douglas Luiz (Nakamba, 64’), Hourihane (Trezeguet, 71’); Grealish, ElGhazi
Manchester City (6): Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Fernandinho (Otamendi, 63’), Mendy; Rodri (Gündogan, 71’), De Bruyne (Foden, 63’), David Silva; Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Agüero
Goals: 0-1, Mahrez (17’), 0-2, Mahrez (23’), 0-3, Agüero (28’), 0-4, Gabriel Jesus (45’), 0-5, Agüero (57’), 0-6, Agüero (81’), 1-6, El Ghazi (91’)
Referee: Jonathan Moss. Bookings: Fernandinho (50’), El Ghazi (52’), Grealish (80’)