Manchester City blitzed Aston Villa at Villa Park, with a record-breaking Sergio Aguero hat-trick making the headlines after Riyad Mahrez grabbed a brace; Gabriel Jesus also got on the scoresheet.
Here’s what we learned from the second demolition job in the space of a week…
Magnificent Sergio Agüero
I’ve run out of words to describe just how good Sergio Agüero is. His first goal was a beauty of a finish, his second – a cool strike after a forceful run, and the third – a thumping hit past the goalkeeper. With that goal, he overtook Alan Shearer as the all-time most prolific hat-trick scorer in Premier League history with 12.
If that wasn’t enough, he also overtook Thierry Henry by scoring his 175th, 176th and 177th Premier League goals – putting him joint fourth in the all-time leaderboard along with former City player Frank Lampard. Only Shearer, Wayne Rooney and Andy Cole have scored more in the competition, making Agüero the league’s highest-scoring foreign player ever. It’s incredibly fitting that he broke the record on a day where he scored three wonderful goals.
If he isn’t the best striker we’ve ever seen in this league, who is?
De Bruyne At His Best
Speaking of Thierry Henry and record-breaking, Kevin De Bruyne is only six assists away from matching the Frenchman’s record of 20 assists in one Premier League season. With sixteen games to go, it seems likely that KDB could hit the milestone and maybe even surpass it – and he’d deserve to as well, with the way he played today.
De Bruyne’s two assists today perfectly showcased two different sides of his game. The first was a smart pass into Agüero, the second a sensational sweeping ball across goal for Jesus. It was reminiscent of his famous assist for Sané against Stoke City: the curve, the accuracy and the way it slipped just far away enough to leave the keeper stranded. Will De Bruyne finally win the PFA Player of the Year this season? Personally, I’d be very surprised – but that doesn’t change the fact that no other player in the league can do the things this man makes look easy.
Riyad Mahrez Can’t Be Ignored
Apart from City fans, nobody seems to notice how good Riyad Mahrez has been this season. His two goals and assist today perfectly illustrated the campaign for him so far: playing brilliantly, contributing to goals and ultimately missing out on the headlines because of something another player does.
More people need to start recognising how good the Algerian has been this campaign. 9 goals and 11 assists in a City shirt is highly impressive from a player who isn’t a guaranteed starter, and for me he should be rewarded with a more permanent place in the XI. When you consider that Raheem Sterling is out of form and Bernardo Silva isn’t as effective out wide, Mahrez should find himself starting as much as possible in the immediate future.
Jesus’ Impressive Record
53 goals in 71 starts. That’s the statistic that best sums up Gabriel Jesus after he bagged City’s fourth goal against Villa, and it’s a fantastic one. Despite never being first-choice for more than a couple of weeks and despite coming under heavy criticism from City fans for long stretches of time for no good reason, he still contributes almost every time he plays.
After today, Jesus is only five Premier League goals behind Phillipe Coutinho – a perfect illustration of how much he’s achieved in his short time in England. The afternoon was capped off for Jesus with an assist for Mahrez’s second goal. Aguero may have grabbed the headlines but he isn’t the only City striker who had a good game at Villa Park.
An Unfortunate Ending
It’s not nice to be ending this article on a negative, but something needs to be done to address City’s decline in the clean sheet department.
Even today, in a game which City couldn’t have dominated much more, we still found a way to let the opponents score. This time it was an unnecessary tackle from unnecessary substitute Ilkay Gundogan that conceded the penalty in the dying seconds (although hilariously the more simple-minded amongst our fanbase still found a way to blame Nicolas Otamendi), leading us to let yet another clean sheet slip away needlessly. It’s not a huge deal, but it’s frustrating and something Pep needs to sort out.
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