Manchester City restored their 12-point lead over Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table courtesy of Sergio Aguero’s treble in a 3-1 win over Newcastle.
United had briefly cut the gap to nine points after Anthony Martial’s strike gave them a 1-0 win at Burnley earlier in the afternoon, but City remain relentless in their pursuit of the title with Aguero netting the opener on 34 minutes, adding a penalty on 63 before finishing off a lovely move prompted by Leroy Sane on 83 minutes.
From the outset, City dominated possession and diligently attempted to break down the visitors’ well-organised defence. Newcastle sat deep and used the offside trap to great effect, most notably when Raheem Sterling put the ball in the back of the net after some delightful build-up play from Sane and David Silva.
The deadlock was finally broken when Aguero met Kevin De Bruyne’s fierce cross with a glancing header into the bottom corner of Karl Darlow’s goal.
Aguero doubled his tally from the penalty spot when Javi Manquillo brought Sterling down in the area – the decision was clear for referee Paul Tierney.
Newcastle earned a consolation when Jacob Murphy completed a rare counter attack with a well-placed finish for his first Newcastle goal.
However, Aguero put the game beyond reach with a simple left-footed finish from 10 yards, after Leroy Sane beat three defenders to provide the assist.
The Argentinean marked a terrific performance with a perfect hat-trick: a header, a right-footed penalty and a left-footed finish.
The win allowed Pep Guardiola’s side to consolidate their 12-point lead at the top of the Premier League. Newcastle remain in 15th place, two points clear of the relegation zone.
TALKING POINT: Will Newcastle survive the drop this season?
With uncertainty surrounding their ownership, Newcastle sit only two points above the drop as they aim to avoid successive Premier League relegations. Some may contest that they have a squad with enough top-flight quality, but based on the defensive nous they showed in this game – and others against bigger sides this season – they shoul dhave the fortitiude to avoid the drop.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Sergio Aguero
The Argentinean was in resplendent form as he brought his goal tally to the season to 22 in all competitions. He has scored eight goals past Newcastle in their last two league visits to the Etihad