In Brief

Premier League: awesome Aguero hits hat-trick as Man City return to second

Defending champions City ease past Arsenal while Man Utd maintain their unbeaten run under Solskjaer

Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick against Arsenal yesterday when Manchester City brushed the Gunners aside with a 3-1 victory. The win puts City back into second place in the Premier League at the expense of Tottenham.

Spurs leapfrogged City on Saturday after beating Newcastle United 1-0 but their spell in second place didn’t last long. Aguero enlivened the Etihad Stadium with three goals yesterday.

In a masterclass of deft finishing, the Argentina striker exposed the glaring deficiencies in an Arsenal defence that needs a complete overhaul in the summer.

Gunners’ gaffes

Clumsy and clueless would be a good description of how the Gunners defended themselves against City. Aguero headed his first goal in under a minute after a dreadful mistake from Alex Iwobi on the edge of the box.

Aguero got his second a couple of minutes before the break, tapping home a perfectly weighted pass from Raheem Sterling. His hat-trick came on the hour mark when he bundled the ball over the line with his upper arm.

The visitors got a goal of their own on 11 minutes when Laurent Koscielny headed home from a corner to level the scores. But it was one of the rare times when they threatened their hosts’ goal.

Aguero admission

Aguero said he was “very happy” with his display but was honest enough to admit the third goal shouldn’t have stood. The 30-year-old said: “I think it came off my chest, but now I see on TV it was a handball”.

In truth City would have won anyway, such was their dominance in the second half. The result pleased manager Pep Guardiola who said last week’s 2-1 defeat at Newcastle had been a wake-up call.

“We will arrive in the last stages fighting for the title,” said the Spaniard, whose side are now two points behind leaders Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool travel to West Ham tonight (8pm, live on Sky Sports). 

Guardiola added: “I have no doubts. I am not talking about winning or losing, I am talking about intensity, to go [and] score another one, [to] try [and] get another goal. Hopefully that game [against Newcastle] will help us know it. We have spoken about it. We are good when we do what we have to do.”

Help needed

The defeat leaves Arsenal in sixth place in the Premier League, three points behind Chelsea (who are fourth) and ten shy of third-placed Spurs.

Asked if he believed his side could still finish in the top four, Arsenal boss Unai Emery said: “We need big help… last week we won and were with Chelsea in fourth position, but we lost today, lost this position.

“But we are going to go game by game and thinking ‘win the next match’, and maybe if we win we can take the opportunity in the future to be near the other teams and play with this motivation.”

Pearl from Pogba

Arsenal’s bad day was made all the worse by Manchester United’s 1-0 win at Leicester City earlier on Sunday.

Marcus Rashford scored the only goal of the game on nine minutes. He benefitted from Paul Pogba’s clever pass after an error by Ricardo Pereira.

The result lifts United into fifth spot, a point ahead of Arsenal and two behind Chelsea who lie fourth.

“That pass by Paul Pogba is great and the control by Marcus better,” said United’s caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

All for one

“Our attitude was spot on,” remarked Solskjaer, who said his players had done it the hard way at the King Power Stadium against a physical Foxes outfit.

“There are a couple of bruised noses and knees. It is supposed to be like this. There are three points on the line. Our lads sacrificed everything they had.

“Football is a game of mistakes. Our lads, when we make mistakes, they were fighting for the ball and giving their all.”

The win means that United are still unbeaten under Solskjaer after ten games. The Norwegian expressed his satisfaction with the three points.

He said: “We could have done better higher up the pitch in terms of defending but we deserved the three points.” 

Premier League results, fixtures and TV guide

Weekend results
  • Tottenham Hotspur 1 Newcastle United 0 
  • Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Watford 0 
  • Burnley 1 Southampton 1 
  • Chelsea 5 Huddersfield Town 0 
  • Crystal Palace 2 Fulham 0 
  • Everton 1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3 
  • Cardiff City 2 AFC Bournemouth 0 
  • Leicester City 0 Manchester United 1 
  • Manchester City 3 Arsenal 1
Tonight’s fixture
  • West Ham United vs. Liverpool (8pm, live on Sky Sports
Wednesday 6 February
  • Everton vs. Manchester City (7.45pm)
Saturday 9 February (3pm unless stated)
  • Fulham vs. Manchester United (12.30pm, live on Sky Sports) 
  • Crystal Palace vs. West Ham United 
  • Huddersfield Town vs. Arsenal 
  • Liverpool vs. AFC Bournemouth 
  • Southampton vs. Cardiff City 
  • Watford vs. Everton 
  • Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Burnley (5.30pm, live on BT Sport)
Sunday 10 February
  • Tottenham Hotspur vs. Leicester City (1.30pm, live on Sky Sports) 
  • Manchester City vs. Chelsea (4pm, live on Sky Sports)
Monday 11th February
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Newcastle United (8pm, live on Sky Sports)

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