Leicester City were dismantled in a dreadful second half performance which sees Manchester City draw 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League.
The excellence of Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne was simply too much for Puel’s team and they were destroyed by a scintillating performance from Guardiola’s side, who to the assured delight of Gary Neville, fielded a bench of seven players.
It only took Manchester City 3 minutes to break through a sluggish-starting Leicester side who undertook a 3-5-2 formation as they visited the probable champions elect. With Fuchs and Chilwell doubling up on Bernardo Silva as he looked to gain a quick break-through, this left De Bruyne free who as he does so well, whizzed the ball into a waiting Sterling who tapped home for his 20th goal of the season. It was destitute defending from Leicester and it looked to be a sorry evening for the Foxes.
As the half grew on, the Foxes pushed and started to grow into the game. A standard home performance with City thriving in possession and attempts was turned on its head on 22 minutes as Otamendi’s missed placed pass allowed Jamie Vardy to blister through City’s defence and slot the ball past an on-looking Ederson. Who apart from the Vardy strike on 22 minutes, had very little to do under the Manchester lights.
The Vardy goal was a piece of history for the England international as he became the first player, in the same Premier League season, to score against Manchester City and United, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool. A magnificent stat for Leicester’s number 9.
As the half drew on there were little chances and it is hard to believe after the resounding score line at full-time, that at half-time the teams went in at one goal apiece.
After a satisfactory first half from Leicester and from their shot-stopper, Kasper Schmeichel. The second half was a story of utter un-similarities. The change to a back four almost bewildered the Leicester side and it only took 3 minutes into the second half for the magician to disintegrate the Leicester backline again. With Sterling picking out the proceeding De Bruyne he once more found a pass which merely looked impossible as he curled an alluring ball which strew apart the Leicester backline to find Aguero at the back stick who simply couldn’t miss. A goal of mirroring qualities to the first and from then City didn’t look back.
City took control of the second half and on 53 minutes they took a two-goal lead after a third assist from the Belgium master. After Schmeichel’s half cleared clearance, the ball was worked to De Bruyne who found Aguero who made no mistake of powering the ball past Schmeichel in the Leicester goal. The play makers third assist was his 41st since September 2015 which puts him 1st amongst Europe’s top 5 leagues, ahead of some illustrious names. It was beginning to look like a case of, not only how many Aguero was going to get, but how many goals City were going to score and Leicester had no chance of stopping them.
The game quickly grew away from a Leicester side who simply had no answers to City’s brilliance. Potentially the biggest cheer of the evening came on 61 minutes as Leicester made a double substitution to try and grab something from the fixture which was all but over. The man who was at the centre of the transfer deadline day saga, who only returned to Leicester training on Friday, was called upon by Puel. As he replaced Fousseni Diabate, the stadium erupted in cheers for Riyad Mahrez, but even the Algerian couldn’t find a way past the slick oiled machine Guardiola has set up.
As the game looked to be fizzling out, Aguero had only one thing on his mind, more goals. It was a couple of seconds that Schmeichel won’t want to reminisce which bought along the fourth Manchester City goal of the evening. After a questionable back pass from Harry Maguire, the Dane attempted to pass out from the back but his poverty-stricken pass only put Aguero through on goal as he effortlessly dinked the ball over him into an empty net to give him his 12th Manchester City hat trick. The treble was also the Argentines eighth Premier League hat trick putting him in lavish company alongside Thierry Henry, Michael Owen and Tottenham’s Harry Kane.
Just as you thought City and Aguero had had enough, you couldn’t be more wrong as City hounded for more goals. On 90 minutes, City’s number 10 picked up the ball just outside the box from Phil Foden and he thumped a ball which struck the crossbar and bounced beyond the line giving him his fourth goal in a clinical second half performance.
In 2018, Aguero has racked up 13 goals, in 10 performances. City were a joy to watch on an evening to forget for a Leicester side, who are without a win in 3 Premier League games.
MOTM: Before 75 minutes, Kevin De Bruyne was assured the man of the match status. Yet, Aguero simply can’t be ignored and with four goals in 45 minutes, there can be only one man of the match on a cold night in Manchester.
Man City: Ederson, Walker, Otamendi (Stones 81), Laporte, Zinchenko (Danilo 65), De Bruyne, Fernandinho (Foden, 80), Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, Aguero, Sterling. Unused subs: Bravo, Kompany, Nmecha, Diaz
Leicester: Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, James, Ndidi, Adrien Silva (Simpson, 45) Chilwell (Iheanacho, 62), Diabate (Mahrez, 62), Vardy. Unused subs: Gray, Jakupovic, Iborra, Benalouane
Written by Eamon Kitching.