Sergio Aguero has scored 13 hat-tricks for Manchester City Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said Sergio Aguero is in the
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said Sergio Aguero is in the best condition he has seen him in, after the striker scored a superb hat-trick in a thumping win over Huddersfield.
Aguero opened the scoring in the first half before adding two goals after the break to complete his 13th career hat-trick and ninth in the Premier League. Only Alan Shearer, with 11, has scored more in the competition.
“I never saw him like this since I was here,” Guardiola said.
“He is in an incredible condition with the ball and without the ball.”
The defending champions, who beat Arsenal 2-0 in their opening match, lost only once at home in 2017-18, and victory never looked in doubt against a Huddersfield team who have now been beaten in their first two games.
The Terriers did manage to hold City at bay for 25 minutes but were undone when goalkeeper Ederson picked out Aguero with a pinpoint pass and the striker drew out Ben Hamer before lifting the ball into the net.
Gabriel Jesus added a second seven minutes later with a crisp low strike from the edge of the area, before Aguero pounced on a Hamer error to stab in his second.
Jon Gorenc Stankovic gave the visitors the slightest glimmer of hope before half-time when he poked in from Steve Mounie’s flick-on, but any optimism was snuffed out early in the second half by a brilliant free-kick from David Silva.
Aguero wrapped up his hat-trick with a smart flick from Benjamin Mendy’s cross – before a Terence Kongolo own goal sealed an emphatic win for an impressive City.
Guardiola’s side are top of the table and have scored eight goals in two games, conceding just one. Huddersfield, meanwhile, drop to the bottom on goal difference.
“We started better than last season,” said Guardiola. “We made a good performance in 90 minutes.
“Last season, Huddersfield played five at the back. We decided today we would play with two strikers.”
Guardiola’s experiment a worry for his rivals
How do you stop a team like Manchester City? That was a question posed to the 19 other Premier League clubs last season, with many opting for the tactic of ‘parking the bus’.
City usually managed to find a way through, but sometimes not until very late on – winning goals against Huddersfield, Southampton, Bournemouth and West Ham last term did not come until after the 80th minute.
That has perhaps prompted Guardiola to find an alternative tactic to deal with defensive sides, as BBC Radio 5 live pundit Leon Osman observed during Sunday’s game.
“Pep Guardiola has made a number of changes and left out Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker,” said the former Everton midfielder.
“He’s taken out all the guys with pace and got his footballers on. Guys with quick feet that can operate in small spaces.”
The result was Huddersfield could barely get the ball off their hosts as City skilfully crafted opportunities from the limited space they had.
Even at 6-1, City did not ease up their attacking intent. In truth, Huddersfield can consider themselves fortunate that a repeat of the 10-1 defeat they suffered at City 31 years ago did not materialise.
Guardiola will surely have been happy with what he saw. Usually so tense on the touchline, he was seen sharing a joke with coach Mikel Arteta towards the end of the game.
His side now have a couple of ways they can successfully approach a game – an ominous sign for the rest of the Premier League.
Hamer errors hinder Huddersfield
It was always going to be a tough ask for Huddersfield to get anything against a fresh and hungry City side, but their cause was not helped by some questionable goalkeeping by Hamer.
Dane Jonas Lossl was first choice last term but missed a large amount of pre-season because of his World Cup commitments, while Hamer, signed from Leicester in the summer, impressed in friendlies.
Terriers boss David Wagner rewarded Hamer by starting him against Chelsea last weekend. He conceded three goals in that game but was given another opportunity to impress against City.
He did not take it. Hamer committed himself to coming way off his line to try todeny Aguero the opener – but could only watch as the Argentina striker lifted the ball out of his reach.
He was then beaten at his near post for City’s second, before spilling a fairly routine save from a cross to allow Aguero to tap in the third.
Huddersfield do not score often – Stankovic’s strike was only their sixth in the past 14 games – so they cannot afford to make too many mistakes.
“We faced a City side absolutely on it,” said Wagner. “They were different class and we were second best and that is why we conceded this defeat.
“We hoped for more out of the last two games but we didn’t expect more. This means nothing more than we get these two games out of our head now and focus on the next one.”
Man of the match – Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
A Premier League first – the stats
- Huddersfield have conceded nine goals in their first two matches this season. Only one side in Premier League history has conceded more goals in their opening two games – Wigan Athletic in 2010-11 (10).
- Manchester City have now scored 104 goals in 39 games at home under Pep Guardiola in the Premier League.
- With his assist for Aguero’s opening goal, Ederson became the first goalkeeper to set up a Premier League goal for Manchester City.
- Aguero has scored 14 goals in his past eight league appearances for Manchester City at the Etihad.
- Stankovic is just the second player from Slovenia to score a Premier League goal after ex-West Bromwich Albion and Hull City midfielder Robert Koren.
- Aguero now has nine Premier League hat-tricks (level with former Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester City striker Robbie Fowler). Only ex-Blackburn and Newcastle forward Alan Shearer (11) has managed more.
- The Argentine has equalled Shearer’s record of trebles for one Premier League club. The ex-England captain scored nine for Blackburn Rovers.
Manchester City travel to newly promoted Wolves on Saturday, 25 August (12:30 BST), while Huddersfield are at home to Cardiff at 15:00 on the same day.