Tue, Feb 05, 2019 - Page 7 News List

Aguero hat-trick sinks Arsenal

OUTGUNNED:A sixth consecutive away league match without a victory saw the Gunners slip down to sixth place in the table behind Manchester United

AFP, MANCHESTER, England

Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, bottom second left, scores against Arsenal in their Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

Pep Guardiola on Sunday was glad to see Manchester City’s clinical best return as Sergio Aguero’s hat-trick closed the gap to English Premier League leaders Liverpool to just two points in a 3-1 win over Arsenal.

The champions were let off the hook by Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Leicester City on Wednesday last week, 24 hours after Manchester City’s shock 2-1 defeat by Newcastle United with what Guardiola described as an unrecognizable performance.

This time City did take advantage of playing a day before Juergen Klopp’s side, who were to travel to West Ham United yesterday, to pile on the pressure and jump back ahead of Tottenham Hotspur, who had leapfrogged City into second on Saturday.

“After what happened at Newcastle, everybody thought we would be seven points behind, everyone expected Liverpool to beat Leicester, but a lot of things are going to happen until the end of the season, a lot of games will be tough,” Guardiola said. “That is the real Premier League, you know better than me what that means and what we have to do. The most important thing today was the players showed why they are a good team. We didn’t recognize ourselves in the previous game at Newcastle. Today, at least, we came back.”

Aguero’s seventh goal in as many games this calendar year — and his 10th in his past dozen against Arsenal — was the highlight of a thoroughly dominant performance.

For the second time in a week, the Argentine scored inside the first minute to give City the perfect start by heading home Aymeric Laporte’s cross.

However, just like on Tyneside on Tuesday last week, City failed to press home their advantage as Laurent Koscielny profited from some slack defending to head home an equalizer just 10 minutes later.

Guardiola’s men were knocked out of their stride for most of the remainder of the first half, but retook the lead in style just a minute before the break when Ilkay Gundogan’s delightful lofted pass teed up Raheem Sterling to cross for Aguero to tap home.

In contrast, the second half was a stroll and City should have had more than just the one goal to show for their dominance.

Sterling was the provider again for Aguero to secure his 10th Premier League hat-trick in controversial fashion as the ball came back off the striker’s arm before rolling over the goal-line just after the hour mark.

“He was born with that talent, he will die with that talent,” said Guardiola of Aguero’s goalscoring ability.

A sixth consecutive away league game without a win saw Arsenal slip down to sixth place behind Manchester United.

“They showed their superiority over 90 minutes, but, above all, in the second half,” Arsenal manager Unai Emery said. “We need time to reach our target and need to be calm, patient.”

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