Man City 6 Newcastle 1: Sergio Aguero has no peers when it comes to the Premier League’s striking department.
Last season’s 26 league goals earned him the Golden Boot and he proved once again how well he wears it by scoring five goals in a remarkable 20-minute spell as Manchester City dismantled Newcastle to leave the hapless Geordies at the foot of the table.
Aguero became only the fifth player in Premier League history to score five goals in one match after Alan Shearer, Dimitar Berbatov, Andy Cole and Jermain Defoe.
But while City manager Manuel Pellegrini is in no doubt his forward deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as La Liga luminaries Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, he wants to give Aguero the platform to prove he is their equal on the world stage.
Pellegrini said: “The important thing is, not only for Kun (Aguero), but as a team we must continue to improve, to win the Premier League again and to win the Champions League.
“Messi and Ronaldo are always involved in that competition and that is very important for a player.
“He (Aguero) always makes important contributions in competitions. Remember three years ago he decided the title in the last three minutes of the season and last season he was the top scorer in the Premier League.
“Everyone is happy for him because every year he is improving. Every day he becomes a better professional and he has more maturity so I think he will finish his career with some important achievements.”
Aguero’s match-winning penalty at Borussia Monchengladbach last week enhanced his chances of becoming a European champion with City as they collected their first win in this season’s group stages of the Champions League.
Saturday’s haul against Newcastle then gave him his first goals in the Premier League since his solitary strike to date against fallen champions Chelsea in August.
City needed the brilliance of Aguero after Aleksandar Mitrovic’s first goal for Newcastle since his €17m signing from Anderlecht in the summer had briefly threatened a third successive league defeat for the first time since 2008.
Mitrovic should have made it 2-0 but was denied by City keeper Joe Hart and by half-time the home side were level thanks to Aguero’s close-range header.
Newcastle then capitulated in the second half as they conceded five goals in 14 minutes, Aguero completing his hat-trick and then side-footing a fifth after Kevin de Bruyne had spectacularly volleyed in his fourth goal in five games.
The Tynesiders have now won just one of their last 19 league games stretching back to early March and have endured their worst start to a season since 1898.
A week on from letting slip a 2-0 lead against Chelsea to finish with just a point, Newcastle’s stomach for a fight was again rightly questioned as they wilted in the face of adversity.
Manager Steve McClaren, enduring a baptism of fire since his appointment in the summer, hopes he has the answers.
He said: “In the last 18 months that’s been the problem at this football club. We’re here to turn that around and we’re going to do whatever it takes to turn it around.
“People have said this is a job for an experienced person and that’s why we’re here. We’ve got an experienced staff who can cope and deal with this. Will it turn around overnight? No.
“But there’s a reality from everybody looking that that’s where we are and it’s up to us to turn it around.”
MANCHESTER CITY (4-4-1-1):
Hart 7; Zabaleta 6, Otamendi 6, Mangala 7, Kolarov 8; Silva 8 (Iheancho 76), Fernandinho 8, Fernando 7, Sterling 5 (Navas ht, 8); De Bruyne 8; Aguero 9 (Bony 65, 6).
Subs not used:
Caballero, Demichelis, Sagna, Garcia.
Krul 6; Janmaat 5, Mbemba 4, Coloccini 4, Mbabu 5 (Lascelles 53, 5); Anita 5, Gouffran 5 (Tiote 66, 6); Sissoko 6 (Thauvin 66, 5), Perez 5, Wijnaldum 6; Mitrovic 6.
Subs not used:
Elliot, Williamson, Cisse, de Jong.
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