Manchester City's dominance over Tottenham Hotspur continued as the visitors, after being reduced to 10 men, succumbed to a 4-1 reverse with all four goals coming from Sergio Aguero.
The man whom Mauricio Pochettino described this week as the "best striker in the world" inspired Saturday's win as Spurs, who shipped 11 goals to City in the Barclays Premier League last term, were left to lament Roberto Soldado's saved penalty and Federico Fazio's dismissal in a match marked by four spot-kicks.
Both sides pounced on mistakes to score inside the opening 15 minutes, with Aguero the beneficiary of some sloppy play from Erik Lamela as City broke the deadlock. Spurs hit back through Christian Eriksen just two minutes later after Fernando was dispossessed in midfield, only for Lamela to endure more frustration as he was penalised after Frank Lampard went down in the box.
Aguero stroked home his second from the spot to become City's all-time leading Barclays Premier League goalscorer with 59 and restore the hosts' lead in the 20th minute. City spurned the chance to extend their advantage when Aguero’s second penalty was saved by Hugo Lloris shortly after the half-hour mark, and the Argentinian volleyed the rebound over the bar, and Soldado followed suit in the second half as Joe Hart kept his penalty out.
The game was put beyond the north Londoners when Aguero wrapped up his hat-trick from yet another penalty, with Fazio's red card for hauling him down putting a blemish on his full Barclays Premier League debut. The City man added his fourth to take his top-flight tally for the season to nine.
Manuel Pellegrini made six changes to his starting XI from the victory at Aston Villa prior to the international break, possibly with an eye on Tuesday's UEFA Champions League trip to CSKA Moscow, and Spurs' fluid passing caused City problems early on. Eriksen shot off target from inside the area eight minutes in before Aguero took advantage of Lamela's wayward pass by shifting the ball quickly onto his right foot and curling an effort past Lloris.
However, the visitors' response was almost immediate, Ryan Mason taking the ball off Fernando before Soldado's pass allowed Eriksen a clear sight of goal, the Dane’s shot coming off Hart's knee and nestling into the net via the crossbar.
Lamela was adjudged to have fouled Lampard inside the area, allowing Aguero to continue his fine form and surpass Carlos Tevez in terms of league goals for the reigning champions. Lampard, one of the six players to come into the City side, was forced off with an apparent thigh injury following a challenge from Mason before Aguero wasted the chance to wrap up a first-half hat-trick. Lloris kept his penalty out following Younes Kaboul's clumsy tackle on David Silva, and the Argentinian acrobatically fired the rebound over.
Spurs were awarded the game's third penalty when Martin Demichelis was adjudged to have fouled Eriksen, but Soldado, on his first league start since March, saw his weak effort easily saved by Hart. Aguero ensured his hat-trick from the spot after Fazio had brought him down inside the area, before adding to his tally with a smart curled finish late on.
James Milner struck a post inside the final two minutes, but the damage had been done in yet another disappointing trip to the Etihad for Spurs.
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: "It was a very amusing game especially for the fans because we won 4-1, but the score could have been 7-3. Both teams had clear chances to score. That's important for the fans. I always say it's important to be an attractive team, but maybe also not to make so many mistakes, especially with excess of trust with the ball at our feet.
"But it's very important to win this game after the international break. It's very difficult when you don't have the players during the week to work, so I'm very happy with it. The whole team had a good performances. Of course when you score four goals as Kun [Aguero] did or make two saves as Joe [Hart] did, it's very important."
Spurs head coach Mauricio Pochettino: "After our penalty, the second chance... a big save [from] Joe Hart – this was the [second] key moment. I'm disappointed with the result, because it's tough to us, but we need to take positives from this game and improve.
"Fazio was good. He had a good performance. It's a shame, the penalty and the red card."
|20 Dec 2014||v Crystal Palace (H)|
|30 Nov 2014||v Southampton (A)|
|02 Nov 2014||v Man Utd (H)|
|13 Dec 2014||v Leicester (A)|
|03 Dec 2014||v Sunderland (A)|
|08 Nov 2014||v QPR (A)|