The Big Match

City power past Palace

Sergio Aguero putting Manchester City four up, after Crystal Palace's goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was unable to keep out the Argentinian's header. City's win compounded the misery on Roy Hodgson's side, while keeping them ahead of city rivals United a
Sergio Aguero putting Manchester City four up, after Crystal Palace's goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was unable to keep out the Argentinian's header. City's win compounded the misery on Roy Hodgson's side, while keeping them ahead of city rivals United atop the table on goal difference.PHOTO: REUTERS

League leaders pound hapless opponents, who have yet to score this campaign

ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

Manchester City 5
Crystal Palace 0

LONDON • The Manchester City show rolls on. Their fifth win of the Premier League season at the Etihad Stadium yesterday took their tally to 21 goals and added a fourth clean sheet to a formidable start from Pep Guardiola's men.

It was a duck-shoot at times as Crystal Palace provided easy prey and the south London football side's search for a first goal of the campaign continues.

They have now lost all six of their opening games.

This equals Portsmouth's dubious feat at the beginning of the 2009-10 term, and, if Roy Hodgson's side go down next week, they will equal Portsmouth's mark of seven straight losses overall.

The bad new for Palace is that Manchester United are up next but City will hardly care about that.

What did annoy Guardiola was Neil Swarbrick's failure to give a penalty after Timothy Fosu-Mensah pulled down the excellent Leroy Sane.

However, when Sergio Aguero headed home the fourth goal a few seconds afterwards, the smile returned to the Catalan manager .

City suffered an early blow when left-back Benjamin Mendy was forced off after hurting his knee in a collision with Andros Townsend, with Danilo taking his place.

Guardiola's side went in front shortly before half-time when Sane converted after a one-two with David Silva.

It was Sane's third goal in four days.

Guardiola made one change from the last league outing and, when announced, it was received as a surprise.

Yet, after his opener, the dropping of Gabriel Jesus for Sane, who scored both goals in the mid-week League Cup win at West Bromwich Albion, seemed smart.

Sane turned creator as City moved up the gears. This was simple and slick: Kevin de Bruyne found Sane down the left and he pinged the ball past Mamadou Sakho and in to Raheem Sterling and it was 2-0, the winger collecting a fourth goal of the season.

Guardiola had wanted more from Aguero and he got it in the 59th minute, the No. 10's volley a neat short-range pass from which Sterling rolled home to make it 3-0.

This was the 22-year-old's final act.

Guardiola paid him a compliment by taking him off on the hour to protect him for Shakhtar Donetsk's Champions League visit on Tuesday.

Aguero made it 4-0, heading in Sane's cross to close to within one goal of Eric Brook's all-time City record of 177 goals.

By the close it was all so familiar: Fabian Delph added the fifth as Palace became the latest patsies steamrollered by a City side who can be expected to improve. It is a frightening prospect.

City have scored 16 goals in their last three league games, having previously trounced Liverpool 5-0 and won 6-0 at Watford.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 24, 2017, with the headline 'City power past Palace'. Print Edition | Subscribe