CITY 3 ARSENAL 1: REPORT
City tore out of the blocks looking like a team who wanted to prove a point.
READ: Aguero on latest treble
The midweek loss to Newcastle hurt - but Leicester’s surprise draw at Anfield 24 hours later gave the Blues an unexpected fillip and it took just 46 seconds to turn disappointment into delight.
Arsenal seemed to have cleared the danger from City’s first attack, but Aymeric Laporte won possession on the corner of the Gunners box, whipped in a cross and Aguero stooped to head home his 18th of the season.
You wait for a goal in the first minute for six years and then, like busses, two come along in succession and both by the same player!
The Blues were denied a clear penalty just three minutes later as Aguero was tugged back in the box by Shkodran Mustafi, but referee Martin Atkinson said nothing doing – it looked a nailed-on penalty.
Then Raheem Sterling sent a pile-driver in that was clawed away by Bernd Leno and moments later Kevin De Bruyne’s free-kick was powered home by Laporte – only to be flagged marginally offside – in a crazy opening 10 minutes.
Football being football, the battered and bruised Gunners then levelled from their first attack – a flicked on corner that allowed Laurent Koscielny a free header in the six-yard box.
It was harsh on the Blues who had played some sparkling stuff that deserved better, but it’s how things have been going this season, with Lady Luck deserting the champions on more than one occasion.
Not much of note happened at either end for the next 30 minutes or so until the 43rd minutes when City retook the lead.
Ilkay Gundogan spotted Sterling’s clever run into the box, lofted a deft ball into his path and the England winger’s sublime first-time cross was tapped in at the far post by Aguero.
In many ways, it was a huge relief with some of the intervening play a tad scrappy end edgy – it was crucial to the champions’ confidence that the next goal came from a player in sky blue.
Kevin De Bruyne’s vicious low cross came close to adding another seconds before the break as the Blues ended the half strongly.
And the champions began the second period as they ended the first, looking for the breathing space of a two-goal cushion.
When it came, it was a tad unconventional but welcome nonetheless as Sterling's low ball was pushed out by Leno onto the sliding Aguero's upper body and over the line - what a way to complete your treble!
That was game over, and though the Blues could have added a few more, the 3-1 win again puts pressure on Liverpool who next play on Monday evening.