Manchester City put on a show worthy of bonfire weekend as they thrashed Southampton to move two points clear of Chelsea and Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table.
Goals from Sergio Agüero and David Silva, followed by two from Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané’s late strike came after Wesley Hoedt diverted the ball into his own net with just six minutes played.
Sané surged into the box before firing the ball in Sterling’s direction. The winger appeared to be standing in an offside position, but before he could become active in play, the Dutchman turned Sané’s delivery beyond Alex McCarthy to gift City an early lead.
Merely seven minutes later, Southampton’s ‘keeper was picking the ball out of his own net for a second time and it resulted in yet another milestone for Sergio Agüero.
Sterling danced his way between three defenders before laying the ball on a plate for City’s record goalscorer who obliged in scoring hit 150th Premier League goal for the Citizens from six yards.
Agüero is now only the third player to reach the landmark whilst playing for a single club.
And less than midway through the first half, the game was all but over, David Silva this time taking the plaudits.
The Southampton defence stood statuesque as the hosts played their way towards goal and when the ball fell to Silva, the diminutive midfielder rifled in City’s third.
The travelling Saints surprisingly matched Man City’s shots on goal tally (6), the difference being that every time the hosts let fly, they scored.
The visitors did however have a brief moment of hope when Ederson came flying off his line and brought Danny Ings to the floor. The ex-Liverpool man then stepped up calm sent the City ‘keeper the wrong way to give his side a lifeline.
Unfortunately for Ings, though, his defensive teammates assumed that would be that for the first half and were punished for it.
Cedric Soares rather inexplicably tried to shepherd a tame through ball behind for a goal kick, was subsequently robbed of it by the ever-alert Agüero and Sterling was given enough time and space to have two swipes at the ball before finding the net just before the break.
In the second half, it was all about damage limitation for Southampton. Not that sitting off Manchester City is a very good idea, mind.
Considering they host Shakhtar Donetsk in a potentially crucial Champions League group match on Tuesday, the Citizens were still in no mood to take their foot off the gas.
Agüero again found space around the edge of the penalty area and fed Sterling through on goal. The Argentine’s pass forced his colleague slightly further wide than necessary, but even with the angle closing every second, Sterling smashed the ball across McCarthy into the bottom left corner and City led by four.
Having already hit six against Huddersfield in their first home game of the season, City went about replicating that scoreline and succeeded in their mission when Leroy Sané was unselfishly set up by Sterling inside the box to complete the rout.
Manchester City have now won by a five-goal margin four time in the league this season, beating Cardiff 5-0 in South Wales before hammering Burnley at the Etihad by the same scoreline and are the highest-scoring team in English professional football (33) whilst also having the highest defence (conceding 4).
Man of the Match – Raheem Sterling
This is turning out to be his season. Having already enjoyed the best goalscoring start to his career, Sterling put in possibly the best display of the campaign so far.
With two goals and as many assists, the England international warrants the rumours of an improved long-term contract at the Etihad and, as City go in search of domestic and European glory, his creativity and blistering pace is going to be crucial to any success Manchester City will have this season.