Sergio Aguero’s hattrick puts Pep Guardiola’s slick City top of Premier League

Manchester City's Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero celebrates scoring their fifth goal and his third to complete his hattrick during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Huddersfield Town. (AFP)
Updated 19 August 2018

Sergio Aguero’s hattrick puts Pep Guardiola’s slick City top of Premier League

MANCHESTER: Sergio Aguero scored a hat trick, with one of the goals set up by his own goalkeeper, as Manchester City turned on the style in a 6-1 thrashing of Huddersfield to claim top spot in the Premier League on Sunday.
High up on the highlight reel in the latest exhibition by City was a 70-meter pass from goalkeeper Ederson Moraes from his own penalty area that found Aguero running behind Huddersfield’s high line.
Aguero cut inside and chipped Huddersfield’s stranded ‘keeper Ben Hamer, setting City on its way to its second straight win to open the season. With eight goals already, it’s an ominous start by the defending champions.
City’s other scorers were Gabriel Jesus, who started up front alongside Aguero in a 3-5-2 formation, and long-serving playmaker David Silva, who curled in a delightful free kick. A miserable afternoon at Etihad Stadium for Huddersfield was wrapped up by Terence Kongolo’s 84th-minute own-goal.
It was Aguero’s ninth Premier League hat trick, bettered only by Alan Shearer’s 11. City began their title defense by beating Arsenal 2-0 away last weekend, and Pep Guardiola’s men are already looking ominous as they seek to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since their cross-city rivals United managed three in a row between 2006 and 2009.
Guardiola’s side are top already having scored eight goals in two games, conceding just one. Huddersfield, meanwhile, drop to the bottom of the standings on goal difference.


What next for Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’

Updated 03 June 2020

What next for Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’

  • Restart to begin with 2 matches on June 17, to ensure every side played same number of games

LONDON: The Premier League's return is just two weeks away but there are plenty of details for the 20 clubs in the English top-flight to work out before competitive action resumes on June 17.

AFP Sport looks at what is on the agenda at the latest in a series of meetings between the clubs on Thursday.

There have been squabbles over how final league standings should be decided if the season cannot be completed but clubs need a contingency arrangement if a spike in coronavirus cases wrecks their plans.

Most of the teams in the bottom half of the table are reportedly pushing for relegation to be scrapped if the season is not completed on the field.

That still seems highly unlikely, with the English Football Association and English Football League both insisting on promotion and relegation throughout the pyramid.

A points-per-game formula is the most likely option and is part of the reason why the restart will begin with two matches on June 17, to ensure every side has played the same number of games.

Once the two outstanding games — Manchester City vs. Arsenal and Aston Villa vs. Sheffield United — have been played, all 20 sides will have nine games remaining.

No dates for other matches have yet been released, but fixtures are expected to continue from where they left off in March and be crammed into just five weeks ahead of the FA Cup final on August 1.

A long layoff, little time together in contact training and a gruelling schedule mean players' bodies will be pushed to the limits.

In an attempt to minimize injuries and fatigue, world governing body FIFA has allowed leagues to temporarily change their rules to allow five substitutes.

Chelsea have also reportedly proposed increasing the number of substitutes available from seven to nine.

However, critics have suggested those changes will simply play into the hands of the bigger clubs with deeper squads.

Premier League clubs appear to have won their battle to have games played in their own grounds rather than on neutral sites.

However, the UK's national lead for football policing confirmed last week that a "small number" of fixtures will take place at neutral venues.

That is likely to include any match that could see Liverpool crowned champions for the first time in 30 years, to try and avoid crowds gathering at Anfield.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is unconcerned by playing at neutral venues, with results from four rounds of Germany's Bundesliga showing no advantage for home sides in a closed-doors environment.

"We will not have the help from the crowd but no team will have that, so where is the advantage?" Klopp told the BBC.

"Whoever we play it is the same situation, which is why I'm not too worried about it."

The use of VAR could also be dispensed with for the rest of the season should the clubs wish to further cut the number of people required for games to go ahead.

However, the Premier League's CEO Richard Masters is keen for it to remain.

"VAR has its own social-distancing issues, but we think there is a way of completing the season with VAR," Masters told Sky Sports.