Borussia Dortmund enjoyed a hefty instant return on their €20million investment in Erling Haaland as the 19-year-old wonderkid produced a debut to savour on Saturday.

Introduced as a second-half substitute with Lucien Favre's side 3-1 down at Augsburg, Haaland promptly scored a hat-trick to inspire a 5-3 victory.

The Norway international's first moments in Dortmund colours are sure to live long in the memory and he is in good company when it comes to elite strikers announcing their arrival with a bang.

Here, we look back at some other standout debuts.

Wayne Rooney

The 18-year-old Rooney arrived at Manchester United from Everton amid huge fanfare after starring for England at Euro 2004, but he also suffered a metatarsal injury early in the Three Lions' quarter-final defeat to Portugal. Fenerbahce's September visit to Old Trafford was his first match back and it proved an unforgettable Champions League debut, with Rooney tucking away two terrific finishes before completing a hat-trick with a delicious free-kick. United won 6-2, the Stretford End had a new hero, and the rest is record-breaking club history.

Sergio Aguero

Aguero's club record-breaking run on the other side of Manchester began on a balmy August evening in 2011. A Premier League campaign that would end with City's then club-record signing snatching the title in career-defining style began with him on the bench and his new team-mates labouring, 1-0 to the good against newly promoted Swansea City. He slid in Micah Richards' cross within 10 minutes of his second-half introduction and, after a clever overhead assist for David Silva, Aguero brought the house down by sealing a 4-0 triumph with a 30-yard piledriver.

Romario

A hat-trick with all three assists coming from home favourite Pep Guardiola ensured Romario was an instant hit at Barcelona. The pick of the bunch saw him spring the offside trap and control a Guardiola pass on his chest before looping a volley over Alberto Lopez from 20 yards to seal a 3-0 home victory over Real Sociedad in Barca's 1993-94 LaLiga opener. The Blaugrana went on to win the title and Romario took the Pichichi with a tally of 30 goals.

Ronaldo

After a memorable but injury-plagued spell at Inter, Ronaldo returned to Spain in 2002 and joined former club Barcelona's arch-rivals Real Madrid. Following concerns about his weight and fitness, he made his highly anticipated debut against Deportivo Alaves over a month after signing. Ronaldo replaced Javier Portillo and took just 61 seconds to make his mark before slotting home a second to complete a 5-2 triumph at a jubilant Santiago Bernabeu. He finished the season with 23 goals and silverware in LaLiga and the Intercontinental Cup.

Fabrizio Ravanelli

The Riverside Stadium was treated to a thriller in August 1996 when £7m signing Fabrizio Ravanelli scored a hat-trick on his Middlesbrough bow in a 3-3 draw with Liverpool. Having joined from European champions Juventus, the 'White Feather' brought Boro back on terms three times, first lashing home a penalty and celebrating in trademark shirt-over-head style, and then sliding home a second from close range to make it 2-2. Robbie Fowler's second-half strike looked to have won it for the Reds until Ravanelli guided in his third of the game 10 minutes from time.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Dortmund and Augsburg fans could be forgiven for feeling a strong sense of deja vu on Saturday after Aubameyang's exploits when the sides met in 2013. After joining from Saint-Etienne his first attempt on goal in the Bundesliga resulted in a goal as he converted a diving header. Aubameyang followed that up after the break with a lovely turn of pace and strike into the far corner. He made it a hat-trick by coolly rounding the goalkeeper as Dortmund thumped Augsburg 4-0.

Christian Vieri

The term "much-travelled" is one that very much fits for Vieri, who joined Inter for a then world-record sum of £32million after helping Lazio win the Cup Winners' Cup in 1999. They were his ninth different club in as many professional seasons. Reuniting with Marcello Lippi, who he played for at Juventus, the man affectionately known as 'Bobo' started a prolific spell at San Siro with a treble against Hellas Verona and went on to score 123 goals in 190 Nerazzurri appearances.

Fernandinho's stoppage-time own goal gave Crystal Palace a 2-2 draw at Manchester City, while Wolves fought back from two down to beat Southampton and Norwich City claimed a huge Premier League win on Saturday.

Cenk Tosun's first Palace goal put the London club in front, but Aguero equalised with his 250th for City eight minutes from time before putting the second-placed champions in front at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola's side were unable to see it out, though, as Fernandinho turned the ball into his own net to leave City 13 points behind leaders Liverpool, who play Manchester United in one of their two games in hand on Sunday.

Resurgent Saints looked set to move into the top half when they were two up at St Mary's Stadium, but Raul Jimenez's double after a Pedro Neto strike moved Wolves up to sixth.

Norwich striker Teemu Pukki scored the only goal against second-bottom Bournemouth, who had defender Steve Cook sent off for a spectacular save, while fellow strugglers Aston Villa drew 1-1 at Brighton and Hove Albion.

John Fleck rescued a 1-1 draw for Sheffield United at Arsenal, while it was the same scoreline in the clash between David Moyes' West Ham and his former club Everton.

 

CITY SLIP UP DESPITE AGUERO BRACE 

Palace claimed a stunning 3-2 win at City last season and looked like picking up another three points until Aguero intervened with a late brace.

New boy Tosun headed the Eagles into a first-half lead with his first goal for the club, but the leading overseas scorer in Premier League history levelled to take his City tally to 250 and struck again with time running out.

VAR overturned a penalty decision after Jairo Riedewald was penalised for handball before Aguero equalised and there was more drama when Wilfried Zaha squared the ball, with Fernandinho turning it into his own net.

 

WOLVES BRING SAINTS BACK DOWN TO EARTH

Saints, on a high after five wins and a draw from their last six games, appeared to be making further strides up the table after Jan Bednarek and Shane Long put them in command at half-time.

But Wolves were transformed after the break, Neto giving them hope and the clinical making Jimenez no mistake from the penalty spot following a VAR intervention for Jack Stephens' challenge on Jonny.

Jimenez was on target again to win in 13 minutes from time, Adama Traore setting the striker up with his second assist, to give Wolves a first win in five in all competitions.

 

CHERRIES PAY THE PENALTY FOR IMPULSIVE COOK STOP

Norwich claimed their first top-flight win since November courtesy of a Pukki penalty as Bournemouth endured another miserable afternoon at Carrow Road.

Pukki converted from 12 yards 33 minutes in after Cherries defender Steve Cook made an acrobatic one-handed stop to keep out Kenny McLean's goal-bound shot.

Cook was given his matching orders and there was no way back for Bournemouth, who have picked up only four points from their last 12 games, as Norwich held on despite Ben Godfrey's dismissal 13 minutes from time.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola lamented the poor defending that allowed Crystal Palace to escape with 2-2 draw after a thrilling finish at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The hosts were behind for the bulk of the contest after Cenk Tosun's 39th minute opener but Sergio Aguero punctuated the frustration with his 250th goal in City colours eight minutes from time.

Aguero duly headed home Benjamin Mendy's cross to put Guardiola's men ahead but there was a sting in the tail and Wilfried Zaha tore past the timid efforts of John Stones and forced Fernandinho to put through his own goal.

"We have to avoid the mistake we have made on the second goal," Guardiola told a post-match news conference.

"Just do not allow Zaha to run, it’s that simple. And we allowed it.

"No [it was not a loss of concentration], it was a decision. Concentration was always there. We are going to solve it and improve it.

"In those positions we need to have the back four there and not let them run on this counter-attack."

Although he did not name the England international specifically, this felt like a damning indictment of Stones' efforts in what has been a difficult campaign for a centre-back frequently short of form and fitness.

At the end of his forlorn pursuit of Zaha, Stones appeared to jar a knee but Guardiola could not offer a fitness update.

"I didn't see the doctors. Now we are going to see," he said.

Champions City are 13 points behind leaders Liverpool having played two games more and Guardiola gave a weary response to a question over whether the title race was still alive – suggesting he might be better served preparing for his team's Tuesday assignment at Sheffield United as opposed to watching Manchester United's trip to Anfield on Sunday.

"I answered the question millions of times in the past few weeks," he added.

"Maybe I will watch it, maybe I will see Sheffield United. I don't know."

City thought they had a penalty at 1-0 down, only for referee Graham Scott to overturn his decision after a VAR review of the incident when Jairo Riedewald deflected Raheem Sterling's cross on to his own arm.

Guardiola said of the incident. "I don’t know the rule of the hands, honestly. It looks like hands, but…"

Sergio Aguero's phenomenal goalscoring exploits for Manchester City make him one of the best in world football, but Pep Guardiola maintains Lionel Messi still stands apart.

Aguero fired a hat-trick in City's 6-1 demolition of Aston Villa on Sunday, replacing Thierry Henry as the most prolific overseas player in Premier League history.

A 12th treble in the competition represents a new all-time best mark, edging City's record goalscorer ahead of Alan Shearer.

Asked afterwards whether Aguero was the best he has worked with, City manager Guardiola felt compelled to highlight his alliance with six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi at Barcelona.

"The best is Messi," he smiled, before a follow-up enquiry pondered whether Aguero was the finest out-and-out striker he had handled in his decorated career.

Guardiola added: "Messi is [the best] number nine, number 10, number 11, number seven, number six, number five, number four…

"But Sergio, [among] the rest, he is certainly one of them. I said many times, he will die scoring goals. It is his talent."

It has proved a tempestuous few days at Barcelona, with club great Xavi reportedly turning down the chance to replace the under-fire Ernesto Valverde.

Guardiola expressed sympathy with the former Athletic Bilbao boss, who has won LaLiga in each of his two full seasons in charge, with the Blaugrana joint-top this time around.

"Barcelona is a special place, because wining the league is not enough," he said.

"I am so sorry for Ernesto. I think he doesn't deserve that.

"Hopefully we can solve it soon, as an associate of this club."

Liverpool continued their relentless march towards the Premier League title with a 1-0 victory over Tottenham while Sergio Aguero sent records tumbling in Manchester City's resounding win at Aston Villa.

The Reds moved 16 points clear at the top thanks to Leicester City's defeat to Southampton – as Danny Ings kept up his superb form – though the gap was reduced slightly when City thrashed Villa on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Manchester United ended a three-match winless streak with a resounding 4-0 triumph over lowly Norwich City.

We review the key top-flight matches with the help of Opta data.

 

CHAMPIONS-ELECT SET NEW BENCHMARKS AS TITLE TILT CONTINUES AT PACE

Barring a collapse of epic proportions, it seems certain that the Premier League title will be Liverpool's for the first time come the end of the season – or earlier, at this rate.

Roberto Firmino's fifth goal in his past six appearances handed Jurgen Klopp's side the points at Tottenham, who lost successive league matches for the first time this season, and have also conceded 20 goals in 13 matches under Jose Mourinho.

Liverpool sit on 61 points at the top of the pile, the most any side has ever registered after 21 matches in a single season across Europe's big five leagues.

Klopp's team have amassed 104 points across their past 38 Premier League games, winning 33 times and drawing on five occasions; this is a record total by any team across a 38-match run in the competition's history.

It is 38 league games since Liverpool last suffered a defeat. In the same amount of time, Spurs have lost 16 matches – including three defeats to the Reds.

AGUERO SMASHES RECORDS IN SIX-GOAL ROMP

It was a waltz in Villa Park for City on Sunday, as Aguero's hat-trick and a masterclass from Kevin De Bruyne propelled Pep Guardiola's side to a 6-1 win and up into second place.

With his second goal – which came early in the second half to put City 5-0 up – Aguero became the highest-scoring non-British player in Premier League history, moving ahead of Thierry Henry.

Aguero moved onto 177 top-flight goals when he thumped in his third, making the former Atletico Madrid forward the outright record holder for hat-tricks in the Premier League with 12 to his name – one ahead of Alan Shearer's tally of 11.

After his first-half double and assist for Aguero's hat-trick goal, Riyad Mahrez is the only Premier League player to both score and assist 20 goals or more since the start of last season in all competitions. 

De Bruyne, meanwhile, is now on 15 assists for this campaign after teeing up two of City's goals.

INGS KEEPS GETTING BETTER

Two of the Premier League's leading scorers went head-to-head at the King Power Stadium, but while Jamie Vardy failed to inspire Leicester City to victory, Southampton's Ings proved the match-winner as the Saints gained revenge for their 9-0 defeat in the reverse fixture.

Ings' effort nine minutes from time was his 14th of the season and his ninth goal in his past 10 top-flight appearances.

It means 40 per cent of Ings' 35 Premier League goals have come in this campaign, while he is also the highest-scoring Southampton player since Jay Rodriguez in 2013-14.

Dennis Praet put Leicester ahead and is the 14th different player to have scored for the Foxes in the Premier League this term, while Brendan Rodgers suffered successive home defeats for the first time since he took over.

UNITED'S FORWARDS RUN RIOT IN OLD TRAFFORD ROUT

Missing leading scorer Teemu Pukki, Norwich City never looked likely to trouble United, who cruised to a convincing win to lift themselves into fifth place.

It is the first time United have scored four goals in consecutive home games in the league since September 2017, while the Canaries have not won in nine Premier League matches.

Marcus Rashford scored twice and is now on 19 goals in all competitions this season – only Raheem Sterling, with 20, has more among Premier League players.

Juan Mata set up two goals, the first time he has provided two assists in a league match since October 2012 – also against Norwich – while Mason Greenwood has scored four top-flight goals this term, more than any other teenager in the competition.

Gabriel Jesus dispatched an unfussy left-footed finish to put Manchester City 4-0 up before half-time at Villa Park but knew this was no time to bask in his own achievement.

Beaming in a giggling grin, the Brazil forward made straight for Kevin De Bruyne, City's playmaker extraordinaire who had made it virtually impossible for him not to score the 14th goal of a quietly impressive season.

De Bruyne collected possession just inside the Villa half and strode purposefully away from Danny Drinkwater, who was enduring the sort of debut the director of a slasher horror movie might have found a little on the nose.

Soon enough he was in the position. The Kevin De Bruyne position.

You know the one – just on the edge of the final third, a little wide of the right-hand side of the penalty area. The perfect angle for De Bruyne to wrap that delectable right foot around the ball and arc it towards and then tantalisingly away from goal.

The sort of cross that screams "score me". All of Villa's back three heard the cries, with right-sided centre-back Ezri Konsa flinging himself in an ungainly heap in a futile attempt to stop the inevitable.

It was De Bruyne's 14th assist of the Premier League season and plenty of those have been similarly picture perfect. Number 13 also featured Drinkwater in the rear-view mirror for a simple pass to Sergio Aguero, who rifled in spectacularly from 20 yards to set himself on the way to a hat-trick.

Aguero's part in this scintillating 6-1 spree saw him pass Thierry Henry as the Premier League's top-scoring overseas player and Alan Shearer as the man with the largest collection of trebles (12) in the competition.

But there is no doubt De Bruyne is the beating heart of this City team, something that has become abundantly clear over recent weeks in the face of a new reality established by Jurgen Klopp's relentless and ravenous Liverpool.

Without wishing to underplay Guardiola's achievement in marching an intricate, high-end team to back-to-back Premier League titles, the past two seasons largely consisted of him sending out his favoured 4-3-3 formation and watching the marvellous Mancunian machine take flight.

Compromised by form and fitness problems for key players this time around, and with Liverpool disappearing over the horizon, the City manager has shuffled his pack into a range of tactical shapes over the past month.

A fluid 4-2-3-1 was rolled out for a 3-0 triumph at Arsenal in December – the second victory in a run of 10 wins from 11 in all competitions, where City began a recent theme of doing decisive damage before half-time.

De Bruyne ran the show as a number 10, scything a bouncing ball into the top corner with outstanding technique and curling home a more controlled effort either side of bursting through the right-hand side of the Gunners defence to set up Raheem Sterling.

There were similar antics the following weekend, from the right this time, as the Etihad Stadium bellowed De Bruyne's name after another assist that relegated a Jesus finish to a role in the supporting cast. High-flying Leicester were condemned to a 3-1 defeat.

City's only defeat in this prolific sequence came amid Ederson's early red card at Wolves. Guardiola substituted De Bruyne – whose throughball created Sterling's second of the game – and watched a 2-1 lead become a 3-2 loss.

A 3-4-3 reboot followed a lacklustre first half against Sheffield United. Guardiola deployed De Bruyne as a deep-lying and roving midfield general, who tore forward to make the points safe having set up Aguero to break the deadlock.

That configuration remained for a 2-1 win over Everton before De Bruyne excelled as one of Guardiola's false nines in a beguiling besting of Manchester United in the EFL Cup. He left Phil Jones twisted and bereft on the turf for the third goal in a 3-1 semi-final first-leg win.

It was back to old faithful and 4-3-3 at Villa Park, with De Bruyne lurching low and high into those pockets of maximum destruction. He even managed to create Riyad Mahrez's opener without touching the ball thanks to a delightful dummy.

City's newfound flexibility bodes well for when their Champions League campaign resumes with a mouth-watering last-16 clash against Real Madrid. Opening up these new shape-shifting possibilities would have been impossible for City and Guardiola without their Belgian master key.

Pep Guardiola hailed Sergio Aguero as "a legend" after the Manchester City striker broke two records in Sunday's 6-1 win over Aston Villa.

Aguero netted three times as he surpassed Thierry Henry as the Premier League's top-scoring non-Englishman, while he is now the division's leading scorer of hat-tricks after completing his 12th at Villa Park.

Although the hosts were charitable in their defending, Aguero's opener showed his clinical finishing ability as he lashed home from outside the box.

A jinking run and finish doubled his tally before an emphatic close-range effort secured the matchball and the warm praise of his manager.

"He's a legend and the legend rises tonight," Guardiola told Sky Sports after a match in which Riyad Mahrez scored twice and Gabriel Jesus also netted.

"Thierry Henry is one of the most incredible players to play in this league and he will be proud that Sergio is the guy who breaks his record. He was a legend and Sergio is the same.

"We congratulated him in the locker room because to score this amount of goals means you have done for many, many years a lot of good things.

"He's been consistent for many, many years, so an incredible compliment for him.

"The most important thing is he is an incredible person. You cannot achieve this without being a guy who loves to play football and in the final third he is the guy who has the goal in his head."

Villa boss Dean Smith was left to reflect on a one-sided contest in which his side were second best throughout, a late Anwar El Ghazi penalty providing scant consolation.

"It was a chastening experience," he conceded. "We know they are a top-class team but some of the goals we have given away were dreadful. The third one probably summed it up.

"They had 15 or 16 passes and we hadn't laid a glove on them. They have been allowed to pass the ball too easily and Aguero sticks it in the top corner from 20 yards.

"Mahrez got into the penalty box and under no pressure passes into the bottom corner. It is hard when you are three goals down against a team of this quality. The three players that scored today are worth more than my whole squad.

"They kept going but we shouldn't be sitting here happy with ourselves and we're not. We are embarrassed."

Sergio Aguero wants to complete his trophy collection at Manchester City with the Champions League after Sunday's 6-1 win at Aston Villa saw him break a pair of notable Premier League records.

Aguero opened his account for the afternoon at Villa Park with a blistering 20-yard strike that put Pep Guardiola's side 3-0 up inside the opening half hour.

He sashayed past a beleaguered Villa defence to make it 5-0 in the 57th minute, the 31-year-old's 176th Premier League goal seeing him surpass Thierry Henry as the top scoring overseas player in the history of England's top flight.

Aguero completed his hat-trick nine minutes from time, marking a 12th Premier League treble to move him clear of Alan Shearer with the most in the competition.

Having won all of the major domestic honours on offer since joining City in 2011, shining under Roberto Mancini, Manuel Pellegrini and now Guardiola, the 31-year-old has designs on the one competition to have eluded City over the course of a decorated decade.

Real Madrid, the 13-time Champions Leage winners lie in wait for Aguero and his team-mates in this season's last 16.

"I want to keep scoring more goals but it all depends on my team-mates. If he passes to me it's fine," he told Sky Sports, speaking alongside Riyad Mahrez, who scored twice as Villa were put to the sword.

"Normally, I don’t think how many years [I would] be here in one club. When I came here, the club and my team-mates received me very well - in that moment with Mancini.

"I adapted very well. Keep going now.

"I want to keep scoring, keep focused every game. I will be happy if we do a good Champions League."

Mahrez laid on Aguero's hat-trick following a mistake from Villa defender Kortney Hause and marvelled at his team-mate's clinical qualities.

"The statistics speak for themselves," he said. "He is a legend for this club and the Premier League. He shows it week in and week out

"He has a lot of quality but, to be honest, he does not need a lot of chances to score. This shows how big a striker he is."

Aguero is now fourth on the Premier League's all-time list, level with Frank Lampard.

However, he conceded Shearer's towering mark of 260 might just be a little out of reach.

"Okay, well I will try," he chuckled.

"It's too far to Shearer, too much goals. I don’t know – maybe I will try."

Sergio Aguero set a Premier League record when he scored his 12th hat-trick in England's top flight as Manchester City beat Aston Villa 6-1 on Sunday.

The Argentina striker surpassed the previous best mark of 11 set by former England captain Alan Shearer across his celebrated spells with Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United.

Aguero became City's all-time leading goalscorer in 2017 and has excelled under Roberto Mancini, Manuel Pellegrini and Pep Guardiola since moving to the Etihad Stadium from Atletico Madrid in 2011.

Here, we take a look back over his record-breaking deadly dozen.


Manchester City 3-0 Wigan Athletic – September 10, 2011

It proved love at first sight between Aguero and the City faithful as he came off the bench to net a brace against Swansea City on his home debut. He went one better next time out at the Etihad Stadium. Two assists were laid on by David Silva, with the delicate skill and sublime pass to craft Aguero's hat-trick goal announcing the long and fruitful on-field relationship they would enjoy.

Manchester City 4-1 Tottenham – October 18, 2014

After two seasons without a Premier League treble, Aguero scored all four in this thrashing of Spurs, with two converted penalties and another miss from 12 yards in the middle of a remarkable haul.

Manchester City 6-0 QPR – May 10, 2015

Facing the club who were on the receiving end of Aguero's career-defining goal, there was none of the tension and suspense of three years earlier as City brushed a sorry QPR aside and condemned them to relegation. A barrelling solo run through a disorganised backline opened the floodgates in the fourth minute before Aguero pounced on an error from Yun Suk-young and completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot.


Manchester City 6-1 Newcastle United – October 3, 2015

Newcastle were heading for a half-time lead until Aguero nodded a 42nd-minute equaliser. It was the first of a scarcely credible five in 20 minutes – his third following a delightful exchange of passes between Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Fernandinho the pick of the bunch.

Chelsea 0-3 Manchester City – April 16, 2016

Pellegrini's final season at City had petered out in terms of a Premier League title challenge. Aguero's emphatic pair of finishes at the end of scything counter-attacks led by De Bruyne at Stamford Bridge made that feel particularly wasteful. Thibaut Courtois' professional foul on Fernandinho meant the matchball was claimed from 12 yards.


Watford 0-6 Manchester City – September 16, 2017

A performance that offered an emphatic response to lingering questions over whether Aguero could operate effectively under Guardiola. After heading home De Bruyne's free-kick to open the scoring and converting David Silva's cutback, Aguero prodded in at the end of a brilliant dribble to cap his hat-trick in style.

Manchester City 3-1 Newcastle United – January 20, 2018

Newcastle were on the receiving end of more Aguero punishment as he glanced in a De Bruyne cross, crashed a penalty past Karl Darlow right footed and crowned Leroy Sane's riotous dribble inside the visitors' box with his left to complete a 'perfect' hat-trick.

Manchester City 5-1 Leicester City 1 – February 10, 2018

Another occasion where three goals were not quite enough for Aguero – he found the net four times in the second half of this crushing victory over the Foxes. Incredibly, this was the third time Aguero had scored at least four goals in a Premier League game, while the win moved City a whopping 16 points clear at the top of the table.

Manchester City 6-1 Huddersfield Town – August 19, 2018

It was only the second weekend of the new campaign but Aguero was already in top form in this demolition of the Terriers. "I never saw him like this since I was here," Guardiola said. "He is in an incredible condition with the ball and without the ball." Ederson's long pass sent Aguero clear for his first, he capitalised on Ben Hamer's error for his second, and the treble was sealed when he converted Benjamin Mendy's cross.


Manchester City 3-1 Arsenal – February 3, 2019

Aguero opened the scoring in the first minute, with all three of his finishes on this occasion coming from close range. It was his 14th hat-trick in all competitions for City, who moved within two points of Premier League leaders Liverpool thanks to this defeat of Unai Emery's Gunners.

Manchester City 6-0 Chelsea – February 10, 2019

A week later and Aguero had another matchball to add to his collection after City tore Chelsea apart at the Etihad. Aguero should have converted an easy chance even before his fourth-minute opener, a sensational 25-yard drive that left Kepa Arrizabalaga helpless. Ross Barkley's mistake gave Aguero a simple second and the treble was wrapped up from the penalty spot as City leapfrogged Liverpool.

Aston Villa 1-6 Manchester City – January 12, 2020

It was already a record-breaking day for Aguero in Birmingham, who surpassed Thierry Henry as the Premier League's highest scoring overseas player with his second of the game and 176th in the top flight. Kortney Hause coughing up possession let Riyad Mahrez set him up to overhaul Shearer. Aguero's blistering 20-yard effort into the top corner to start his hat-trick was the pick of the bunch.

Manchester City thrashed Aston Villa 6-1 as Sergio Aguero netted a hat-trick to break two records, Riyad Mahrez scored twice and former Leicester City team-mate Danny Drinkwater endured a debut to forget.

The contest was settled in a 10-minute spell at Villa Park in which Mahrez grabbed a double and Aguero equalled Thierry Henry as the Premier League's top-scoring non-Englishman, later surpassing him and grabbing a record 12th hat-trick in the process.

It was a particularly harsh introduction to life at his new club for Chelsea loanee Drinkwater, who might have prevented the opener and effectively supplied the second.

Mahrez broke the deadlock after easily shrugging off Drinkwater's dithering presence, while the three-cap England international gave the ball away in his own box to allow his former Foxes team-mate to double his tally.

Aguero's rasping drive put City in control and Gabriel Jesus made it 4-0 before the break, with Villa's punishment extended by two more goals for Aguero after the break – Anwar El Ghazi's late penalty a minor blemish for the champions.

Having seen Liverpool continue their apparently unstoppable march to the top-flight title with a 1-0 win at Tottenham on Saturday, City – fresh from a 3-1 EFL Cup semi-final first-leg victory over Manchester United – were initially a little lacklustre before Mahrez injected some much-needed quality with his 18th-minute opener, which came at the end of a fine solo run. 

Drinkwater, having failed to make an impact in a previous spell with Burnley, looked off the pace and was caught by David Silva, who found Jesus to set up Mahrez for the Algerian's second soon after.

Aguero's record-equalling goal was more eye-catching, his vicious strike from outside the box getting the better of Orjan Nyland to leave Villa reeling. 

Worse was to come in first-half stoppage time, Jesus steering home from Kevin De Bruyne's superb pinpoint cross from right. 

To Villa's credit, they limited the damage in the second half, albeit Dean Smith's side were often pinned back by a fluent and strutting City outfit.

Aguero's fancy footwork in the box created the space for him to coolly slot in the fifth, making history in the process, but he was not done there.

An emphatic close-range finish ensured Aguero has now scored more hat-tricks than any other player in Premier League history.

El Ghazi took out his anger on a last-gasp penalty that did little to paper over the cracks for Villa, with City jumping above Leicester into second.

 

What does it mean? City shine, even in the shadows

Liverpool's stunning form has left City somewhat in the Merseyside club's shadows, but even now they continue to shine.

This was a display of champions, which is what City officially remain for the time being. Villa can take solace in knowing they will not face this quality every week in their quest for survival.

Mahrez makes his mark

Several City players underlined their class in this one, not least of all the likes of De Bruyne, Aguero and Silva, but it took Mahrez to bring the game to life.

He was a willing runner at an ailing Villa defence who failed to limit his influence.

Drinkwater's maiden outing a harsh lesson

As debuts go, this was up there – or down there – with the worst. Drinkwater's lack of game time had readily apparent consequences in a contest where Villa were already huge underdogs.

He will need to dust himself down after this one and hope the only way is up.

What's next?

City welcome Crystal Palace to the Etihad Stadium next Saturday, having lost the same fixture last season in a five-goal thriller. Villa, meanwhile, head to the south coast to take on Palace's bitter rivals Brighton and Hove Albion.

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero has become the highest-scoring overseas player in Premier League history.

The Argentina star's double during Sunday's match at Aston Villa moved him on to 176 goals in England's top flight – one clear of Arsenal and France great Thierry Henry.

Aguero and Henry are undoubtedly two of the finest attacking players ever to have graced the league, but how do their records stack up alongside one another?

With a little help from Opta, we decided to find out.

Henry's home comforts

Both men's scoring rates are remarkably similar, with Henry's 175 goals coming in 258 appearances and Aguero usurping him on his 255th. The City favourite also shades it in terms of minutes per goal, with each strike clocking in at 106.86 minutes alongside Henry's 122.

The two players heavily favour their lethal right feet. Aguero notched 125 with that trusty boot – including his unforgettable title-clincher against QPR in 2012 – and Henry netted 136 with his stronger foot.

Aguero has 33 and 17 left footed and headed goals to Henry's 31 and 6, although the 1998 World Cup winner boasts more from long range – crashing in 29 from outside the penalty area to Aguero's 21.

Under pressure inside the box, Aguero has held his nerve from the spot 26 times to Henry's 23.

Indeed, one of the most significant differentials is home and away goals, with 55 of Henry's coming beyond the environs of Highbury and Emirates Stadium. Aguero has a century of Etihad Stadium strikes (102) but 74 on his travels.

Aguero the Toon tormentor

No Premier League team have felt the force of Aguero more often than Newcastle United. He has 15 goals in 13 appearances against them, although five of those came in the same 6-1 win in 2015.

Tottenham were used to the threat of Henry but nowadays struggle to contain City's prolific Argentine, who has 11 in 15 games versus the north Londoners. Chelsea (10 in 14) are another capital club to have suffered plenty of Aguero punishment.

The distinction of being Henry's most scored against Premier League opponent is a three-way tie between Villa, Charlton Athletic and Middlesbrough, each of whom conceded 12 times to the former Monaco and Juventus forward.

Both Aguero and Henry have delighted their adoring faithful with eight league goals apiece at the expense of Manchester United, although the former's have come at a faster rate, across 893 minutes as opposed to 1,178.

Among his top 10 most agreeable opponents. Aguero's eight goals in eight outings versus Stoke City came across a mere 595 minutes. Henry plundered seven in six versus Portsmouth – a handsome return on 540 minutes' work.

Silva service and Pires the provider

Of course, both men have benefitted considerably from a stellar supporting cast.

No player has assisted Aguero in the Premier League more frequently than David Silva (21), although the former Spain playmaker will leave City at the end of this season, by which point the mercurial Kevin De Bruyne (18) might have already surpassed him.

Yaya Toure's 11 assists for Aguero equalled the tally supplied by Henry's erstwhile attacking ally Dennis Bergkamp, one fewer than the late Jose Antonio Reyes (12).

However, Robert Pires stands clear with 17 Premier League assists for Henry during a period where the duo excelled for club and country.

Another Frenchman, Samir Nasri, assisted Aguero on nine occasions – the same number of goals Freddie Ljungberg and Patrick Vieira laid on for Henry.

When it comes to returning the favour, Henry is clearly out in front with 74 assists to Aguero's 46.

Sergio Aguero is the top-scoring overseas player in Premier League history after he netted twice during Manchester City's match at Aston Villa on Sunday.

The Argentina striker rifled in a blistering strike from 20 yards to give Pep Guardiola's side a 3-0 lead inside half an hour at Villa Park, before collecting a pass from David Silva and placing home his second after the break.

It moved Aguero on to 176 goals in England's top flight, surpassing the mark of 175 established by Arsenal and France great Thierry Henry.

City star Aguero, 31, is now fifth overall on the Premier League's all-time list, behind Frank Lampard (177), Andy Cole (187), Wayne Rooney (208) and Alan Shearer (260).

Aguero, who joined City from Atletico Madrid for £38million in July 2011, is his club's record goalscorer with 248 in all competitions.

Manchester City captain David Silva will make his first Premier League start for a month at Aston Villa, where Pep Guardiola has selected Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus in his XI.

Silva, who will end a 10-year association with City when his contract expires at the end of this season, sustained a thigh injury during December's 2-1 defeat to Manchester United and made brief substitute appearances against Everton and Port Vale at the start of this month.

Aguero and Jesus last started a Premier League game in tandem against Newcastle United in September 2018.

It means Guardiola has granted Aguero a shot at overhauling Thierry Henry as the Premier League's leading overseas goalscorer. The Argentina striker is on 174, one behind Henry's record mark.

Jesus' fellow Brazilian Ederson is back from suspension as one of six changes from the City team that beat United 3-1 in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final at Old Trafford in midweek, with Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling among those dropping to the bench.

Danny Drinkwater makes his Villa debut in a midfield featuring ex-City man Douglas Luiz.

The former Leicester City player joined on loan from Chelsea this week following an unsuccessful stint at Burnley, where his only Premier League appearance came in a 4-1 loss to City at the start of last month.

Port Vale's Tom Pope had the FA Cup impact he promised before holders Manchester City ran out 4-1 winners at the Etihad Stadium.

Pope, whose disparaging Twitter post about City defender John Stones came to light following the third-round draw, nodded in a superb 35th-minute equaliser after Oleksandr Zinchenko's deflected opener.

However, Sergio Aguero ensured the hosts went in ahead at half-time before youngsters Taylor Harwood-Bellis – inadvertently scoring his first senior goal after Stones thought he had City's third – and Phil Foden sealed the Premier League champions' progress.

Nathan Smith scrambled an eighth-minute effort from Foden out of the goalmouth but fellow Vale centre-back Leon Legge was not so effective with his own last-ditch attempt – turning Zinchenko's speculative 20th-minute strike past Scott Brown.

David Silva inexplicably scuffed Ilkay Gundogan's low cross into the turf and against the crossbar with the goal at his mercy and City would rue that miss.

On a rare Vale attack, David Amoo raided down the right and Pope found space off the back of Harwood-Bellis to dispatch a fine header.

Another player who would certainly fall under Pope's self-applied label of "bagsman" is Aguero, and City's all-time record goalscorer restored his team's lead after Foden stayed just onside to steer Gundogan's chipped pass across goal.

Brown made superb early second-half saves to deny Bernardo Silva and Foden, yet City had the breathing space they desired before the hour.

Stones looked to have levelled the personal duel with Pope – insofar as there was one – but a VAR check showed his close-range shot clipped Harwood-Bellis on the line.

A wretched clearance from Stones, half-blocked by Pope, meant Vale substitute Tom Conlon almost reduced the deficit with a diving header, while David Silva's frustrating outing in front of goal continued as he dragged wide.

But Foden got the goal his efforts deserved from a drilled Angelino cross, allowing attentions to turn towards a blockbuster midweek derby.

What does it mean? Guardiola's Cup kings march on

Pep Guardiola selected a team with one eye on the forthcoming first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final against Manchester United and City were far from their fluent best. Still, City have now prevailed in 22 of their past 23 domestic cup ties, with a 2018 FA Cup fifth-round defeat to Wigan Athletic the only blot in the past three seasons.

Pope walks the walk

Vale's veteran striker arguably set himself up for a fall seven months before this tie with a tweet claiming he would "get 40 a season" playing against Stones. Pope's bravado was duly unearthed after the draw and, although the visitors' goal had nothing to do with any short-comings on Stones' part, he relished backing up his bold words.

City understudies come up short

Angelino and Claudio Bravo should probably thank Pope for targeting Stones on social media, because their parts in the goal might be overlooked. The left-back's lacklustre efforts when it came to stopping Amoo's cross left City in trouble. It was a fine finish but, not for the first time in his City career, Bravo appeared awfully flat footed, meaning his chances of pulling off the save were limited to begin with.

What's next

City resume their other domestic cup defence with the first of a Manchester derby double-header at Old Trafford on Tuesday, while there is a Manchester United-flavour to Vale's midweek assignment as they travel to Salford City in the EFL Trophy on the same day.

Pep Guardiola hailed Gabriel Jesus after his double against Everton but also labelled Sergio Aguero "irreplaceable" at Manchester City.

Jesus' quickfire goals early in the second half ultimately proved enough to claim the points against the Toffees, who pulled one back through Richarlison following Claudio Bravo's mistake.

Meanwhile, Aguero, who marked his return from injury with a crisp finish in City's 2-0 win over Sheffield United on Sunday, remained on the bench as an unused substitute.

Brazil international Jesus now has 13 goals to his name in all competitions this season, but Guardiola insists Aguero is still number one.

"Gabriel has been excellent, but Sergio is irreplaceable," Guardiola said in quotes reported by City's official Twitter account.

"What he means for our fans, what he's done, the goal against QPR [in 2012], we need a good back-up for all the players and Sergio has a great complimentary player in Gabriel.

"They have a great relationship."

Jesus, in a post-match interview with BT Sport, said he is still attempting to learn as much as possible from Aguero.

"Of course, it's always good to start [the year] with the victory," the 22-year-old said. "The team played well, very well. I'm happy with the goals, the guys played so well today.

"I'm a striker, I have to score and try every time. We have Sergio, who scores every game. I have to learn from him. When I go on the pitch, I have to score."

City's win kept them within a point of second-placed Leicester City, though they are still 11 adrift of runaway leaders Liverpool, who play on Thursday.

Over the festive period, City beat Leicester, the Blades and Everton, though slumped to a 3-2 defeat at Wolves on December 27.

"We played great, so I am delighted for the guys. This period is so tough. We did really well. Three more points and closer to Leicester," Guardiola added.

"When you are far away from the first position sometimes people give up, but we never give up. We have to keep going. We have FA Cup then the EFL Cup. Other teams dropped points for the top four, so it was an important win."

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