Manchester City hammered Stoke City 7-2 at the Etihad Stadium to again demonstrate their Premier League title-winning credentials.
Pep Guardiola's side - unchanged from the starting line-up that beat Chelsea a fortnight ago - roared into a three-goal lead as early as the half-hour mark with Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and David Silva getting on the scoresheet.
Stoke managed to muster two goals in response either side of half-time - a Mame Birame Diouf strike and a Kyle Walker own-goal giving the hosts something to think about, but the set-back only angered the hosts who responded with four times without reply. Jesus grabbed his brace while Fernandinho’s 25-yard screamer was followed by Leroy Sane’s well-taken goal and the rout was completed by substitute Bernardo Silva.
Leading by such a comfortable margin allowed City to make changes in personnel with Napoli making the visit to Manchester on Tuesday evening, but Guardiola opted against introducing Sergio Aguero who was passed fit only 16 days after breaking his rib in a card accident.
The comprehensive win sees City assume top spot and a two-point lead over rivals United after eight games with a far superior goal difference already established.
Manchester City 7-2 Stoke City
Image credit: Eurosport
Scintillating City continue to progress. Back in March, Stoke put a huge dent in City’s title hopes when they held Pep Guardiola’s side to a frustrating goalless draw at the Etihad. On that fateful Saturday, City were made to pay for producing a sluggish performance. They eventually finished third, the lowest position Pep had ever recorded as manager.
How things have changed, only seven months later. After a pulsating half-an-hour, City were deservedly three goals ahead, heading for their eighth straight victory in all competitions. The hosts finished with a flourish, and they have now racked up a remarkable 17 goals in their last three home games. This was a Stoke side that was supposed to test City’s quality - after all, Mark Hughes’ side had already beaten Arsenal and held Manchester United to a 2-2 draw earlier in the season. The Potters, like many before them, simply had no answer to City’s penetrating football, however.
Gabriel Jesus et Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)
Image credit: Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City). The assist-king was at his brilliant best on his 100th appearance for the club, laying on two more goals for his team mates with exceptional passing. Pep Guardiola has brought the best out of the creative Belgian and he is only going to get better as the season progresses.
Manchester City: Ederson 6, Walker 8, Stones 7, Otamendi 7, Delph 7, De Bruyne 9, D Silva 9, Fernandinho 8, Sterling 9, Sane 8, Jesus 8. Subs: Gundogan 6, B. Silva 7, Toure 6.
17’ - GOAL! City 1-0 Stoke. Jesus puts City ahead! Walker makes a run from the half-way line to meet De Bruyne's through pass at the by-line, he cleverly cuts it back across goal for Jesus who is left with a simple tap-in. A wonderful team goal.
19’ - GOAL! City 2-0 Stoke. Sterling doubles City's advantage! Sparkling football from the hosts! De Bruyne plays a lovely reverse pass to Sane to open Stoke's defence, he unselfishly squares it for Sterling at the back post and he is left with a gaping goal to shoot into.
27’ - GOAL! City 3-0 Stoke. Silva makes it three! Breathtaking football from City as they go further ahead! Sane finds Sterling at the back post, he shows great desire to pull it back for Silva who, off-balance, pokes the ball past Butland.
44’ - GOAL! City 3-1 Stoke. And Stoke have one back! Diouf charges forward on the right, playing a clever give-and-go with Jese, before hammering in a deflected shot past Ederson.
47’ - GOAL! City 3-2 Stoke. Stoke score again! The visitors make a remarkable start to the second period as Diouf grabs his brace! A deep cross from young debutant Edwards picks out Diouf whose header deflects off Walker and into the net. Game on!
56’ - GOAL! City 4-2 Stoke. Jesus grabs his double! A quality cross from De Bruyne picks out Jesus at the back post and his one-touch finish sees the ball strike the roof of the net. A clinical finish, and surely now City have sealed the three points.
60’ - GOAL! City 5-2 Stoke. A stunner from Fernandinho! What a goal from the Brazilian! No one closes him down, and he fires an unstoppable shot from 25 yards straight into the top corner of the net. Butland had no chance.
Fernandinho of Manchester City (obscure) scores his sides fifth goal as Jack Butland of Stoke City attempts to stop it
Image credit: Getty Images
62’ - GOAL! City 6-2 Stoke. Sane nets City's six! Simply scintillating from City as Sane gets in on the act. It is another stunning assist from De Bruyne who rolls a cross to the back post for Sane who tucks the ball between the legs of Butland.
79’ - GOAL! City 7-2 Stoke. Bernardo Silva scores! On this kind of form, it was only a matter of time before City scored again, and there it is. The former Monaco forward is slid through by Sterling, and he makes no mistake, poking the ball beyond Butland.
Man City have named an unchanged line-up in the Premier League for just the second time under Pep Guardiola.
Raheem Sterling has scored six goals in his last six Premier League games, more than in his previous 31 combined (five).
Kyle Walker has provided three assists for Man City in the Premier League this season; no Man City defender made more than one assist in 2016-17.
Since his Man City debut in September 2015, Kevin De Bruyne has provided 32 assists in the Premier League, more than any other player.
Gabriel Jesus has been involved in 10 goals in nine Premier League games at the Etihad Stadium (eight goals, two assists).
Man City are the first top-flight team to net 29 goals in their first eight league games of the season since Everton in 1894-95 (30).