MAN CITY 4, TOTTENHAM 1
Sergio Aguero’s four-goal show was music to the ears of Manchester City, but not to Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino who had likened the player to Mozart before the match.
It was easy to see why as the Argentine striker was described by Pochettino as the best player in the world as he was unplayable as City produced a scintillating attacking display.
Pochettini, in his pre-match assessment of Aguero, said: “When Aguero plays, it is like classical music in my head. It is unbelievable.
“I think he is the best striker in the world. It’s like Mozart…Beethoven is too crazy.”
City manager Manuel Pellegrini was equally lavish in his praise of his Argentine striker who overtook Carlos Tevez as the club’s all time leading scorer in the Premier League.
Aguero also became only the second City player to score four goals in a Premier League match following Edin Dzeko who also achieved the feat against Spurs.
Pellegrini explained: “I said before the game, and before he scored four goals, that he can become one of the three or four most important strikers in the world.
“It was not easy last year with so many injuries, but he is fit and working well. If he is 100-per-cent fit, he will demonstrate it every game.”
Pellegrini added it was an exciting game for the fans, one which could easily have finished 7-3, though for the managers there were too many mistakes.
It was a game which had everything as there were five goals, four penalties two of which were missed, a sending off while both goalkeepers played blinders and Frank Lampard was dealt an injury blow.
City, who beat Spurs 5-1 and 6-0 last season, made six changes from the side that won at Aston Villa in their last game. There were call ups for Bacary Sagna, Martin Demichelis and Gael Clichy in defence along with Fernando, Lampard and Jesus Navas in the middle.
The players making way were Pablo Zabaleta, Eliaquim Mangala, Aleksandar Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure and Dzeko, many no doubt influenced by international duties in the previous week.
There was an explosive start to the game as Spurs had two chances to take the lead in quick succession to take the lead. Ryan Mason burst clear only for Joe Hart to make a brilliant save and then Erikson shot just over.
It was City who made the breakthrough in the 13th minute through a piece of individual brilliance from Aguero who finished clinically.
Spurs were level 1min 39sec later when Roberto Soldado caught Fernando in possession and set up Erikson who rifled home the leveller off the underside of the crossbar.
City regained the lead after 20 minutes when Frank Lampard was fouled in the box by Erik Lamela and Aguero scored from the spot for his eighth goal of the season. It was also a record 59th Premier League goal for Aguero who overtook previous holder Tevez.
There was an injury blow when Lampard left the field on a stretcher with a thigh problem just before the half hour as he was replaced by Fernandinho.
City were awarded a second first-half penalty when David Silva was tripped by Younis Kaboul, but Aguero failed to complete his hat trick as his spot kick was saved by the legs of keeper Hugo Lloris. And the Argentine’s scissor kick follow up narrowly cleared the crossbar.
Hart was forced to make a super save to deny Mason as Spurs came close to making in 2-2 in what was proving to be a compelling opening period.
The second half was equally absorbing as Lloris denied both Aguero and Navas with smart saves while Spurs remained a threat and they won a penalty when Roberto Soldado was tripped by Demichelis.
Soldado’s weakly hit spot kick was saved low to his right by Hart who moments later pulled off a great save to deny Soldado once more as City’s defence was suddenly creaking.
There was further drama midway through the half when City were awarded their third penalty of the match when debut-making Federico Fazio was sent off for a foul on Aguero who stepped up to complete his hat trick from the spot.
Aguero was not finished as he scored a fourth goal of the game with another splendid finish as he cut in past substitute Jan Vertonghen before firing missile low into the bottom far corner of the net. It was his ninth Premier League goal of the season as he drew level at the top of the scoring charts alongside Chelsea’s Diego Costa.
And there was almost a fifth when James Milner’s curled shot struck the upright with Lloris beaten as City remained relentless in their pursuit of further goals