Fantastic five from Sergio Aguero as Manchester City sink Newcastle
Sergio Aguero scored five goals in a sensational 20-minute spell as Manchester City came from behind to crush Newcastle 6-1 in the Barclays Premier League.
It was a stunning return to form from the Argentinian, who had scored just once from open play prior to this remarkable blitz against the Magpies at the Etihad Stadium.
Kevin de Bruyne also got on the scoresheet as City, after falling behind to an Aleksandar Mitrovic header during a laboured first-half display, powered back to the top of the table.
Aguero had gone into the game with question marks over his form after a recent knee injury and a patchy display against Borussia Monchengladbach in midweek.
But his late penalty winner in Germany clearly had a rejuvenating effect and for a sparkling period either side of half-time he was world class and unstoppable.
City were ragged and defended badly in the first half but their awakening after the break transformed the game and shredded all of Newcastle's positive early work.
The visitors took the game to City in the first half, although they did have a let-off when Tim Krul palmed away a De Bruyne free-kick and Fernando twice failed to bundle the ball in.
City looked vulnerable out wide and Newcastle's 18th-minute opener came as they cut the hosts open down the left. Chancel Mbemba's initial cross was half-cleared by Eliaquim Mangala but Georginio Wijnaldum quickly returned the ball and Mitrovic headed in from six yards.
Mitrovic spurned a great chance to double the lead as he raced onto a Moussa Sissoko through-ball only to shoot straight at Joe Hart.
Newcastle boss Steve McClaren reacted by putting his head in his hands, as if he knew a great chance might have passed his side by.
But really it might have mattered little, as City pulled one back before the break and then powered away courtesy of Aguero.
Aguero first shot narrowly wide from the edge of the area but then made no mistake three minutes before the interval as thumped in a header after Fernandinho had nodded down David Silva's floated cross.
City then really picked up the pace after the break and Aguero struck again as he took a Silva pass in his stride and beat Krul with aid of a deflection off Yoan Gouffran.
He completed his treble just a minute later - his third goal in the space of just eight minutes' playing time - with a classy finish, delicately chipped over the advancing Krul from a near-perfect De Bruyne pass.
From a position of strength just before break, Newcastle were rocking and their capitulation continued.
De Bruyne made it 4-1 after 52 minutes by lobbing Krul with a brilliant volley on the turn from a cross from impressive substitute Jesus Navas wide on the right.
Moments later it was 5-1 as Aguero took a touch to wrong-foot Mbemba on the edge of the area from a Silva pass and clinically despatched a low curling shot beyond Krul's reach.
Aguero then became the fifth player in Premier League history to score five goals in a match just after the hour when he turned in a De Bruyne cross from close range.
It was a blistering purple patch from Aguero and it came as some surprise when he was taken off by manager Manuel Pellegrini after 66 minutes, replacing him with Wilfried Bony.
Bony and Kelechi Iheanacho both had late chances but the job had been done by City in comprehensive fashion and Newcastle were probably pleased to escape the field without further damage.
TWEETS OF THE MATCH
"@alanshearer: Very good 1st half from @NUFC"
"@GaryLineker: Aguero has scored 5 goals in less than 20 minutes. Absurdly good!" - These two tweets from Match of the Day duo Alan Shearer and Gary Lineker show how quickly the game changed at the start of the second half.
Joe Hart: 7 (out of 10)
Pablo Zabaleta: 6
Eliaquim Mangala: 6
Nicolas Otamendi: 5
Aleksandar Kolarov: 6
Kevin de Bruyne: 9
David Silva: 9
Raheem Sterling: 5
Sergio Aguero: 10
Jesus Navas: 6
Wilfried Bony: 6
Kelechi Iheanacho: 6
Tim Krul: 5
Daryl Janmaat: 5
Fabricio Coloccini: 5
Chancel Mbemba: 5
Kevin Mbabu: 5
Yoan Gouffran: 5
Vurnon Anita: 5
Georginio Wijnaldum: 5
Moussa Sissoko: 5
Ayoze Perez: 6
Aleksandar Mitrovic: 6
Jamaal Lascelles: 5
Cheick Tiote: 5
Florian Thauvin: 5
Sergio Aguero: Actually took a while to get going, but then gave an emphatic demonstration of his predatory instincts to completely change the complexion of the game, outrageously netting five goals in 20 minutes of playing time, with four efforts coming in the first 17 minutes of the second half.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Joe Hart's save from Aleksandar Mitrovic: Newcastle were a goal up and threatening a second when Mitrovic found himself through. Both he and City's defenders looked surprised no flag had been raised for offside - but Hart was alert to save at Mitrovic's feet and it was all downhill for the visitors thereafter.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
City boss Manuel Pellegrini will undoubtedly have been worried early in the match, with Newcastle 1-0 up and looking both strong at the back and continuing to threaten in attack - his own defence, with Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi at centre-back, was also looking shaky. But with players like Aguero, Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva, the Blues always have the chance to take a match away from their opponents - and with that trio outstanding, that is well and truly what occurred.
It will leave Newcastle manager Steve McClaren distraught for a second week as his struggling side, a week on from the 2-2 draw with Chelsea, once again let points slip from a promising position.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
Although it will be more or less all smiles among City fans, some may well argue Mangala and Otamendi were bailed out by their attacking team-mates. On that front, it was another less-than-convincing display in the absence of injured skipper Vincent Kompany.
WHO'S UP NEXT?
Manchester City v Bournemouth (Barclays Premier League, Saturday October 17)
Newcastle v Norwich (Barclays Premier League, Sunday October 18)