Manchester City delivered another imperious masterclass as Pep Guardiola's team swept past Leicester 5-1 on a brisk night at the Etihad Stadium.
Manchester City put on another imperious masterclass as Pep Guardiola's team swept past Leicester 5-1 on a brisk night at the Etihad Stadium.
Sergio Aguero stole the show with four goals, though Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne was equally as impressive for City, picking up three assists as the Citizens eased 16 points clear of Manchester United in the Premier League title race.
Raheem Sterling opened the scoring after just three minutes, stabbing home De Bruyne's cross from close range. Jamie Vardy equalised for Leicester midway through the first half against the run of play, before Pep Guardiola's side stepped up the pace after the break.
De Bruyne set up Aguero for numbers two and three, before a howler from Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel gifted him the 12th Premier League hat-trick of his career.
The 29-year old completed the scoring in the last minute, rifling an unstoppable effort past Schemeichel to complete a memorable night for the Argentinian.
City made two changes from their draw at Burnley last weekend, as Guardiola recalled new signing Aymeric Laporte to the starting lineup. Leicester meanwhile, named trouble midfielder Riyad Mahrez on the substitutes bench following his reconciliation with the club on Friday.
The Citizens started brightly, and hit their straps within the opening three minutes of the game. De Bruyne was afforded far too much space outside the box, with the Belgian play maker picking out Sterling at the back post with a precise low cross.
The England man tapped home his 15th league goal of the season, firmly putting the memories of last week's horror miss at Burnley behind him.
After controlling the first 20 minutes, City were suddenly rocked as the visitors hit back out of nowhere. Foxes striker Jamie Vardy burst away from De Bruyne's attempted tackle in midfield, before taking on £57m man Laporte.
The 31-year old fired the ball between his legs and past Ederson into the far corner, with the ball taking a slight deflection off the French defender on the way through.
The home side, shell-shocked by Leicester's unexpected equalizer, were soon back on the prowl as they attempted to restore their lead. De Bruyne forced a smart save at his near post from Schmeichel, before Sterling rounded the Danish goalkeeper, only to see his shot from a narrow angle blocked by Aleksandar Dragovic.
Leicester made a change at half-time, bringing on Danny Simpson in a change of shape intent on disrupting the predictable style of the game. Claude Puel's proposed tactical masterstroke did not pay off though, as his side dozed off again at the start of the second half to give City the lead once more.
De Bruyne was again afforded the luxury of space, combining with Ilkay Gundogan, before sweeping another low cross along the six yard line to Aguero, who completed the simple job of firing past Schmeichel into the gaping net.
It was three not long after, with De Bruyne making it a hat-trick of assists on the night. The Belgian picked up the ball on the right-hand side, slipping the ball through to Aguero, whose fierce shot was too strong for Schmeichel to keep out at the near post.
The Foxes responded by bringing on Mahrez, and former City striker Kelechi Iheanacho to try and change the tempo of the game, but in truth the game was already long beyond Leicester.
Bernardo Silva curled an effort just wide of the post, before Schmeichel's ghastly error handed Aguero his third goal on a silver platter. Attempting a simple pass out from Harry Maguire's back pass, the Dane succeeded in only passing straight to Aguero, and he lofted the ball over his head with ease to seal his hat-trick.
Aguero wasn't done there however, with the striker rocketing a short off the underside of the bar to complete the scoring in impressive fashion.