Five-star Aguero piles on the agony for defiant McClaren
Manchester City 6 Newcastle Utd 1
Reach for any superlative you like, but it would be hard to do justice to the sheer brutal magnificence of Sergio Aguero's record-setting five-goal demolition of luckless Newcastle that fired Manchester City back to the top of the table in stunning style.
Aguero (pictured below) joined Andrew Cole, Alan Shearer, Dimitar Berbatov and Jermain Defoe as the only players to hit five goals in a Premier League match, but his haul goes top of the table as the fastest scored after the Argentinian delivered it in a devastating 20-minute spell that spanned half-time and transformed the match.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini, who revealed that Aguero had treatment on a hamstring complaint at the interval, hailed his lethal marksman.
"Sergio is always a player who makes a difference. He demonstrates every year what he can do. Last year he was the leading scorer in the Premier League, he has decided the title in three minutes. He does so many important things," he said.
Aguero's striking masterclass began just before the interval, hauling City back into a game in which they were struggling to subdue Newcastle, and continued with renewed and devastating force after the break.
As if to spare Newcastle further humiliation, but actually with one eye on Aguero's fitness, Pellegrini substituted him soon after his fifth strike.
And to think, City's main goal-getter had been experiencing a comparatively lean time, having scored just three times this season before Saturday, with two of them from penalties.
Newcastle, who had the temerity to take a surprise early lead through Aleksandar Mitrovic and hang on within sight of the interval, ultimately had no answer to Aguero, who, assisted by creative abilities of David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, carved them apart.
Aguero started the rout just as half-time approached, just as Newcastle, clinging to their early lead, were beginning to frustrate their hosts.
The instigator was Silva, spinning inside the Newcastle penalty area before dropping in a cross just behind the defence for Fernandinho to set up Aguero, who pulled City level with a neat header.
Suddenly Newcastle were backing off as City tore forward, and De Bruyne and Silva opened them up again in the 49th minute, Aguero finishing with a crisp shot that took a deflection.
Within 73 seconds, Aguero had struck again with a delightfully scooped finish after being supplied by De Bruyne, who then gate-crashed the Argentinian's goal party in the 54th minute with a sweet volley from substitute Jesus Navas' pass.
By now all semblance of Newcastle resistance had gone and Aguero had all the time in the world to score his fourth, and City's fifth, with a fierce low drive from the edge of the penalty area after being picked out by Silva on the hour.
He heaped further humiliation on the Tynesiders, turning in De Bruyne's cross from close range two minutes later.
Three minutes after that, he departed to a rocking ovation, his and City's job done in the most devastating manner.
Newcastle have now set an unwanted record of their own, having opened a season without a league win in eight attempts for the first time since 1898-99.
Defiant manager Steve McClaren insisted afterwards: "That first half, we really shook City. We scored the first goal and a second goal which was disallowed was onside. We had other opportunities and it might have been a different story."
McClaren asked to be judged after his 10th game in charge of Newcastle and already they are reaching for the black cap.
Game 10 is the derby against Sunderland - the one team in the Premier League who are arguably more incompetent than they are.
By then, Sunderland will have a new manager. Should Newcastle lose the derby - and they have failed to win any of the last seven - then they, too, are likely to be looking for a new leader. (© Daily Telegraph, London)