ALL SPORTS Breaking News Soccer Top news

Manchester City 2 West Ham 1: Silva lining lifts patchy showing from leaders

David Silva restored Manchester City’s eight-point advantage at the top of the Premier League as Pep Guardiola’s side recovered from a lethargic first-half showing to see off West Ham 2-1.

The Spain playmaker signed a contract extension at the Etihad Stadium this week and underlined his enduring worth to a club where he sits among the best ever to don the shirt by leaping to volley home Kevin De Bruyne’s chipped cross at the back post seven minutes from time.

It means City have pulled level with Arsenal and Chelsea’s all-time record of 13 consecutive victories in a single Premier League season but their third straight 2-1 win, following Raheem Sterling’s last-gasp heroics against Huddersfield Town and Southampton over the past week, once again showed them to have dropped off the swashbuckling form that typified their early season play.

This is arguably a concern for Guardiola, who saw centre-back Nicolas Otamendi cancel out Angelo Ogbonna’s 44th-minute opener with his third league goal of the season, ahead of a keenly anticipated derby showdown with nearest challengers Manchester United next weekend, although victory at Old Trafford would now see his team take a vice-like grip on the title race.

The Catalan rested Vincent Kompany and Fernandinho on the bench – the influential duo a yellow card away from a Manchester derby suspension – and City offered early encouragement to their opponents by displaying the set-piece vulnerability that has plagued them of late.

Cheikhou Kouyate flicked on a seventh-minute corner at the near post for a stretching Michail Antonio to volley over.

Despite hogging possession, City’s play lacked the tempo and incisiveness of their best work this season, with Adrian – starting due to Joe Hart’s ineligibility against his parent club – making his first save of note when Silva sought the top corner from outside the area.

The Spain playmaker gave the ball away in a dangerous position after 35 minutes and Manuel Lanzini forced Ederson to parry behind unconvincingly at his near post.

It was therefore thoroughly deserved when West Ham led on the stroke of half-time – Aaron Creswell’s excellent delivery from a short corner on the right picking out Ogbonna for a powerful header that Ederson could only palm into the corner.

Guardiola took action at the interval, sending on Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus for his countryman and full-back Danilo, laying his side out in an ambitious 4-2-4 shape – Silva and De Bruyne as the midfield two.

It meant Fabian Delph reverting to left-back but some silky footwork from the England international on the edge of the West Ham area drew a foul from the already-booked Declan Rice and Adrian denied De Bruyne’s rasping strike.

City kept the ball alive from the rebound and Otamendi remained in the West Ham area to turn home after Jesus darted in from the right.

The hosts were still struggling to punch regular holes in the West Ham rearguard, Adrian extending himself slightly theatrically to keep out a Leroy Sane long-ranger after the hour.

Substance surpassed style when the Spanish keeper beat away a Sane strike from closer quarters, the Germany star having burst beyond former City favourite Pablo Zabaleta.

A deflected De Bruyne drive flew into the grasp of a relieved Adrian, who then saved brilliantly from Jesus and Sterling’s recent Midas touch in front of goal deserted him on the rebound.

West Ham briefly gained respite on the break as Antonio charged forward and went for glory, although Ederson was equal to the task – paving the way for Silva to live up to his crowd-favourite status.

There was still time for the accident prone Eliaquim Mangala to present Diafra Sakho with a chance to level but the West Ham substitute fired wide and, despite a vast improvement from their midweek thrashing at Everton, West Ham remain second bottom.

Key Opta facts:

– City’s haul of 43 points from 15 games is a joint top-flight record, level with Tottenham in 1960-61 (converted to three points for a win).
– West Ham’s total of 10 points from 15 games is their lowest ever in the Premier League and worst in the top flight since 1976-77 (nine, converted to three for a win).
– City have won 10 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, more than any other side.
– Since his debut for City in September 2015, Kevin De Bruyne has provided 35 Premier League assists – more than any other in the big five European leagues.
– Gabriel Jesus has been directly involved in 21 goals in his 24 Premier League appearances (15 goals, 6 assists).

ALL SPORTS Breaking News Soccer Top news

Manchester City 2 Southampton 1: Sterling snatches last-gasp winner

Manchester City restored their eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League thanks to a goal in the dying seconds by Raheem Sterling that sealed a dramatic 2-1 home win over Southampton.

A Kevin De Bruyne free-kick, diverted into his own net by Virgil van Dijk, had looked likely to be enough to give Pep Guardiola’s side a 12th league win in a row until Oriol Romeu snatched an equaliser 15 minutes from time.

But Sterling curled home a sublime winner as the game crept into the sixth minute of injury time to maintain the hosts’ charge towards the title.

City battled back from a goal down to beat Huddersfield Town last time out, Sterling also scoring the winner in that clash, and they could easily have found themselves behind in the first half at the Etihad Stadium against a Saints side buoyed by their 4-1 win over Everton.

Wesley Hoedt and Maya Yoshida missed clear opportunities to punish the home side for a sloppy opening period, with goalkeeper Fraser Forster equal to anything City were able to produce.

That was until the 47th minute, when De Bruyne’s goal-bound delivery was deflected in at the near post by Van Dijk, allowing the home fans to breathe a little more easily.

The home side failed to add to the goal and were punished in the closing stages by Romeu’s clinical finish, but Sterling struck to deny Saints a valuable point and frustrate title rivals Manchester United, who had looked set to make up ground on City.

A surprisingly slack start from City should have been punished 14 minutes in, with Hoedt only able to head against the crossbar from inside the six-yard box after Ryan Bertrand’s corner was flicked on by Yoshida.

City broke swiftly and twice tested Forster, with Sterling and Gabriel Jesus denied by the England international, who then made a flying stop to claw away a Fernandinho effort after Mario Lemina was dispossessed in his own half.

Ilkay Gundogan then missed City’s best chance of the half, scuffing a half-volley into the turf and behind for a goal kick after Forster had saved from Sergio Aguero, but the home side continued to look subdued and Yoshida missed a clear opportunity to punish them before the break, prodding an effort over the bar from point-blank range after Van Dijk’s downward header.

Saints were made to rue those misses in the first two minutes of the second half. De Bruyne whipped in a low free-kick from the left of the penalty area and the ball was turned into his own net by Van Dijk, who was under pressure from Aguero.

Jesus was then thwarted by Forster when through one-on-one and the Saints keeper made a flying save to keep out a De Bruyne strike from 25 yards out, with City apparently keen to press their advantage and kill off any hope of a comeback from the visitors.

Aguero missed a free header from another De Bruyne delivery before Van Dijk spurned the chance to equalise, nodding another dangerous corner over the crossbar from six yards out.

However, just as the game looked to be getting away from the visitors, they snatched their equaliser. A deep cross from Bertrand was controlled expertly by substitute Sofiane Boufal and, when he picked out Romeu from the byline, the midfielder made no mistake in smashing high past Ederson.

City poured forward and their pressure told seconds after the allotted five minutes of injury time, Sterling collecting De Bruyne’s pass and bending a stunning strike into the top-left corner from the edge of the area to deal a blow to United and the chasing pack in the title race.

Key Opta Stats:

– Manchester City’s winning run in the Premier League is now at 12 games – the only two teams to go on a longer winning run within a single Premier League season are Chelsea (13 in 2016-17) and Arsenal (13 in 2001-02).
– Southampton have picked up just one point from their last seven Premier League visits to the Etihad Stadium.
– Since his Premier League debut for Manchester City in September 2015, Kevin De Bruyne has had a hand in 51 goals in the competition (17 goals, 34 assists), more than any other midfielder in that time.
– Raheem Sterling has scored the winning goal in the 84th minute or later in four different competitive games for Manchester City this season, including in each of their last three games.

– Sterling has been directly involved in 12 goals in his last 13 competitive appearances for Manchester City (10 goals, two assists).

ALL SPORTS Breaking News Soccer Top news

Manchester City 3 Arsenal 1: Guardiola´s men underpin favourites status as Gunners run ragged

Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus were on target as Manchester City underpinned their status as Premier League title favourites with a dominant 3-1 beating of an outclassed Arsenal.

Belgium international De Bruyne continued a sublime season by beating Petr Cech with a well-placed shot during a first half completely controlled by the home side at the Etihad Stadium.

Aguero, who became City’s all-time club-record goalscorer in the 4-2 Champions League beating of Napoli, then completed a memorable week with City’s second from the penalty spot early in the second half.

Substitute Alexandre Lacazette briefly restored hope for Arsenal, but Jesus – who also came off the bench – ended hope of what would have been an unfair comeback.

It was a more-than-deserved three points for City, whose mesmeric play, lightning speed and swift movement left Arsenal with no reply, and in truth the scoreline could have been worse had Aguero not missed an early chance and Sterling showed more composure in a two-on-one.

City, who had beaten Arsenal just once in nine competitive matches prior to this fixture, have now stretched their unbeaten run to 23 matches and lead the Premier League by eight points from Manchester United, albeit that gap will be cut back down if the Red Devils beat champions Chelsea.

From Arsenal’s perspective, the season may only be in November but a 12-point deficit to City appears insurmountable on this evidence for Arsene Wenger’s men.

Aguero nearly stretched his new club record in just the second minute when he fired wide of the right post at the end of a frightening counter-attack started by a mislaid pass from Alexis Sanchez, who but for some failed last-minute deadline-day deals may have been lining up for City in this fixture.

The visiting goal was living a charmed life as another lightning break saw Aguero slip in Leroy Sane, whose ball across the face of goal needed just a touch from Sterling.

It was with a certain sense of inevitability that City opened the scoring in the 19th minute.

Cech had just saved a De Bruyne snapshot, but possession was quickly regained and the Belgian played a neat one-two with Fernandinho before stroking a left-foot shot into the bottom-right corner for City’s 50th goal in all competitions this season.

Arsenal remained camped in their own half, and had someone gambled on David Silva’s pass across the face of goal or Sterling shown more composure to pick out Sane when two on one then City’s lead would have been doubled.

Chances for the visitors were at a premium, but Aaron Ramsey did test Ederson with a low drive on the stroke of half-time.

But it was normal service resumed early after the restart. Nacho Monreal was caught goalside of Sterling and brought the winger to ground in area, with Aguero converting the resulting spot-kick off the right-hand post.

Ederson nearly gifted Arsenal a route back into the match when he made a hash of a simple clip into the area from Alex Iwobi, but the Gunners did half the arrears in the 65th minute.

Arsenal capitalised on a dip in tempo from City and Ramsey slid in Lacazette on the right of the area where the France striker finished through the legs of Ederson.

The two-goal cushion was almost immediately re-established when Sane’s corner was flicked on by Silva and met by Gabriel Jesus, who was denied by Cech’s stunning point-blank stop.

But the game was put to bed in almost comical fashion. The Arsenal defence stopped in their tracks believing Silva to be offside from a Fernandinho throughball, and the Spaniard had all the time in the world to pick out substitute Jesus to sweep home.

Key Opta Facts:

– Manchester City’s 31 points and a +31 goal difference is the best-ever start to a Premier League season after 11 games.
– Arsenal have registered just one win away to the ‘Big Six’ in the Premier League since the start of 2014/15, drawing seven and losing 10.
– Manchester City’s haul of 52 goals is a record for a PL club after 17 games in all competitions (since 1992-93).
– Since the start of last season, Arsenal have conceded 12 goals from the penalty spot, more than any other Premier League side.
– Sergio Aguero has had a hand in 10 goals in his last five Premier League games (7 goals, 3 assists).
– Petr Cech has saved none of the 13 penalties he has faced with Arsenal in all competitions.

– Gabriel Jesus’ rate of a goal every 89.6 minutes in the Premier League is the best record of any player to score 10+ goals in the competition.

ALL SPORTS Breaking News Soccer Top news

West Brom 2 Manchester City 3: Guardiola´s side restore five-point lead

Manchester City restored their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a 3-2 victory over West Brom on Saturday.

Goals from Leroy Sane, Fernandinho and Raheem Sterling made it eight league wins in a row for Pep Guardiola’s side and kept the title race firmly under their control.

Manchester United had moved to within two points with their 1-0 win over Tottenham earlier in the day but City looked unlikely to concede any ground to their rivals after Sane fired home the opener inside 10 minutes.

The Baggies responded swiftly through Jay Rodriguez but City restored their lead two minutes later via a deflected Fernandinho strike.

Guardiola’s side continued to dominate possession and eventually found the killer third goal with a little over 25 minutes remaining, as substitute Sterling finished a slick move for his seventh goal in eight league games.

Matt Phillips struck a stoppage-time consolation but it could not derail City’s spectacular run ahead of next week’s Champions League trip to Napoli, while West Brom remain just two points outside the bottom three after their 12th defeat to City in a row in the top flight.

City’s early dominance paid dividends, as Sane collected Fernandinho’s pass and forced Allan Nyom to back off towards goal before blasting left-footed past Ben Foster from a tight angle.

The hosts equalised barely three minutes later thanks to an error from Ederson, who found himself stranded from goal as he tried to get to Salomon Rondon’s flick-on and allowed Rodriguez to lift the ball into the net.

The frenetic start continued before a quarter of an hour was played, though. Fernandinho was given time to set himself 20 yards out and his shot took a deflection off the studs of Gareth Barry’s boot before bobbling in off the left-hand post.

City regained their control of proceedings and David Silva should have headed in a third before the break, but he contrived to nod Kevin De Bruyne’s excellent cross over the bar from only six yards out.

West Brom managed less than 25 per cent of the possession in the opening 50 minutes but they continued to carry a threat on the break. Rondon should have done better with a header from close range after the Baggies won back the ball near the City box, and Grzegorz Krychowiak wasted a great chance just after half-time when he nodded Nyom’s deep cross straight at Ederson.

They were misses that came back to haunt the home side. With 64 minutes gone, City produced their best passing move of the match and it ended with Kyle Walker sending in a low cross from the right for Sterling, who had the simple task of tapping home from point-blank range.

The visitors entered cruise control but Nicolas Otamendi could have made life a little difficult in the closing stages, the centre-back just pulling out of a lunging challenge on Jake Livermore that could otherwise have earned him a red card rather than a yellow.

Tony Pulis’ side did snatch a lifeline in injury time thanks to a dreadful error from Otamendi, who chested a cross back towards Ederson only to see Phillips ghost in and poke the ball into the net, but they remain in a precarious position in the table and 18 points adrift of the leaders.

ALL SPORTS Breaking News Soccer Top news

Manchester City v Napoli: The numbers behind Europe´s most lethal attacks

Manchester City and Napoli will lock horns in the Champions League on Tuesday having torn up the record books with their remarkable goalscoring feats over the opening weeks of the season.

Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli are top of Serie A with a 100 per cent record after eight matches, scoring 26 times in the process.

No side has enjoyed such a prolific opening to an Italian top-flight season since 1959-60, while you have to go back to Everton in the 1894-95 campaign for an English side who netted more than City’s 29 over an initial eight-game period.

Sarri described City as “by far the strongest team in Europe at the moment” at his pre-match news conference, while Pep Guardiola also lavished praise on a counterpart very much cut from the same coaching cloth.

But who is leading the charge for these two lethal attacks, who are the main creators and how are they taking opponents apart with such apparent ease? Ahead of a mouth-watering clash, we looked at some Opta data to find out.

Majestic Mertens leads the way

Napoli’s Belgium forward Dries Mertens is the top league goalscorer on either side with seven goals, building on his stunning haul of 28 in 35 matches last season when Sarri’s decision to deploy the 30-year-old in a central attacking role proved a masterstroke.

Mertens’ colleagues in a front three Guardiola hailed as “so dynamic”, Jose Callejon and Lorenzo Insigne, have four and three respectively, while there is a three-way tie at the top of City’s goalscoring charts.

Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling have each scored six times in the Premier League, while Germany winger Leroy Sane has weighed in with four.

Silva service edges maestro De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne’s imperious recent run of form led to Guardiola fielding questions on Monday that mentioned Mertens’ countryman in the same breath as Lionel Messi.

However, De Bruyne is not City’s most prolific provider, with long-serving playmaker David Silva supplying six assists to the ex-Wolfsburg star’s five.

Insigne underlines his all-round value to the Napoli attack with four assists, more than any of his team-mates. Faouzi Ghoulam is next on the Serie A side’s list with three – the same number as Aguero and Sane – while Mertens and Callejon have laid on two apiece.

Grinding the opposition down

The commonality of Guardiola and Sarri favouring a quick, short passing game, allayed to high pressing when out of possession, is illustrated by some parallels when City’s and Napoli’s goals are broken down.

Their relentless approach makes them an exhausting proposition for any opponent and both teams are most prolific after half-time. In top-flight games this season, Napoli and City each have 10 first-half goals against 16 and 19 after the break respectively.

The period between 76 and 90 minutes is comfortably the most fruitful for City, with nine goals, while Guardiola’s men are surprisingly yet to score inside the opening 15 minutes of a Premier League match in 2017-18.

Napoli should try to exploit their status as the faster starters on Tuesday, having netted four times between 0-15 minutes in Serie A.

Penalty box predators

Passing through teams to craft clear openings is another thing both teams do in expert fashion.

It is therefore no surprise to see shots from inside the penalty area accounting for the vast majority of goals.

Fernandinho and De Bruyne might have caught the eye with long-range strikes in recent weeks, but 25 of City’s 29 goals have come from within 18 yards.

Napoli have scored three from outside the box and two headers to City’s four, while their tally is bolstered by four penalties to City’s one.

“Hopefully the spectators in the Etihad and the people who decide to watch us on TV can enjoy it,” Guardiola said at his pre-match news conference.

Irrespective of the result, he is unlikely to be disappointed in this regard due to the healthy numbers he and former banker Sarri have managed to rack up.

ALL SPORTS Breaking News Soccer Top news

Manchester City 7 Stoke City 2: Guardiola´s side run riot to move two clear at the top

Manchester City moved two points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 7-2 thrashing of Stoke City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Manchester United’s 0-0 draw with Liverpool had temporarily lifted them to the summit but City took full advantage of their rivals’ dropped points with a rampant display against a dismal Stoke side.

Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and David Silva had them 3-0 up in less than half an hour as a ragged visiting defence made life easy for Pep Guardiola’s front three.

Stoke did threaten a comeback either side of half-time, with Mame Diouf firing home before his header deflected in off Kyle Walker to make it 3-2, but hope of a shock result did not last long.

Jesus scored his second and Leroy Sane his first from two exceptional passes from Kevin De Bruyne, making his 100th appearance for the club, either side of a stunning strike from Fernandinho.

Guardiola made some changes in the closing stages – although Sergio Aguero, back from a broken rib, stayed on the bench – as City looked to save some energy for next week’s Champions League meeting with Napoli.

The substitutions did little to disrupt City’s rhythm, though, as Bernardo Silva finished in the closing stages to seal a seventh win from eight games that opens up a gap at the top of the table.

Sane should have opened the scoring after seven minutes but instead blasted over the bar from point-blank range, but it did not take City long to strike.

With 17 minutes played, Kyle Walker was allowed time and space inside the penalty area just yards from Jack Butland’s left-hand post, and his cut-back was turned in by Gabriel Jesus.

It was 2-0 barely 90 seconds later. De Bruyne’s fine throughball found Sane, who had been played onside by Erik Pieters, and he unselfishly laid the ball off to Sterling to tap home.

Stoke had scarcely managed any spell of possession before City bagged a third, with David Silva controlling Sterling’s cut-back before prodding past Butland from six yards.

It looked all-too easy for the home side but Stoke at least snatched a lifeline before the break. Xherdan Shaqiri released Jese Rodriguez down the right and he combined well with Diouf, who drilled a shot in off Fabian Delph’s extended leg and beyond Ederson.

Matters become more uncomfortable for the home side less than three minutes after the restart, as Diouf’s header from debutant Thomas Edwards’ curling cross deflected off Walker and into the net, prompting jubilant celebrations in front of the away fans.

But City restored their two-goal advantage eight minutes later. Bruno Martins-Indi was caught dithering in possession and De Bruyne took full advantage, racing down the right before sending in a superb low cross to the unmarked Jesus, who fired high into the net.

Fernandinho then produced the best goal of the match, a thunderous strike from 25 yards out that went in off the crossbar, as Stoke’s defence allowed the Brazilian all the time he needed to set himself and let fly.

Five minutes later and City had their sixth, De Bruyne’s stunning pass picking out Sane’s run into the left of the area, the Germany star side-footing beyond Butland at the near post.

There was time enough for Bernardo Silva to score his first Premier League goal, gathering in Sterling’s pass after Stoke failed to clear before poking a finish into the bottom-right corner, capping another devastating display from City that has given them a boost in the title race.

Key Opta stats:

– Manchester City are the first English top-flight team to score 29 goals in their first eight league games of the season since Everton (30) in 1894-95.
– City scored seven goals in a Premier League game for only the second time. They also won 7-0 vs Norwich in November 2013.
– This was the second time Stoke have shipped seven goals in a Premier League game. They conceded seven versus Chelsea in April 2010.

– Since his City debut in September 2015, Kevin De Bruyne has provided 32 assists in the Premier League, more than any other player.

ALL SPORTS Breaking News Soccer Top news

Chelsea 0 Manchester City 1: De Bruyne stunner sinks champions

Kevin De Bruyne scored the only goal in sublime fashion as Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League with a deserved 1-0 win over champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Pep Guardiola’s side made it eight consecutive wins in all competitions and dominated for long periods against Chelsea, whose limited attacking intent was further compromised by top scorer Alvaro Morata limping off in the 35th minute with an apparent left hamstring injury.

An exemplary showing from the home defence, in which Andreas Christensen was outstanding, meant City struggled for a regular flow of clear-cut chances despite their superiority.

That was until De Bruyne seized the moment, something his game-breaking goal against Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek demonstrated he is increasingly adept at doing.

The Belgium midfielder collected a return pass from Gabriel Jesus in the 67th minute before unleashing an unerring left-footed finish from outside the area.

The result places City ahead of Manchester United at the summit on goal difference, although their advantage in that regard was slashed to one by Jose Mourinho’s men thumping lowly Crystal Palace earlier on Saturday.

Chelsea are fourth, six points off the pace heading into the October international break.

Conte preferred Cesar Azpilicueta to the more attack-minded Victor Moses at right-wing back but the Spain defender was involved when Chelsea crafted the game’s first opening in the third minute.

Azpilicueta played in N’Golo Kante down the right channel and the midfielder’s clipped cross was glanced over by Morata.

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois restarted with a short goalkick in the 12th minute and dallied after receiving possession back. He was fortunate to see a clearance thud into City striker Jesus and go over the crossbar.

City were dominating possession but needed a brave headed clearance from Nicolas Otamendi in the 26th minute as Antonio Rudiger’s cross threatened the near post, and Ederson scrambled to deny Azpilicueta on the follow-up.

The visitors sprung up the other end in slick fashion, only for Raheem Sterling to float a cross too far in front of Jesus and David Silva, who were queuing up to finish.

Silva took matters into his own hands as Courtois thwarted a stinging drive at his near post, before the Spain playmaker saw one of his compatriots in the opposition line-up depart early.

Willian’s introduction in place of Morata meant Chelsea were operating without a recognised striker and City continued to make most of the running in attacking terms – Courtois reacting magnificently to keep out Fernandinho’s 44th-minute header.

Guardiola’s men continued to zip precise passes around after the restart, with the Chelsea defence increasingly well-manned.

Sterling hooked a left-footed volley over in the 54th minute – a rare instance of an attacker finding space inside the home penalty area.

City’s defence switched off and were bailed out by Ederson after the hour passed, the Brazilian denying Eden Hazard on the end of Cesc Fabregas’ cleverly disguised free-kick.

Silva’s decision to take a touch on the end of Sterling’s 66th-minute cutback proved his undoing before he nicked another ball from the England winger away from Jesus’ path.

It fell to De Bruyne to give his fellow playmaker a lesson in how to be clinical when he lashed beyond countryman Courtois.

Conte sent on Michy Batshuayi and Pedro in place of Hazard and Tiemoue Bakayoko to chase an equaliser but it was City who almost embellished a stirring victory when Rudiger headed Jesus’ volley off the line in the 85th minute.

Key Opta stats:

– Chelsea have dropped eight points in four Premier League home games so far in 2017-18; two more than in the whole of 2016-17 (6).
– Manchester City have kept four consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time since September 2015 (six games in that run).
– Chelsea have failed to score in consecutive home league games for the first time since November 2012.
– Chelsea posted a 38% possession figure in this game, their second-lowest in a home Premier League game since 2003/04 (29.6% v Man Utd in April 2015).
– Pep Guardiola enjoyed his first-ever victory against Chelsea in eight games in all competitions (not including shoot-out wins), after previously losing three and drawing four.
– Kevin De Bruyne has been directly involved in 15 goals in his last 17 Premier League appearances (3 goals, 12 assists).
– Nine of De Bruyne’s last 11 goals for Manchester City in all competitions have come from outside the box, including each of the last four.

– Gabriel Jesus has had a hand in 16 goals in his 16 Premier League games, scoring 11 and assisting five.

ALL SPORTS Breaking News Top news

Manchester City 2 Shakhtar Donetsk 0: De Bruyne scores stunner as Aguero misfires

Kevin De Bruyne scored a spectacular goal to open his account for the season and help Manchester City earn a hard-fought 2-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, while Sergio Aguero missed a penalty.

The star midfielder has been a creative force during City’s terrific start to the campaign and he showed his eye for goal has not left him when he rattled the ball into the top-right corner of the net early in the second half following a tricky first 45 minutes for his side.

Shakhtar arrived at the Etihad Stadium unbeaten in nine competitive games and their contingent of Brazilian players made life difficult for City, with Taison, Marlos and Bernard depriving the hosts of the possession they have become accustomed to enjoying this season.

City tightened their grip on the game in the latter stages and Aguero missed the chance to equal Eric Brook’s record of 177 goals for the club when he had a penalty saved by Andriy Pyatov in the 72nd minute, but substitute Raheem Sterling made it 2-0 when he applied a neat finish to a sweeping attacking move.

The result extended City’s winning streak to seven games in all competitions and they are unbeaten in 10 Champions League home fixtures, this latest triumph moving them three points clear at the top of Group F.

Shakhtar resisted City’s early pressure and showed their quality going forward when Brazilian playmaker Taison played in compatriot Fred for a one-on-one with Ederson after 10 minutes, but the striker lost his footing and the chance went begging.

Belgium international De Bruyne threaded two exquisitely weighted passes in behind Shakhtar’s defence midway through the first half, but first Aguero and then Gabriel Jesus were caught offside as they gave chase.

De Bruyne then missed a great chance when Jesus played him in as he made a diagonal run into the box, but the Belgian snatched at his shot and dragged it wide of the near post.

Shakhtar countered and found plenty of space in the final third, allowing Marlos to curl a shot from the edge of the box that Ederson saved at full stretch, diving to his right.

Marlos turned provider five minutes before the break when he curled a free-kick onto the head of Facundo Ferreyra, who aimed a shot narrowly wide before Sane flashed a shot across the face of goal at the other end.

The second half was just three minutes old when a sloppy pass by Marlos allowed De Bruyne to launch the ball forward to David Silva, who reached the edge of the box before squaring it back to De Bruyne, who unleashed an emphatic shot that flew into the net before Pyatov could get across his goal.

Aguero was given the chance to score his landmark goal when Silva chipped a wonderful pass into the box for him to volley, but Pyatov was equal to the shot, parrying it to safety, and Silva had a claim for a penalty waved away after 65 minutes when Ivan Ordets dispossessed him with a heavy challenge.

Kyle Walker released De Bruyne down the right flank three minutes later and his cross presented Sterling with what looked like a straightforward finish, but the England winger put the ball wide as he slid in at close range.

Ordets collided with Leroy Sane after 70 minutes and the referee pointed to the penalty spot, but Aguero’s penalty lacked power and accuracy, leaving Pyatov to palm the ball away from danger.

Fabian Delph, who had an outstanding game at left-back for City, fired an audacious shot just wide before Sterling had a late spot-kick claim turned down, but he got his name on the score-sheet when he side-footed Bernardo Silva’s cross high into the net to seal the victory in the 90th minute.

Key Opta facts:

– Manchester City have won their opening two Champions League group games in a season for the first time.
– No Ukrainian club has ever won an away game in the Champions League against English opposition (W0 D2 L13).
– City are unbeaten in their last 10 Champions League home games (W7 D3 L0), their longest run without a defeat on home soil in the competition.

– Kevin De Bruyne has been directly involved in 12 goals in his last 12 games for Manchester City in all competitions (three goals, nine assists).

ALL SPORTS Breaking News Soccer Top news

Manchester City 5 Crystal Palace 0: Guardiola’s men sink strugglers to go top

Raheem Sterling’s second-half brace and goals from Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero and Fabian Delph gave Manchester City their latest big win.

Free-scoring Manchester City added to Crystal Palace’s mounting misery with a 5-0 win at the Etihad Stadium, a result that sent Pep Guardiola’s men top of the Premier League.

Palace are the only team without a goal in Europe’s five major divisions this season after a sixth straight top-flight defeat, and the scale of the task facing the recently appointed Roy Hodgson is thrown into a stark light by a fixture list that places Manchester United and Chelsea next on their agenda.

Contrary to the final scoreline, Hodgson’s men acquitted themselves well in the first half and should have led through Ruben Loftus-Cheek before a splendid opener from Leroy Sane arrived a minute before half-time.

Raheem Sterling’s quickfire second-half brace put the result beyond any semblance of doubt and an overworked Wayne Hennessey in the Palace goal was unable to keep out Sergio Aguero’s 79th-minute header from Sane’s cross.

The goal moved Aguero to within one strike of Eric Brook’s all-time club scoring record of 177 and an excellent fifth from substitute Fabian Delph extended the goal-difference advantage Guardiola’s side enjoy over Manchester United at the summit to four.

Despite the array of City attacking talent on the field, they almost opened the scoring courtesy of a Palace defender in the seventh minute when Mamadou Sakho headed Kevin De Bruyne’s testing cross against his own post.

Guardiola’s men were not operating with the pleasing fluency of their recent outings but should have led in the 12th minute, with Fernandinho blasting straight at Hennessey after Nicolas Otamendi’s attempt from a right-wing corner dropped to him seven yards out.

Hennessey was operating behind an amply stocked defence, well drilled by Hodgson, whose team nearly led in the 19th minute.

Loftus-Cheek let fly from the edge of the area and his shot clipped a lunging Otamendi before bouncing clear off Ederson’s right-hand post.

The Chelsea loanee then spurned a glorious chance on the end of Andros Townsend’s deflected cross and an uncomfortable period for City was compounded by left-back Benjamin Mendy limping off with a knee injury.

Aguero lifted over left-footed when Sane presented him with the chance to score his 176th goal for the club before the Germany international took matters majestically into his own hands, touching David Silva’s chipped return pass over Scott Dann and slotting home on the half volley.

Sane turned provider six minute into the second period, Silva sliding a pass down the left channel for him to send over a low cross and hand Sterling a simple finish.

The England winger should have doubled his tally when he blasted into the side-netting shortly afterwards and Aguero shot too close to Hennessey at the end of a solo run.

Those two players combined to make it 3-0 before the hour – Aguero knocking De Bruyne’s raking ball back across goal for Sterling to convert.

Palace were rocking and Aguero released Sane into the box, where Hennessey stood firm despite his earlier protection having evaporated.

Guardiola remonstrated extensively after a Sane penalty claim fell on deaf ears with 15 minutes to play, but it was his slumped counterpart in the opposite dugout who could reflect on more genuine reasons for anguish by the time Aguero got in on the act.

Hodgson handed Delph his England debut in 2014 but would rather not have seen a career that has stalled through fitness woes in Manchester dazzlingly spark a minute from time, as he cut inside and looped a right-footed shot into the top corner.

Key Opta facts:

– Crystal Palace are the first side in England’s top four tiers to lose their first six games of the season without scoring.
– Palace are the only team in Europe’s big five divisions yet to score a league goal this season.
– This is Manchester City’s best goal return after six league games (21).
– City are the first side to score 5 or more goals in three consecutive top-flight games in the same season since Blackburn in 1958-59.
(Dom Farrell)