(Reuters) - Free-scoring Manchester City turned on the style after a difficult start to the game to thrash Crystal Palace 5-0 on Saturday, taking their tally to 16 goals in their last three Premier League games.
But while City are scoring for fun, Palace can’t buy a goal -- Saturday’s thrashing set a new English league record of six successive games without a win or goal at the start of a season.
Palace had the better of the action for much of the first half, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek twice going close to breaking the deadlock, but Leroy Sane’s well-taken goal on the stroke of halftime gave City momentum going into the break.
After the interval, it was all City, and it was not long before they had their second, with Sane turning provider this time for Raheem Sterling to slot home six minutes after the interval.
Sterling then tapped home his second -- and City’s third -- eight minutes later, Sergio Aguero netted 11 minutes from fulltime, and Fabian Delph’s thunderbolt at the death added the finishing gloss to a result which ensures City stay top of the table, on goal difference, above rivals Manchester United.
Mamadou Sakho almost gifted City the lead as early as the seventh minute, and was fortunate to see his glanced header towards his own goal come out off the post.
However, Palace grew into the match, and almost took the lead themselves in the 19th minute, but Loftus-Cheek’s effort thundered against the post.
The same man really should have found the net in the 28th minute, but missed his kick with the goal at his mercy.
That profligacy proved costly, as Sane and David Silva combined to devastating effect, with the former brilliantly chipping the ball over the head of Scott Dann before slotting home.
“We started well, in the first five or 10 minutes, but after that we were not good,” manager Pep Guardiola said after the match. “We did not move the ball well, but in the second half we were at our level.”
After the break Sterling soon had his fourth of the season after great work from Sane to lay the ball across for the England forward, before netting another shortly after, Aguero this time providing the assist.
Aguero ensured he didn’t miss out on the scoring, with Sane returning the favour to find the head of the Argentine, who found the net with ease.
City saved the best for last, with Delph’s superb curling effort from distance finding the top corner to complete another miserable afternoon for Palace.
Reporting by Pete Hall; Editing by Toby Davis, Neville Dalton