LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester City thumped Watford 6-0 to move top of the Premier League on Saturday as Crystal Palace suffered their fifth successive loss in a 1-0 defeat by Southampton.
With joint leaders Manchester United playing on Sunday, along with Chelsea, City took their opportunity to lay down a title marker with another attacking masterclass and go three points clear of their neighbours at the summit.
Sergio Aguero scored his 10th City hat-trick, with strike partner Gabriel Jesus, Nicolas Otamendi and Raheem Sterling also netting against previously unbeaten Watford as City, who beat Liverpool 5-0 and Feyenoord 4-0 this week, romped home.
Aguero has now scored 175 goals for City and is closing in on the club’s all-time record of 177, set by Eric Brook between 1928 and 1940.
“I was lucky to manage Barcelona with many outstanding performances but this week has been a lot of goals,” said manager Pep Guardiola.
“We have found our game, we can make short passes and we have a lot of energy from our fullbacks,” added the Spaniard whose side had 28 shots on goal and inflicted Watford’s heaviest top-flight league defeat.
Former England manager Roy Hodgson would have loved to call on some of that firepower at Selhurst Park as he began his latest job at Crystal Palace, who look serious candidates for relegation after suffering the worst start to a season by any side in English football’s top-flight history.
Steven Davis scored the only goal of the game after six minutes and Southampton, for whom Virgil van Dijk came on as a substitute to play his first game in eight months, survived the odd second-half scare to take all three points.
“We didn’t deserve a fairytale ending,” Hodgson said. “We didn’t play well enough. After the goal you could see the nerves and the anxiety.”
It was hardly much better for Liverpool who completed a disappointing week by drawing 1-1 with Burnley at Anfield. The visitors remained unbeaten away from home in the Premier League this season after a win at Chelsea and a draw at Tottenham Hotspur.
Even Philippe Coutinho’s first start could not secure the points for Liverpool, who trailed to a Scott Arfield goal before Mohamed Salah equalised with his fifth of the season.
Newcastle United posted their third successive win, 2-1 over Stoke City, to cheer Rafa Benitez on his return to the dugout after ill health. For the second week running, Jamaal Lascelles scored the winner to justify the expected award of a new five-year contract at the club.
Newcastle are fourth, two places and one point above fellow promoted side Huddersfield Town, who drew 1-1 with Leicester City.
Jamie Vardy’s second-half penalty earned the visitors a point after Laurent Depoitre had given Huddersfield the lead.
West Ham United drew 0-0 with West Bromwich Albion in a game memorable only for Gareth Barry’s record-equalling 632nd Premier League appearance for the home side at The Hawthorns.
In Saturday’s late kickoff, suggestions that Tottenham Hotspur had cracked their home curse after their midweek Champions League victory over Borussia Dortmund proved shortlived.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side were held 0-0 by Swansea City, the third successive time Wembley’s new tenants have failed to win at home in the league this season.
Editing by Ed Osmond and Clare Fallon