Aguero hat-trick sinks 10-man Blues to boost Man City’s top four hopes
Lee Gormley | April 16, 2016
Chelsea 0-3 Manchester City
- Sergio Aguero opens scoring after 33 minutes despite early Chelsea pressure
- Argentine striker adds another goal in second-half
- Thibaut Courtois dismissed for taking down Fernandinho while conceding penalty
- Aguero rounded off his hat-trick from 12 yards
- Sky Blues boost chances of securing Champions League place
Sergio Aguero treble sinks Chelsea
Manchester City boosted their quest for a top four position in the Premier League with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, thanks to a clinical hat-trick from leading marksman Sergio Aguero.
The Argentina international struck on either side of half-time before tucking home a late penalty to hand Manuel Pellegrini’s men a vital three points in their search for a Champions League place for next season, with Kevin De Bruyne being instrumental in the first two goals.
Guus Hiddink’s Blues had shot stopper Thibaut Courtois dismissed with a straight red card after 78 minutes for conceding the spot-kick, as their campaign took another disappointing blow on home soil.
Blues begin brightly at home
With less than three minutes gone at the Bridge, Gary Cahill made a crucial last-ditch tackle in his own penalty area to thwart an early opener from Aguero, after De Bruyne had laid off his teammate perfectly from the right flank.
Only moments later it was Chelsea’s turn to threaten, with Nicolas Otamendi having to make a goal line clearance to deny Pedro Rodriguez from close range after the Argentine had made a defensive error to get mixed up with Joe Hart.
Diego Costa then had the ball in the City net with less than 10 minutes played in London, but the Brazilian-born Spain striker’s neat finish was ruled out for having strayed narrowly offside, though the signs were looking promising for the hosts.
The home side were continuing to dominate proceedings, with Cesc Fabregas and Ruben Loftus-Cheek looking dangerous going forward, while City’s early attacking threat had quickly faded out. This would have been no surprise to Chelsea fans, though, with their team being the only one having not conceded in the opening 15 minutes of a league clash so far this term.
Aguero draws first blood
Willian was beginning to grow into what had become a wide open encounter, with the Brazilian causing problems for Ghanian youngster Baba Rahman on the right wing, while Courtois made two outstanding saves to stop both De Bruyne and Samir Nasri at the other end from one-on-one positions.
Despite their dominance so far, it was City that were crafting the more clear cut chances and De Bruyne provided Argentine frontman Aguero with a great opportunity to open the scoring. The in-form striker did exactly that on 33 minutes, as he cut inside and unleashed a curling effort past Courtois, though it was helped on by a deflection.
Jesus Navas and Pablo Zabaleta were enjoying an encouraging partnership on the flank, as they pegged Pedro and Rahman back deep, while De Bruyne played in Aguero again before half-time for another promising chance, but Cahill was able to clear this time and make sure Chelsea trailed by just one goal at the break.
Chelsea undone by Aguero again
Hiddink’s Blues came flying out of the blocks for the second period, and Pedro gifted Loftus-Cheek with a glorious chance to level proceedings following a strong run on the left wing, easily beating Aleksandar Kolarov, but the young midfielder couldn’t connect fully to dispatch from six yards out.
The visitors had so far failed to get restarted in the second-half but they burst to life with an incredible counter attacking move after 54 minutes to extend their lead to 2-0.
De Bruyne was again the instigator, storming out of defence in possession and finding Nasri on the right of midfield, with the Frenchman then picking out Aguero with a pinpoint through ball before the Argentine frontman smashed in his second past a diving Courtois.
The goalscorer then turned provider after the hour mark, setting up French playmaker Nasri perfectly inside the penalty area, though the incoming midfielder was unable to get the better of a towering Courtois to add a third.
Frustrated Blues edging towards defeat
Zabaleta was walking on thin ice after being previously booked in the clash and Pellegrini made the just call to take him out of the firing line, replacing his right back with Bacary Sagna, while Dutchman Hiddink thrust Kenedy and Bertrand Traore on for Pedro and Willian.
John Obi Mikel was becoming an increasingly frustrated figure in the central areas, as he was warned by referee Mike Dean for a series of rash challenges, before finally being cautioned for chopping down Nasri.
With less than quarter of an hour to go, Courtois was shown a straight red card for taking down a charging Fernandinho in the penalty area, as Asmir Begovic replaced him and was instantly beaten by Aguero, who tucked in the bottom left corner to seal his hat-trick.
Aguero was taken off during the closing stages and he was met by a rapturous applause, as the home fans even showing their appreciation for his impressive outing, as Man City bolstered their chances of a top four position this season (13/2 with Coral to win the Champions League).