Jesus Navas’s hat-trick guides Man City to 6-0 over Spurs
Manchester (United Kingdom): Manchester City reaffirmed their Premier League title credentials in stunning fashion with a sensational 6-0 demolition of fellow championship contenders Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Jesus Navas exploited a blunder from Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to give City the lead after just 14 seconds, with a Sandro own goal and a Sergio Aguero strike putting Manuel Pellegrini`s side 3-0 up at half-time.
Aguero and Alvaro Negredo struck early in the second half before Navas added a sixth in injury time to complete a memorable victory that sent the 2012 champions into the top four, six points below leaders Arsenal.
Beaten 1-0 at Sunderland in their previous outing, City once again looked more at ease at the Etihad Stadium and have now won all six of their home games to date in the league this season, scoring 26 goals.
Spurs, meanwhile, are without a win in three games, having succumbed to defeat by a six-goal margin for the first time in the league since a 7-1 loss at Newcastle United in December 1996.
However, although they trail Arsenal by eight points in ninth place, they are only two points below City.
City made five changes to the team beaten by Sunderland, with Fernandinho and Navas coming into midfield, while Joe Hart started his fifth successive game on the bench as Costel Pantilimon continued in goal.
Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas made six alterations to his starting line-up, meanwhile, with record signing Erik Lamela making his first league start in place of England star Andros Townsend.
Lloris was making his first club appearance since being concussed in Spurs` 0-0 draw at Everton earlier this month, but his return to the starting XI quickly went awry.
The Frenchman sent a scuffed clearance straight to Aguero and although he saved the Argentine`s subsequent shot, Navas followed up by brilliantly lofting the ball into the top-left corner from wide on the right.
It was the second-fastest goal of the season to date, following Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic`s freak goal after 13 seconds against Southampton three weeks ago.
Lamela had a shot kicked off the line by Martin Demichelis, but City continued to pour forward, with Lloris saving from Aguero and Sandro producing a last-ditch tackle to thwart Samir Nasri.
Two goals in seven minutes took the game beyond Spurs, with Lloris again culpable in the 34th minute.
Another poor kick invited City forward and although Lloris again saved from Aguero, Negredo was on hand to dispatch a volley that was blocked by Younes Kaboul, struck Sandro, and rolled into the net for an own goal.
Four minutes before half-time it was 3-0, Aguero tucking away an inviting low cross from Navas, and the best Spurs could muster in response before the break was a wild effort from Paulinho that flew wide.
Villas-Boas gambled by introducing Emmanuel Adebayor for Lewis Holtby at half-time -- the Togolese striker`s first appearance of the season -- while an injury to Matija Nastasic obliged City to send on Joleon Lescott.
The changes had no effect on the pattern of the game, however, with Yaya Toure squaring for Aguero to tuck away his second goal after five minutes of the second half following a surging run down the inside-left channel.
After Nasri had hit the bar with a miscued cross, Negredo added a fifth, bewitching Michael Dawson with an exquisite back-heel turn before beating Lloris from just inside the area.
Negredo and Toure each threatened to extend City`s lead, set up on both occasions by the industrious Navas, while City old boy Adebayor was prevented from claiming a late consolation by Pantilimon.
The misery was not over for Spurs, however, with Navas running through and beating Lloris in the second minute of stoppage time.