Aspirins or Hodgson's headache

Premier League
Manchester City 5
Crystal Palace 0

IT'S going to take something special to stop Manchester City from marching on towards the Premier League title.

It may only be September, but Pep Guardiola's men look invincible right now, with this win maintaining City's position at the top of the league, on goal difference, ahead of Manchester United.

That they've scored 16 goals in their three last league fans tells its own story, too.

A double from Raheem Sterling and one each from Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero and Fabian Delph saw the Blues sweep Crystal Palace aside in this game.

It's three in two games for Sane, who started in place of the Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus, as well as two assists in this match.

It goes to show the strength in depth Guardiola has at his disposal.

Palace, in Roy Hodgson's second league match in charge, have now lost their opening six games, as well as not scoring in any of them, a new record.

An uninspiring appointment for Frank De Boer, who was sacked after just four games, it is going to be a tough task - even at this stage of the season - for the ex-England manager to keep his boyhood club up.

As expected, Hodgson, who left out captain Jason Puncheon, set his team up defensively, yet they nearly went behind in the seventh minute.

After sublime work from Kevin De Bruyne, he launched the ball in the 18-yard box, only for Palace centre-half Mamadou Sakho to head it on to his own post.

Then De Bruyne, arguably the best midfielder in the country at the moment, side-footed Luka Milivojevic and laid the ball off for Sane, but the German hit his shot wide.

City kept coming at the Londoners and so nearly went ahead when Fernandinho's effort was saved well by Palace goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, before Aguero scooped the rebound over the crossbar.

The home side may well have been left to rue their missed chances on the half-hour mark when Reuben Loftus-Cheek outpaced John Stones and launched a thunderous effort, which hit the post.

Then the on-loan Chelsea midfielder met Andros Townsend's ball from the right, but again saw his shot go wide.

City eventually went ahead on the stroke of half-time.

Sane, who scored twice in the Carabao Cup win at West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday night,

received the ball from David Silva, lifted it over Scott Dann and fired the ball past Hennessey. Sane turned provider five minutes into the second-half.

He sped down the left and passed it to the oncoming Sterling, who hit it beyond Hennessey and into the back of the net.

A minute later and Sterling was on the scoresheet again.

Aguero cushioned the ball beautifully into his path and Sterling made no mistake.

City made it four when Sane's exquisite, deep ball from the left was met by Aguero, who headed home.

The mercurial Argentine needs only two more strikes to become the club's all-time leading goalscorer.

There was still time for City, who are now unbeaten in 25 games at the Etihad, to add another - and it came from an unlikely source in substitute Fabian Delph.

The midfielder received the ball on the edge of the area and smashed it into the top corner, which a beleaguered Hennessey - who started his career at City - could do nothing about.

Despite the result, Guardiola wasn't totally pleased with his team's performance.

He said: "Until the last 10 minutes of the first-half, we didn't have the right tempo and and we didn't attack the ball quick enough.

"The last 10 minutes of the first-half we had the right tempo. Andre moved the ball well.

"In the second-half, we won the duels and we found different ways of attacking.

"Hopefully we can learn today what we haven't done well."

Hodgson said there were few positives. He explained: "Admittedly, we were playing against a top-quality game and they showed the full register of their technical ability.

"We wanted at least to repeat what we did in the first-half where we kept them at bay for 44 minutes, but that didn't happen in the second-half and we have to be disappointed, but accept that we have been given a headache.

"Now we have to find the aspirins which will ease that and we will keep working.

"I knew when I came to the club there'd be a lot of work to do and hopefully we will see some light at the end of the tunnel."

Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Stones (Delph, 69), Otamendi, Mendy (Danilo, 28); Fernandinho; D Silva, De Bruyne, Sterling (B Silva, 60), Sane; Aguero.

Substitutes not used: Bravo, Mangala, Toure and Jesus.

Crystal Palace: Hennessey; Fosu-Mensah, Dann, Sakho, van Aanholt; Milivojevic, Cabaye (Puncheon, 56), Loftus-Cheek, Schlupp, Townsend; Benteke (Sako, 71).

Substitutes not used: Speroni, Ward, Tomkins, Riedewald and McArthur.

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