Guardiola hails Sterling after 100th Premier League goal
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It was the Manchester City of old – a game and performance that made you wonder where this team has been hiding. Pep Guardiola’s rampant, inventive and clinical side are hitting their groove just at the right time heading into the crunch festive period, just as they did last season.
What followed last term was a one-horse Premier League race as City stormed to snatch back their crown from first-time winners Liverpool after a shaky start to the campaign – and this time around, they’re looking like champions-elect once again.
Guardiola’s men put a toothless Leeds to the sword following a ruthless, swashbuckling attacking display as they hammered the travelling Whites 7-0 tonight at the Etihad Stadium.
While Leeds were well off the pace and clearly sapped of all energy, it must not be forgotten that they pushed Chelsea all the way just three days ago when they were beaten 3-2 by the Blues in added time at Stamford Bridge.
This was a clear and ominous message from City and statement of intent to their fellow title rivals – better us if you can.
They made it clear they meant business right from the get-go when Phil Foden squeezed home a slightly fortunate opener after Stuart Dallas failed to clear off the line.
It was 2-0 just moments later when Jack Grealish finally ended his dry patch in front of goal, much to the joy of the City faithful.
Kevin De Bruyne then finished brilliantly on his left foot, a goal that was richly deserved after the Belgian stamped his class and authority all over the game.
The half-time whistle then came just at the right time for Leeds, who needed a breather after defending wave after wave of City attack.
This had already become about damage limitation but things didn’t get much better after the interval as Riyad Mahrez got in on the act just four minutes after the restart.
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De Bruyne then got his second of the night, netting by far the best goal of the evening when he belted home from outside the area to Guardiola’s delight.
His manager smiled on from the sidelines as the City captain finally looked back to his best following his struggles with rhythm and injuries.
It would still get worse though for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
John Stones and Nathan Ake were also on target as City inflicted Leeds’ biggest-ever defeat of the Premier League era.
They are now four points clear at the top of the table, a direct message to both Liverpool and Chelsea who will attempt to muster some kind of response when they play Newcastle and Everton respectively in the coming days.
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