Sergio Aguero continued his rich vein of scoring form with a clinical hat-trick as Manchester City overcame Chelsea, who finished the match with 10 men following Thibaut Courtois' dismissal, 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Aguero has now scored 13 goals in his last 12 top-flight appearances, and his display helped City temporarily move up to third position, though Arsenal would overtake them if they beat Crystal Palace on Sunday.
The Argentina international was dangerous from the early stages, with he and Pedro having efforts blocked by last-ditch defending inside the opening 10 minutes.
Kevin De Bruyne was a constant menace on his first return to the club who sold him in 2014, playing a key role in Aguero's first two goals, which both came from swift counter-attacking moves.
The striker was afforded the chance to complete his hat-trick when Courtois was shown a red card for felling Fernandinho inside the box, and, despite missing from the spot in the win over Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, Aguero made no mistake this time.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini gained a degree of revenge for the 5-1 FA Cup defeat to Chelsea in February - a match in which he fielded a severely weakened team, while Guus Hiddink's men have now won just one of their last seven matches in all competitions
Pellegrini welcomed Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri back into the starting line-up but David Silva was afforded a rest due to an ongoing ankle injury, while Courtois, Gary Cahill and Willian all returned for Chelsea.
Cahill was not eased into his return from a hip injury as he was forced into a vital block to stop Aguero converting a fourth-minute cutback from De Bruyne.
Chelsea responded well, with Diego Costa, showing no signs of rustiness after a three-game absence due to suspension, latching onto a long ball following a lapse in concentration from Nicolas Otamendi with just seven minutes played.
The striker held off the onrushing Joe Hart before teeing up Pedro, whose strike was cleared off the line by Otamendi, making up for his initial error.
In a very open game, Ruben Loftus-Cheek had a cross-goal drive pushed behind by Hart, although the officials incorrectly awarded a goal-kick, before Chelsea came under an onslaught of City pressure.
The hosts had to rely on Courtois to keep out De Bruyne and Nasri, but the goalkeeper was eventually beaten with 33 minutes played.
De Bruyne led a rapid counter-attack down the right before sending a pass inside to Aguero, whose 20-yard strike took a deflection off Cahill on its way into the bottom-right corner.
Chelsea mounted a strong start to the second half but they fell two behind in the 54th minute when De Bruyne led a charge from inside his own half, and Nasri used the Belgian's offload to thread through Aguero for an emphatic finish.
Nasri was replaced by Fabian Delph after appearing to sustain an injury with 15 minutes remaining, and City were soon awarded a penalty following Courtois' foul on Fernandinho.
Aguero stepped up to complete his hat-trick, coolly sending substitute goalkeeper Asmir Begovic the wrong way in the 80th minute.
Key Opta stats:
- Guus Hiddink has lost two league games in a row as a club manager for the first time since February 2004 whilst at PSV.
- Aguero has scored 20+ Premier League goals in three of his five seasons at Manchester City (2011/12, 2014/15 and 2015/16).
- He is the fifth player to score 20+ goals in three different seasons – along with Alan Shearer (7), Thierry Henry (5), Ruud van Nistelrooy (4) & Les Ferdinand (3).
- Aguero is the third opposing player to score a hat-trick at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League – the other two were scored by Nwankwo Kanu and Robin van Persie.
- Thibaut Courtois is the sixth goalkeeper in Premier League history to receive two red cards in the same season (Neville Southall in 1992/93, Pavel Srnicek 1994/95, Jussi Jaaskelainen 2001/02, Maik Taylor 2003/04 and Allan McGregor 2013/14).
- This was Chelsea’s heaviest home defeat in the Premier League since losing 3-0 to Sunderland in November 2010.
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