Manchester City thump Arsenal to return to Premier League contention

Sergio Aguero of Manchester City (right) celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Arsenal FC at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.  Aguero has scored 219 career goals for City, a team record.

Story highlights

  • City defeat Arsenal 3-1
  • Aguero scores 10th career hat-trick

(CNN)Arriving at Manchester on Sunday, Arsenal manager Unai Emery was eager to end his 11-game winless streak against Pep Guardiola that stretched back to their days in La Liga.

Just 48 seconds after the opening whistle, it was clear Emery's first win against the Spaniard would have to wait another day.
    Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero continued his assault against Arsenal, scoring a hat trick to lift his career goal tally to 11 against the north London side.
    The opener arrived courtesy of sloppy Arsenal defending, allowing Aymeric Laporte to feed a diving Aguero within the first minute of play.
    Arsenal retaliated with a clever header from Laurent Koscielny off a set piece in the 11th minute -- the first time City conceded that early in a Premier League match in over a year, according to data providers Opta.
    Aguero came back, however, scoring an easy tip-in off an assist from Raheem Sterling just before halftime. He was lucky to be awarded a third goal in the 60th minute, as replays showed the ball deflecting off the Argentine's left arm before inching over the goal line to seal the final score at 3-1.
    Denis Suarez, the former Manchester City academy player on loan from Barcelona, made his Arsenal debut against his old team as a second-half substitute, but had little impact. Mesut Ozil once again did not get on the pitch for Arsenal, with the German's future at the club surely in doubt.
    Defending league champions City bounced back from a shocking loss at Newcastle on Tuesday. They sit just two points behind leaders Liverpool, who play Monday night at West Ham.
    "The important thing is that we realize what we have to do to win games," Guardiola said to Sky Sports after the match. "We are a good team when we go ... the full 90 minutes. When we are not in that rhythm and we go a bit slower, we are not a good team."
    Arsenal drop to sixth place, one point behind Manchester United in a tight battle for top European play next season.

    United on a roll

    Earlier on Sunday Manchester United narrowly defeated Leicester City 1-0 at King Power Stadium behind a ninth-minute goal from Marcus Rashford.
    The 21-year-old was making his 100th Premier League appearance for the club, and scored off an assist from Paul Pogba.
    "Time and time again he provides opportunities for the team, that's what we want from him. If we can get him free as much as we can, then he can make these passes all day long," Rashford said of Pogba, who appears rejuvenated since parting ways with former United manager Jose Mourinho.
    Meanwhile, interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is making a strong case for a permanent role in charge.
    The ex-United striker has won nine out of 10 matches in all competitions since taking over, and righted a ship that seemed lost at sea earlier this season
    One player who remains a conundrum for United is Alexis Sanchez, reportedly the highest-paid player in the Premier League at $21.5 million per season.
    The Chilean started his first league match since November, but made little impact before his substitution in the 67th minute for Anthony Martial.
    Sanchez has scored just two goals in all competitions this season, and appears a shadow of the player he was in his three plus seasons at Arsenal, where he scored 80 goals.
    Alexis Sanchez made his first Premier League start since November on Sunday. The Manchester United midfielder was substituted in the 67th minute for Anthony Martial.

    Saturday action

    Chelsea wasted no time on Saturday showing off their new signee. Gonzalo Higuain scored two goals in a 5-0 Chelsea drubbing of last-place Huddersfield.
    The experienced Argentine striker, arriving courtesy of a Juventus loan, was making his third outing for the club that reunited him with his former Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri.
    Elsewhere in Europe, Barcelona came back from a surprise two goal deficit at home to Valencia to draw 2-2 behind two Lionel Messi goals. The La Liga leaders face rivals Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semifinal first leg on Wednesday.
      Italian Serie A leaders Juventus also came back to force a draw, with a 3-3 result against Parma. Cristiano Ronaldo scored two comeback goals to take his league-leading tally to 17.
      It was just the third time this season that unbeaten Juventus dropped points to an opponent. The Turin side are chasing an eighth-consecutive Serie A title.