No one expected Manchester City’s first defeat of the season against Liverpool last week to cause some kind of implosion but Sergio Agüero made absolutely certain that didn’t happen with a hat-trick against Newcastle United on Saturday.
Agüero, making his 200th Premier League appearance, took his career goal tally past 350 and has now had a hand in 16 goals against Newcastle (more than any other club) in only 11 appearances in the competition (14 goals, 2 assists).
City’s opener against a highly defensive Newcastle side came after 34 minutes when Agüero got the faintest of headers on Kevin de Bruyne’s teasing cross and the Argentinian doubled the lead from the penalty spot.
Jacob Murphy pulled a goal back for the visitors but Agüero sealed the 11th hat-trick of his City career after Leroy Sane’s incredibly run into the Newcastle penalty area.
The result ensures City remain 12 points clear of second placed Manchester United and only a major collapse can prevent the title heading to the Etihad.
Barring injury Agüero will certainly be in Jorge Sampaoli’s World Cup plans but competition for the remaining centre forward roles is fierce. Lucas Alario served a reminder of his own in the Bundesliga, scoring twice as Bayer Leverkusen won 4-1 away to Hoffenheim to climb into second, still some 13 points adrift of Bayern Munich.
Leverkusen were already two goals to the good thanks to Leon Bailey and Julian Baumgartlinger but Alario made absolutely certain with a brace in the final 20 minutes.
The former River Plate striker’s neat finish made it three and although Adam Szalai pulled a goal back for Hoffenheim, Alario poked in a fourth from close range in stoppage time.
In LaLiga, two more Argentinos were on target. Sevilla produced an excellent display in a 3-0 win over Espanyol and Franco Vázquez got the ball rolling after quarter of an hour, smashing in a rebound after Diego López saved well from Luis Muriel.
And a little later, Valencia’s slim title hopes took a severe blow as Las Palmas secured a come-from-behind 2-1 win.
Santi Mina had headed Valencia in front early but Jonathan Calleri chested the ball down for Jonathan Vieri to equalise before the former Boca striker sealed it from the penalty spot shortly after half time.