LONDON, January 21 (AP): Who needs Alexis Sanchez? That may have been the message Sergio Aguero was trying to deliver as he inspired runaway leader Manchester City to a 3-1 home victory over Newcastle on Saturday.
City pulled out of the race to sign Arsenal striker Sanchez earlier this month, leaving the way clear for Manchester United to seal an expected deal for the highly rated Chile forward in the next few days.
Aguero has broken record after record in his seven years at City and once again underlined his importance to Pep Guardiola’s team by firing a hat trick against Newcastle, a team he scored five against in 2015.
“We’re really happy with the victory,” said Aguero after registering his 11th treble for the club and his second of the season. “We needed it after last week (losing 4-3 to Liverpool). It’s a long season though and we’ve not won anything yet.”
There was a minute’s applause at all the games, and players wore black armbands, as the Premier League paid tribute to former England striker Cyrille Regis, who died last Sunday at the age of 59.
Fifth-placed Tottenham travels to Southampton on Sunday while Liverpool, which occupies fourth spot, visits bottom club Swansea on Monday.
MARTIAL SINKS BURNLEY
Second-placed Manchester United squeezed past Burnley 1-0 at Turf Moor with a 54th-minute goal from Anthony Martial but Jose Mourinho’s side remained 12 points adrift of its cross-town neighbor.
Mourinho said he expected United’s big-money deal for Sanchez to go through soon.
“I expect soon or never,” he said. “I think it’s so close — so close that if it doesn’t happen (soon) it’s not going to happen. I think everybody is giving everything they can and I think they are going to be successful.”
HAZARD DELIGHTS CHELSEA
Turbo-charged London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal warmed up in style for their midweek League Cup showdown by turning on the goal power.
Chelsea ended its recent struggles in front of goal with a 4-0 demolition of Brighton at the Amex Stadium. Man of the match Eden Hazard (2), Willian and Victor Moses were on target as the defending champion climbed to third in the standings with 50 points from 24 games.
Arsenal hosts its capital city rival in a League Cup semifinal second leg on Wednesday after the first game between the two clubs ended goalless earlier this month. Like Chelsea, Arsenal also turned on the goals Saturday, thrashing Crystal Palace 4-1 at The Emirates to remain in sixth place on 42 points.
Nacho Monreal, Alex Iwobi, Laurent Koscielny and Alexandre Lacazette put the game beyond Palace before Luka Milivojevic pulled one back for the visitors.
Former Scotland international Paul Lambert celebrated his first game in charge of Stoke with a 2-0 victory against Huddersfield, thanks to goals from Joe Allen and Mame Biram Diouf. Jamie Vardy, with a penalty, and Riyad Mahrez struck as Leicester beat Watford 2-0, while Everton vs. West Bromwich Albion and West Ham vs. Bournemouth both ended in 1-1 draws.
At the Etihad Stadium, Aguero headed the opening goal in the 34th minute, getting the slightest of touches to a cross from Kevin De Bruyne.
The Argentine made it 2-0 from the penalty spot early in the second half after Raheem Sterling was fouled by Javier Manquillo. Jacob Murphy pulled one back for Newcastle after a mistake by Nicolas Otamendi but Aguero had the final say in the 83rd with a fine turn and shot.
Newcastle was completely outplayed, having only 19 percent of possession as City took their points tally for the season to 65.