Aguero and De Bruyne perfect as Manchester City steamroll Leicester
After a tough first half in which Leicester managed to contain Manchester City for long spells, Pep Guardiola's side showed their ruthlessness after the break to run away with a 5-1 win. Sergio Aguero's four-goal haul will take the headlines, as will Kevin De Bruyne's incredible portfolio of assists, but barring one counter-attack in the first period, the home side got the job done with relative comfort.
The lead at the top of the Premier League table has been extended to 16 points, even if only temporarily, and City came through comfortably in a match with opposition who are notorious for causing them problems on the break. The mini-break Guardiola sent his players on before this fixture seemed to have worked wonders, as the entire team looked refreshed, especially in the latter stages when they've been tiring recently.
There was still a pesky, easily prevented goal that beat Ederson to level the score at half-time. Of course, it was a great finish from Jamie Vardy -- but he wouldn't have had the opportunity to score if Aguero had been more clinical at the other end, Nicolas Otamendi hadn't given possession away cheaply, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan hadn't dived in, and had Aymeric Laporte closed the striker down quicker.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Clearly, Guardiola must have said something good at half-time because City suddenly stopped being so wasteful in possession and the floodgates opened.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Ederson, 8 -- It's easy to forget just how good the goalkeeper is at reading the game. Leicester's biggest threat was the pass over the top and in behind to Vardy and, because of City's No. 1, it was never on. He was off his line quickly several times to win the ball, including one in which he followed it up with a cross-field pass from the left-back position. It was wonderful to watch.
DF Kyle Walker, 8 -- The full-back's pace was crucial in dealing with Leicester's counter-attacking threat and his energy late in the game opened up the chance for Aguero's hat-trick goal. Without his hard work up and down the flank, City might have struggled.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 7 -- Generally, the defender put in a solid performance, but he was angry with himself for gifting the ball to Vardy for the Leicester equaliser. Besides that, he didn't do much wrong.
DF Aymeric Laporte, 7 -- As with his centre-back partner, he was in some way culpable for the Leicester goal as he should have closed Vardy down quicker. The new signing was also fortunate the referee didn't think more of his clash with the striker in the second half, as they went head-to-head after Vardy's late challenge.
DF Oleksandr Zinchenko, 7 -- Once again, the midfielder was solid as a deputy left-back. You'd have thought Guardiola would have left him on the pitch had the visitors not brought Riyad Mahrez into the picture, as Zinchenko was more comfortable with the attacking part of his role.
MF Fernandinho, 8 -- In putting in another excellent-yet-under-the-radar performance, the Brazilian has proved why he's so crucial to City's style of play. Anchoring the midfield, he was able to keep the ball moving forward when needed, but he was also on hand to put out any fires that needed attention, too.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 7 -- There are good signs that the midfielder is looking more at home as he continues to find his feet after his long injury layoff. Although he drifted in and out of the match, when he was on the ball, he used it well and seemed to glide around the pitch to be a useful thorn in the Leicester side.
MF Bernardo Silva, 6 -- After showing a lot of promise in the last few weeks, it was an altogether quieter display from the midfielder. He struggled to get into the game and, while he didn't go hiding, he didn't seem to have the impact his teammates did.
MF Raheem Sterling, 7 -- A goal inside three minutes was just what Sterling needed after his horrible miss at Burnley. He could have had a couple more had he opted to shoot when in good positions, but he was always dangerous, especially when he got into the box.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 10 -- What can be said about the creative midfielder that's not already been said? It was another display of majestic brilliance as he racked up the assists to drive his team on. The Belgian has set the bar so high that some of his wonderful play is now being considered average by City fans. It was a superb evening's work.
FW Sergio Aguero, 10 -- It's funny that there are still question marks over whether Aguero fits into Guardiola's system. If he doesn't, he's got a funny way of showing it, as a four-goal haul showed off his range of finishing once again -- a tap-in, a powerful drive, a chip and a long-ranger belter off the bar. He makes finding the net look easy.
DF Danilo, 6 -- The defender was solid, if not spectacular when replacing Zinchenko on 65 minutes to cover the threat of Mahrez on Leicester's right.
MF Phil Foden, NR -- It was great to see the youngster return from injury as he allowed Fernandinho some rest late on.
DF John Stones, NR -- On for Otamendi, the defender had very little to do in a game that was already won.
David Mooney is ESPN FC's Manchester City blogger. Twitter: @DavidMooney