Manchester City 6 Huddersfield Town 1
Kevin De Bruyne’s convalescence from his serious knee injury began with him witnessing another mesmeric Manchester City performance. On days likes these, the sense is Pep Guardiola’s finely tuned team can do precisely what they wish, when they wish: on Sunday it was to trounce Huddersfield Town 6-1.
A display of near-perfection featured the superb Benjamin Mendy and was crowned by Sergio Agüero's hat-trick – the lethal marksman now has 14 goals in his last eight home league appearances.
Guardiola's XI had caused some head-scratching regarding the formation. For Kyle Walker, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling, who were all replacements, Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Gabriel Jesus were selected. With John Stones, Aymeric Laporte and Mendy the other chosen recognised defenders this suggested a back three and so it proved.
David Wagner also made three changes from Town's opening weekend defeat at Chelsea. In came Jon Gorenc Stankovic, Tommy Smith and Abdelhamid Sabiri as out went Mathias Jørgensen, Jonathan Hogg and Aaron Mooy in Town's 3-5-1-1.
Twenty three minutes had passed before Wagner’s men threatened. Steve Mounie passed the ball back to Stankovic but his 20-yard attempt ballooned over.
There was no such direction issue for Ederson from the resulting goal-kick. The Brazilian struck a sweet 70-yard pass to the roving Agüero and, as Ben Hamer advanced, he found himself the victim of a cute lob and that was 1-0.
Now Gabriel Jesus, partnering Agüero, was about to join the Argentinean on the scoresheet.
Once more Mendy drove at Huddersfield. When a pass to Jesus was returned the ball ricocheted from the Frenchman back to No33 and he made it 2-0.
Mendy was also the man behind City’s third. This time he sent in a skidding cross that Hamer spilled and there was Agüero to add his second and the champions’ third.
This came on 35 minutes, which meant that three strikes in a 10-minute burst had surely put Town in damage limitation territory. Except, no: City switched off from a Philip Billing header, Mounie headed on, and Stankovic got ahead of Stones to force home.
Soon after the break, though, David Silva restored the three-goal cushion. A cross-field run from the excellent Agüero ended in him winning a free-kick. Silva danced forward and bent a 20-yard peach past Hamer.
At just past the hour mark Mahrez replaced the impressive Silva for his home debut. This illustrated the depth of Guardiola's squad, particularly as Sterling, Leroy Sané, Walker, Nicolás Otamendi and Phil Foden remained on the bench.
City continued to press to the end. Agüero drew another stop from Hamer. Jesus – not for a first time – raced back to dispossess and initiate another attack, while Mahrez flew along the right to send Town scurrying.
Then came Aguero's hat-trick. Mendy capped his best City display with a ball the striker hit first-time past Hamer and Sané forced City's sixth by forcing the No1 to deflect the ball on to the unfortunate Terence Kongolo and into the net.