Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick in Manchester City’s 6-1 rout of Huddersfield Town on Sunday before the champions’ neighbours Manchester United suffered a limp 3-2 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion that left Paul Pogba questioning his team’s attitude.
Where Pep Guardiola’s City again dazzled against the only side to stop them scoring at the Etihad Stadium in the league last season, United produced a tepid, defensively inept display that offered little hope that they will challenge this season.
Sunday’s other game saw Watford beat Burnley 3-1 to leave the Hornets as one of five sides unbeaten on six points at the top of the table.
United manager Jose Mourinho admitted his side were punished for “big mistakes”, with centre halves Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof particularly guilty as Brighton scored three first-half goals — more than United conceded in any Premier League match last season.
Glenn Murray and Shane Duffy scored twice in two minutes and, after Romelu Lukaku hit back, Bailly condeded a needless penalty which Pascal Gross converted via David de Gea’s legs.
Pogba’s injury-time penalty, after Marouane Fellaini was brought down, came too late to matter.
United’s captain was quick to admit that United have problems. “They had more hunger than us. My attitude wasn’t right,” said Pogba, adding that his team mates also approached the game wrong.
“We made mistakes we shouldn’t make. We tried to push and push, we kept trying, but it was a bit too late. It is a big lesson for us. I kept trying but I lost a lot of balls.”
The contrast with City’s performance hours earlier could not have been starker.
Once Aguero broke the deadlock on 25 minutes there was no way back for Huddersfield, and the Argentine followed up with further strikes on 35 and 75 minutes as City made light of the absence of the injured Kevin De Bruyne.
“I never saw him like this since I was here,” said manager Pep Guardiola, praising Aguero after pairing him with Gabriel Jesus up front.
“Sergio is in an incredible condition with the ball and without the ball. Last season, Huddersfield played five at the back. We decided today we would play with two strikers.”
Jesus and David Silva also scored with a late Terence Kongolo own goal meaning Huddersfield have now shipped nine goals in two games.
So complete was City’s domination that it would have been no surprise if they had emulated the 10-1 scoreline they managed against the same opponents in 1987.
Particularly impressive was the range of attacking options open to Guardiola with almost every player providing a threat on goal.
Unbeaten Watford are alongside City as joint leaders after an eye-catching win at Burnley, who have gone seven league games without a win, following early second half strikes from captain Troy Deeney and Will Hughes.
Watford had been winless in their past 12 away games and had last netted away from Vicarage Road in January.
Former Burnley forward Andre Gray had opened the scoring with James Tarkowski replying early in the game.
“It is important the amount of goals, but the quality as well,” said Watford’s Spanish manager Javi Gracia.
“Will Hughes scored an outstanding goal, I am happy for all of them.”
Burnley manager Sean Dyche accepted his side had handed the game to Watford after the interval.
“We gave the game to the opposition,” he said.