Manchester City have given their outside Premier League title hopes a major boost by seeing off basement boys Aston Villa 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
The first chance for the Citizens came 13 minutes in when Aguero brought down a lofted ball over the top, before cutting inside on his left and forcing Brad Guzan into palming the ball over the bar from close range.
City’s best opening of the first half fell Wilfried Bony’s way, though, as he got in behind the Villa backline only to fire wide with his first-time attempt seven yards from goal.
Aguero’s near miss almost proved to be a turning point in a half dominated by the hosts, as Villa went up the other end and fired in their first shot through Jordan Ayew, which Joe Hart got down well to keep out at full stretch.
It did not take long for the two-time Premier League champions to break down their opponents in the second half, however, as Aguero and Yaya Toure found a way through within the space of five minutes.
Toure was first to pick out the bottom corner, making the most of Aguero’s work on the right before being played in by David Silva five yards out to open the scoring.
Villa then fell apart, with Richards sliding in to clear a cross only for the ball to ricochet off Aguero to gift the forward the easiest of finishes for goal number five in five against the doomed West Midlands outfit
Never one to turn an opening down, the Argentina international soon further extended that impressive record by tucking away at the end of a superb piece of link-up play with Silva, who himself reached a milestone with Premier League assist number 56.
To make matters worse for Villa, now with just the one win in eight league outings, they had to deal with the fresh legs of Raheem Sterling from the bench for the final half an hour.
It took the Englishman just two minutes to make an impact after firing away a shot that Guzan did well to help over the bar, yet there was to be no denying him the second time around as he found the net from five yards out.
A low Jesus Navas cross somehow found its way through the box to a grateful Sterling, who made the most of some terrible defending from the visiting side with goal number four of the match.
Villa were given a reprieve of sorts 18 minutes from time when substitute Kelechi Iheanacho, who scored a hat-trick in the FA Cup meeting between these sides in January, was clipped by Ciaran Clark moments after coming on.
Aguero blasted the spot-kick against the right-hand post, missing out on a hat-trick and allowing Villa to compose themselves at last to see out the remainder of the match with little incident.
City can now look up the table following a three-game losing streak in the league, while Villa’s season of woe continues at the foot of the table.
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