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Manchester City star Sergio Aguero secures the triple crown in battering of Chelsea

Cracker: Aguero fires home the first of his three goals from outside the box PICTURE: GETTY

SERGIO AGUERO hit a record-equalling hat-trick as Manchester City powered back to the top of the Premier League by thrashing Chelsea.

The prolific Argentinian joined Alan Shearer on 11 top-flight trebles as the champions returned to their ruthless best in a one-sided encounter at the Etihad Stadium.

Most of the damage came in a whirlwind opening 25 minutes, with Aguero hitting his first two of the afternoon between strikes from Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan.

That established Aguero as City’s record league goalscorer, surpassing the 158 goals of Eric Brook and Tommy Johnson, and he later extended his tally to 160 by completing his treble from the spot.

Sterling put the seal on the rout by adding his second ten minutes from time.

Aguero also missed a sitter from two yards and headed against the crossbar on a dismal afternoon for Chelsea, whose manager Maurizio Sarri walked straight down the tunnel at full-time without shaking City boss Pep Guardiola’s hand.

The loss left the Blues outside the Champions League places as the pressure continues to mount on the Italian.

It was Chelsea’s heaviest loss since a 7-0 rout at Nottingham Forest in 1991 as Aguero claimed his 15th hat-trick for the club in all competitions.

He swiftly put behind him his shocking early miss, which he blamed on the presence of Blues keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Guardiola said: ‘He said to me he saw Kepa coming quick to close the space and he wanted to be precise, close to the post. That way he missed.

‘I told him not to do it again but, after, his reaction was a little bit better! He made an incredible goal.

‘It was not easy because Chelsea demanded a lot and we defended deeper, like never before, because they have the quality to find spaces.

‘Six goals against Chelsea is not easy and we are so pleased for this week.

‘Now we can have two days off and prepare for Newport and the Carabao Cup final (also against Chelsea).’