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Superb Sergio Aguero shows Man City can handle title tension

That’s handy:
Aguero celebrates
the crucial third
which went in off his arm (below)
PICTURES: PA

Man City 3 — 1 Arsenal

SERGIO AGUERO’s hat-trick ripped apart Arsenal as Manchester City ramped up the pressure on Premier League leaders Liverpool.

The Argentina striker opened the scoring after just 46 seconds and netted all three goals from close range.

It was his 14th treble for the club in all competitions as City bounced back from their midweek defeat at Newcastle with a convincing home display.

Arsenal did find a quick equaliser through Laurent Koscielny, but two more from Aguero either side of the break secured a win which put the onus back on Liverpool ahead of their trip to West Ham tonight. Aguero, who struck after 24 seconds at St James’ Park, again scored in the first minute.

Aymeric Laporte, who started at left-back, robbed Alex Iwobi and clipped in a cross which Aguero met with a powerful diving header. Arsenal were under the cosh but then stunned City with an equaliser. From Lucas Torreira’s corner, Nacho Monreal flicked on and Koscielny headed past Ederson.

City regained the lead just before the break with a wonderful move which culminated in Ilkay Gundogan floating a ball into the box for Raheem Sterling. His low volleyed cross left Aguero with a simple tap-in.

The decisive blow came as Aguero completed his hat-trick just after the hour. Sterling delivered a fine low ball from the left and Gunners keeper Bernd Leno could only palm it onto the arm of the sliding Aguero, whose momentum carried it over the line.

Laur breaker: Koscielny nods in to stun City PICTURE: GETTY

Arsenal, who failed to muster a shot in the second half, protested but the goal stood and City sealed the win.

The Gunners are three points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea and slipped behind Manchester United but boss Unai Emery is convinced his side can finish in the top four.

‘After losing 3-1, it’s not easy to say that but I have confidence in the work. We need to be calm,’ he said.

‘They (Manchester City) showed their superiority over the 90 minutes.’