Sergio Aguero scored his 150th Premier League goal as champions Manchester City powered back to the top of the table by thrashing Southampton 6-1.
Raheem Sterling also struck twice while David Silva and Leroy Sane got on the scoresheet after an early Wesley Hoedt own goal in a one-sided contest at the Etihad Stadium.
The only consolation for Southampton was that a Danny Ings penalty gave them their first goal in six games but, without a win in seven, these are difficult times for their manager Mark Hughes.
City, one of Hughes’ former sides, were rampant and all but wrapped the game up with three goals in the opening 18 minutes. They also hit the woodwork through Sane in a commanding display.
Pep Guardiola’s men needed only six minutes to open the scoring. David Silva and Sane exchanged passes to open up Southampton before the German pulled the ball across goal. He was looking for Sterling but Hoedt got in the way and inadvertently turned in his second own goal of the season.
City doubled their advantage after another six minutes as Sterling carved his way into the area and squared for Aguero to stab home another landmark goal, one that also took him joint-eighth along with Michael Owen in the Premier League’s all-time top scorers’ list.
Southampton could do little to halt City’s charge but Alex McCarthy did well to deny Aguero from a pinpoint Bernardo Silva pass.
City’s inevitable third goal came after 18 minutes as Sterling’s cross found its way to David Silva off Jack Stephens and was smashed into the roof of the net by the Spaniard for his fifth of the season.
Southampton did at least manage to register their presence as Ings earned a penalty after racing through and being clipped by City goalkeeper Ederson. He stepped up to roll home the spot-kick, ending Saints’ barren run and netting the first league goal conceded by City since September 1.
It did little to change the complexion of the game, however, and Southampton had to scramble to deny Aguero, Sterling and Sane shooting opportunities as the hosts teased their opponents with some intricate passing.
Aguero was booked after handling the ball and then bizarrely smashing it into the crowd in frustration and Sterling had a penalty claim dismissed but the flow was only briefly interrupted.
City’s fourth came just before the interval as Aguero kept the ball in play at the byline and picked out Sterling. The England man scuffed his first effort but calmly stroked home at the second attempt after the ball rebounded off Ryan Bertrand.
With a Champions League game on Wednesday and a derby next week, there was little need for City to play at the same intensity after the break. Southampton even had a chance as Ederson spilled a James Ward-Prowse shot but the Brazilian recovered to deny Ings.
Sane, who was causing the Saints all manner of problems, hit the post just after the hour with a fine long-range shot before Aguero played in Sterling to fire home the fifth.
Southampton did have a couple of half-chances as City eased off late on but Sane put further gloss on the result in injury time.