The genuine absurdity of this Manchester City team – and quite what they can achieve – meant one of Pep Guardiola’s more aggressive team talks sprung to mind as the goals rained down on Sunday.
‘If you want to be a top, top, top team,’ he said during a passionate dressing room address. ‘You have to score the f****** goals, guys.’
They scored six against Huddersfield and were resplendent in attack. The scary thought is that it is by no means a stretch to say it should really have been much, much more.
Manchester City beat Huddersfield 6-1 on Sunday but should have easily scored more goals
The trio of hat-trick goalscorers in this fixture 31 years ago, when City beat Huddersfield 10-1 at Maine Road, were on the Etihad pitch before kick-off. Paul Stewart, Tony Adcock and David White must have been worried that their exploits might be surpassed as City blew the Terriers away.
Six flew past the hapless Ben Hamer – some his own fault – and the performance suggested Guardiola’s side are ready to pick up from where they left off in May. A breathless display.
He believes they ought to have found the net more than the 106 occasions they managed to last year. Hard to believe but true all the same.
And the manager will have watched the opening 45 minutes and felt City were by no means at their ruthless best in the penalty area. That in itself is a frightening prospect for those with any sort of aspirations of catching up this term.
Missed chances between the width of the six-yard box – be it a shot or a poor final ball – stood at more than 13. Gabriel Jesus squandered three in the opening five minutes alone, failing to control a bouncing ball, having a shot saved when clean through and failing to convert at the back post.
Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick and Ben Hamer was helpless in the Huddersfield goal
Pep Guardiola thinks City should have scored more than the 106 times they did last season
His attacking options from the bench including Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez
The Brazilian had another two he could not turn in – also scoring the rout’s second goal by slapping a vicious effort beyond Hamer – and later dragged another wide when clean through.
Sergio Aguero, who ended up with a third hat-trick of the calendar year, might have had another couple. Benjamin Mendy’s final touch let him down at the back stick.
Guardiola’s decision to get Aguero and Jesus in the same team, allowing David Silva and Bernardo Silva to pull strings, Mendy to rampage, John Stones to move into midfield, are the sort of tweaks that should dispose of the lesser teams with added ease this time. Let us not forget, Huddersfield left here with a clean sheet in May.
The chances were so frequent that any mishaps did not matter, and the afternoon was an absolute triumph for City, and if the mercilessness steps up another couple of notches that record of 106 goals in a season could yet tumble. On the day, the 10 against Huddersfield in 1888 certainly might well have done.