Belgium midfielder Kevin De Bruyne produced a phenomenal display as Manchester City overwhelmed Stoke and opened up a two-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
The 26-year-old provided three assists and produced one of the passes of the season that led to the second goal as Pep Guardiola’s men returned from the international break to treat the home support to a stunning performance.
City scored three times in the first period and had 83.5% of the possession in what was arguably the most one-sided Premier League half this season.
Gabriel Jesus was the first to find then net when he nipped in ahead of Mame Biram Diouf to prod home. De Bruyne who provided the assist, then threaded a ‘no-look’ pass into the path of Leroy Sane, who fed Raheem Sterling to slot in.
It was 3-0 by the 27th minute when Spain midfielder David Silva slotted in after more good work from Sterling and Sane.
The only surprise of the first 45 minutes was when Diouf’s deflected shot reduced the deficit.
The home side then received another jolt when the Senegal player’s header came off the leg of Kyle Walker, hit the post and beat Ederson in goal.
Any hopes of a fightback, though, were quashed when Jesus smashed in his second from close range via another beautiful De Bruyne delivery.
Fernandinho then produced the goal of the game when he fired a rocket from 25 yards that whistled past Jack Butland in goal.
Belgian De Bruyne’s magic then allowed Sane to slot in the sixth before substitute Bernardo Silva completed the rout when he converted Sterling’s pass.