Manchester (AP) – Manchester City delivered yet another reminder that they are the team to beat in the Premier League this season.
On Sunday’s evidence, winning the league title looks beyond Manchester United.
A few hours after City thrashed Huddersfield 6-1 — mainly thanks to a hat trick by Sergio Aguero — United slumped to a 3-2 loss at Brighton after conceding three goals in a 20-minute span in the first half.
City have already racked up eight goals in the first two games of their title defence. Aguero looks in peak form, fit-again Benjamin Mendy is in rampaging mood down the left, while coach Pep Guardiola had the luxury of starting Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez on the bench against Huddersfield.
It looks a lot less rosy at the champions’ fierce rivals.
United’s difficult offseason, notable for the grumpiness of coach Jose Mourinho and the club’s struggles in the transfer market, was briefly forgotten about thanks to an opening-day 2-1 win over Leicester last week.
But the loss to Brighton exposed weaknesses in United’s team, particularly their fragile defence in which center backs Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof — Mourinho signings — were especially sluggish.
Mourinho failed to get a new central defender he craved, with his employers not prepared to spend any more money on that position. It might prove to be a big mistake.
After two games, City are one of five teams with a maximum of six points.
SEALED WITH A KISS
For Aguero, it was a performance sealed with a kiss.
Aguero had just scored his third goal in a brilliant individual display when he was substituted by Guardiola, who kissed the Argentina striker on the cheek as he walked past him.
Aguero began the rout with a goal that started with a pinpoint 70-yard ball forward from Ederson right to the feet of Aguero, who cut inside and chipped the opposition goalkeeper.
City’s other scorers were Gabriel Jesus, who started up front alongside Aguero in a 3-5-2 formation, and long-serving playmaker David Silva, who curled in a free kick early in the second half. A miserable afternoon at Etihad Stadium for Huddersfield was wrapped up by Terence Kongolo’s 84th-minute own-goal.
City began their title defence by beating Arsenal 2-0 away last weekend, having earlier beaten Chelsea 2-0 in the season-opening Community Shield at Wembley Stadium
City’s clinic against Huddersfield was a tough act to follow for United and the sloppy display at Brighton highlighted the gulf between the rivals.
Slow in possession, United fell apart in a woeful spell at the end of the first half when Brighton scored through Glenn Murray, Shane Duffy — from a corner — and Pascal Gross, who converted a penalty after being fouled by Bailly.
Romelu Lukaku had made it 2-1 with a glancing header following Luke Shaw’s bouncing shot from the edge of the area but United never looked like pulling it back in the second half as Brighton defended stoutly.
Paul Pogba converted a penalty with virtually the last kick of the game.
WATFORD’S FAST START
For the second straight year, Watford have made a fast start to the season.
A 3-1 win at Burnley gave Watford a second straight win to open the season, moving the team to six points along with City, Tottenham, Chelsea and Bournemouth.
Watford were in the league’s top four three months into last season before fading away.
Andre Gray, Troy Deeney and Will Hughes scored the goals at Turf Moor, with James Tarkowski replying for Burnley