Jamie Vardy's injury-time penalty against Southampton gave Leicester City a piece of Premier League history by sealing a 9-0 win at St Mary's.

Vardy and Ayoze Perez both scored hat-tricks in a triumph that equalled the previous best in the competition's history, while also representing the biggest top-flight win away from home in 131 years of league football in England.

Here, we look back at the matches that proved to be the stuff of wildest dreams or darkest nightmares for the teams on the respective sides of a yawning gulf in class.

 

Southampton 0-9 Leicester City – October 25, 2019

Ryan Bertrand was sent off for a challenge in the build-up to Ben Chilwell's 10th-minute opener but that was scant excuse for the manner in which Ralph Hasenhuttl's side unravelled. Youri Tielemans was granted ample room to double the lead, then Perez began romping towards a hat-trick he completed a minute before Vardy's headed second made it 7-0 in the 58th minute. A James Maddison free-kick and a Vardy penalty took this defeat in to uncharted territory for a home side.

Manchester United 9-0 Ipswich Town – March 4, 1995

No longer the outright worst after a quarter of a century out on their own, Ipswich's beleaguered XI from this Old Trafford outing might well raise a glass to Vardy and his colleagues. Andy Cole scored five after Roy Keane began the rout in the 15th minute. Former Southampton manager Mark Hughes hit a quickfire second-half double and Paul Ince also got in on the act. Peter Schmeichel watched it all unfold from the other end, just as his son Kasper did in goal for Leicester on Friday.

Tottenham 9-1 Wigan Athletic – November 22, 2009

Wigan had a slither of hope when Paul Scharner pulled a goal back to make it 3-1 before the hour at White Hart Lane. Ultimately, the only significance of that strike was to keep them off the top of this list. Jermain Defoe was the Cole of the piece, rattling in five goals from the 51st minute onwards, while Aaron Lennon, David Bentley and Nico Kranjcar piled on the pain. Remarkably, Peter Crouch's ninth-minute header was the only goal of the 10 scored before half-time.

That same season, Wigan lost 8-0 at Chelsea, who beat Aston Villa by the same margin at Stamford Bridge two years later. Newcastle United claimed the division's first 8-0 scoreline at the expense of Sheffield Wednesday in 1999.

Southampton 8-0 Sunderland – October 18, 2014

The St Mary's faithful at least know what it feels like to be on the joyous end of what they endured against Leicester. The boot was on the other foot five years ago, although what exactly Sunderland defender Santiago Vergini and his boots were trying to achieve when he inexplicably walloped into his own net after 12 minutes remains anyone's guess. But that was 1-0 at that stage, with Graziano Pelle scoring the first of a brace six minutes later. Jack Cork, Dusan Tadic, Victor Wanyama and Sadio Mane also scored, with Liam Bridcutt joining Vergini in putting through his own goal.

Manchester City 8-0 Watford – September 21, 2019

United's outright record surprisingly remained intact despite their neighbours racing into a 5-0 lead inside 18 minutes against Watford last month. David Silva netted from close range inside a minute, with Riyad Mahrez winning a penalty for Sergio Aguero before scoring himself. Bernardo Silva opened his tally on the way to a hat-trick, with Nicolas Otamendi a more unlikely first-half goalscorer. Kevin De Bruyne masterfully orchestrated the destruction of a side City demolished 6-0 in May's FA Cup final and wrapped up the scoring with an emphatic strike into the top corner.

Nottingham Forest 1 Manchester United 8 – February 6, 1999

The biggest away win the Premier League had seen until Leicester went about their savagery. This seemed fairly standard stuff for Alex Ferguson's majestic treble-winning side as Dwight Yorke and Cole scored twice against an overmatched Forest, who would finish the season bottom of the table. Standard, that was, until Ole Gunnar Solskjaer emerged from the bench and pilfered four goals in the final 10 minutes at the City Ground.

Pep Guardiola claims Manchester City's recent injury problems will not persuade the Premier League champions to enter the January transfer market.

Rodri (hamstring) and Oleksandr Zinchenko (knee) this week joined long-term knee injury victims Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane on the sidelines.

Expected recoveries the other side of November's international break mean both defensive midfielder Rodri and left-back Zinchenko will miss the crunch trip to Liverpool in a fortnight's time.

Left-winger Sane and centre-back Laporte are not due back in action until the new year, with the latter's absence having been particularly keenly felt after City opted not to bring in a specialist replacement for outgoing captain Vincent Kompany during the close season.

It meant Rodri and fellow midfielder Fernandinho starting their past two matches in the heart of defence as John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi built fitness following respective hamstring and back problems.

Despite speculation linking City to the likes of Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly and Benfica's Ruben Dias, Guardiola believes any significant incomings at the Etihad Stadium are unlikely once the window opens.

"After the international break – November, December, January, February – yeah, I am a little bit concerned because in a few positions we do not have enough players," he told reporters ahead of Saturday's Premier League match at home to Aston Villa.

"[But] in the January window I do not think we are going to buy. The club did not introduce me to players they thought could help us.

"Without that, it is not going to happen. The players we need are not just for six months, it is for a long time. And I think the important players will not be sold.

"We are going to stay all the season, I think, with the players that we have right now."

Knee operations in each of the past two seasons left Benjamin Mendy sidelined and gave Zinchenko – a midfielder by trade – a chance to establish himself in Guardiola's plans at left-back.

After Zinchenko's surgery to "clean the knee", as Guardiola put it, the roles are now reversed, with France international Mendy having a chance to put a run of games together.

There was plenty of promise in his all-action efforts in wins over Crystal Palace and Atalanta over the past week, but Guardiola is remaining understandably cautious.

Mendy spent the opening weeks of this season concluding his most recent round of knee rehabilitation, while a hamstring strain earlier this month checked his progress.

"We have Angelino, Joao [Cancelo] can play there too. We have other options," Guardiola said when discussing the full-back.

"[Mendy] played 90 minutes against Crystal Palace and then three days played another 75 in an incredibly demanding game against Atalanta. And he's not injured.

"I think [his form is] coming. If he can play regularly for months – games, games, games, games – he will get his best level.

"Still he is not at the level we believe [he can be] but that's normal after two seasons out. He needs time. Hopefully he can [stay] fit. 

"If he is fit, training every day, it is going to happen. Hopefully he cannot be stopped."

Pep Guardiola believes Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz had the quality to play for Manchester City, who were frustrated previously in their efforts to secure a work permit for the Brazilian.

Douglas Luiz was on City's books from 2017 to 2019 but was forced to go out on loan to Girona in consecutive seasons before sealing a reported £15million switch to Villa.

Guardiola spoke of his disappointment at failing to get the midfielder a permit in 2018, when City were short on options to cover Fernandinho.

The Premier League champions have since signed Rodri, although he is out injured, and Guardiola suggested there could still be the option for Douglas Luiz to return to City in the future.

"He would be here if the work permit had been possible," Guardiola said of Douglas Luiz ahead of City's meeting with Villa.

"The work permit was not possible, so loan, loan, and now he's at Aston Villa. I think we have an option to bring him back.

"But sometimes life is like this. We wanted him because in the last season we had a problem in that position because we didn't buy a holding midfielder in the last three or four seasons.

"Douglas Luiz - we thought about that. But with the rules in England with the work permit, it was not possible. So that's why - or I think he would have been here.

"He played in the pre-season last season in the United States, and he was really good. I think he has the quality to play with us but he could not do that."

Asked for an assessment of Douglas Luiz's primitive Premier League career, which has already included two stunning goals in seven games, Guardiola replied: "The talent is always there.

"He has played some games - he didn't play other ones. We will see at the end of the season how his level is. But the quality was there and is there."

Another midfielder predictably on the agenda this week was Phil Foden, who shone after being handed a start in the Champions League against Atalanta but was later sent off.

Guardiola, who has repeatedly talked up the teenager despite his limited appearances, suggested only time on the training pitch can get Foden to the required level.

"It's training by training - 19, 20, 21, 22, 23," the City boss said. "Every season will be better. It's time, a process of time.

"It's not that I do that and tomorrow he will get it. It's being in the stadium, playing the minutes, sometimes you have to pass, sometimes you have to run, these decisions.

"It's time. At 23, he will be better than now. At 26, he will be better than at 23. He's an incredible work ethic guy. In the training sessions, he's a fighter, and the quality is there."

Rodri is unlikely to feature again for Manchester City before the next international break, but Pep Guardiola was able to shed some light on Oleksandr Zinchenko's mystery injury.

Spain midfielder Rodri, who lined up at centre-back in City's past two matches, pulled up with an apparent hamstring problem during the 5-1 Champions League win over Atalanta in midweek.

Guardiola was hoping for positive news following scans but was told Rodri would likely not return until after the November internationals, which follow immediately after City's huge trip to Premier League leaders Liverpool.

"They told me that after the international break, [Rodri] will be ready again," Guardiola told a news conference ahead of facing Aston Villa on Saturday.

Another defensive option who will miss the Liverpool game is Zinchenko, who was ruled out of Champions League action this week with an unspecified knee injury.

The Ukraine international then uploaded a picture from a hospital bed, seemingly after surgery, but Guardiola is expecting the left-back to be back within four to six weeks.

"[Zinchenko] had a contact with the knee and felt something in the bone," he said. "He has to stop for four weeks, five weeks, more or less.

"He had something [surgery] to clean the knee. It's not a big issue, but five weeks, six weeks he will be out."

Rodri's absence could spell a return to first-team action for John Stones, who has started only twice in the league this season after ending the previous campaign out of the team.

"First choice? It's not about being first choice, it's about being fit," Guardiola said. "For a long time, [Stones] was injured in this period - a long, long time, many, many injuries.

"He could not play. Then he came back last season and Vinny [Kompany] and [Aymeric] Laporte were in incredible top form in a part of the season where I want to have regularity in the central defenders.

"This season, injury, injury, injury, injury. Sometimes, to get a rhythm, you need more time."

The future of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is once again in the headlines.

Lazio star Milinkovic-Savic has been linked with Manchester United, Juventus, Real Madrid, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain.

Now another club are reportedly in the mix for the Serbia international midfielder.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA EYE MILINKOVIC-SAVIC

Chelsea sent scouts to watch Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in the Europa League, reports TuttoMercato.

One of the most in-demand midfielders in Europe, Milinkovic-Savic has attracted interest from Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter.

Milinkovic-Savic – who was reportedly set to join United if Paul Pogba left Old Trafford – was watched as Lazio lost 2-1 to Celtic in Glasgow on Thursday.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Stamford Bridge and The Sun claims Chelsea are interested in Bournemouth forward Callum Wilson and RB Leipzig star Timo Werner.

Manchester United have rekindled their interest in Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller, according to Sport BILD. Muller was wanted by former United boss Louis van Gaal before the Dutchman's departure in 2016. Now with Muller seeking a Bayern exit, United and Inter are in the mix for the Germany international.

- The prospect of Zlatan Ibrahimovic joining Antonio Conte's Inter has hit a snag. According to CalcioMercato, the presence of agent Mino Raiola could cause an issue in talks. Ibrahimovic's LA Galaxy contract is coming to an end and the veteran has been linked to Napoli and Bologna.

- Sky Sport Italia says free agent Jack Rodwell is set for a shock move to Serie A outfit Roma. The former Manchester City midfielder, who spent time at Blackburn Rovers last season, is poised to undergo a medical.

Juventus are set to have money to splash at the end of the season.

Eight-time reigning Serie A champions Juve are repeating the rewards of their domestic dominance.

And it could see some of Europe's elite join Cristiano Ronaldo in Turin.

 

TOP STORY - JUVENTUS REACH FOR THE STARS

Juventus are eyeing a blockbuster signing, with Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Paul Pogba the targets, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Italian champions Juve are reportedly set to announce an increase of capital by €300million as they establish their position among Europe's elite clubs.

PSG's superstar pair Mbappe and Neymar fit the profile of a future eye-catching signing, as well as Manchester United's former Juve midfielder Pogba, Gazzetta says.

The report also mentions Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho, Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix and Tottenham forward Son Heung-min.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester Evening News reports Manchester United are confident about signing James Maddison from Leicester City. After splashing out a world-record fee for a defender to lure Harry Maguire from Leicester, United are said to have their eyes on another Foxes star as they look to add quality in the attacking third.

Real Madrid are considering a move for AC Milan full-back David Calabria, according to Fichajes.net. The alternatives would be RB Leipzig's Lukas Klostermann and Youcef Atal from Nice as Madrid reportedly look to replace Alvaro Odriozola.

West Ham and Wolves are eyeing January moves for Milan star Suso, says The Sun. The former Liverpool attacker was wanted by Roma during the previous window.

- Soccer Link says Paris Saint-Germain are monitoring Chelsea defender Tariq Lamptey and plan to sign him at the end of the season. The 19-year-old's contract expires at the end of the campaign.

Arsenal will have to spend £30.1million (€35m) if they want to make Dani Ceballos' loan deal from Real Madrid permanent, according to El Desmarque.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich rejected an offer from a Middle East-based consortium to buy the Premier League club, The Daily Telegraph reports.

- The Guardian says Manchester City are stepping up their pursuit to sign in-demand Napoli star Fabian Ruiz. Fabian is also being targeted by Barcelona and Madrid.

Raheem Sterling's mentality is behind his prolific run of form for club and country, according to John Stones.

Manchester City winger Sterling netted a quickfire 11-minuite hat-trick after half-time on Tuesday as Pep Guardiola's side demolished Atalanta 5-1 in the Champions League.

Sterling also supplied the cross for Sergio Aguero's 34th-minute equaliser and won the penalty from which the Argentina striker put City in front.

Of his five career hat-tricks, Sterling has now claimed four match balls in 2019, including a brilliant treble in England's 5-0 Euro 2020 qualification win over the Czech Republic at Wembley in March.

"He's been on fire. He's got that mentality, he wants more," Stones said, before noting the one-on-one opportunity Sterling missed after completing his Atalanta hat-trick would probably disappoint the 24-year-old Ballon d'Or nominee. 

"He showed it [against Atalanta]. He kept trying, he might be disappointed because he could have scored four, but I think he should be very proud for scoring a hat-trick in the Champions League.

"I'm very happy for him and he helped us to take a step closer to the next round."

Sterling has 16 goals in 17 appearances for City and England this term – a flying start to the campaign that contrasts sharply with a 2019-20 yet to get off the ground for Stones.

The former Everton centre-back has been laid low for a month at a time following a pair of thigh injuries and only featured as a substitute against Atalanta and Crystal Palace last weekend despite midfielders Fernandinho and Rodri forming a makeshift centre-back pairing.

"Obviously, it's always frustrating going through injuries," he said.

"To me, it was a bit of a setback. Now I'm back, I feel strong and healthy again. Hopefully I can stay fit and help to fight for every competition."

Stones was introduced on Tuesday after Rodri pulled up with a hamstring injury, while his fellow centre-back Aymeric Laporte is recuperating from knee surgery alongside winger Leroy Sane.

City are waiting to find out the severity of another knee problem sustained by left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko, although Stones was at least able to line up alongside Nicolas Otamendi during the closing stages in midweek – the Argentina defender having shaken off a minor back complaint.

"It's been frustrating for all of us, for the manager, for the team, all the injuries we have got," said the 25-year-old.

"It's been a difficult time for us, but the guys have made a step up. They have done jobs for the team that they are not used to, so I give all the credit to them.

"Now, we [Stones and Otamendi] are back, we need to try to stay fit and healthy to help the team to fight for all the competitions."

Antoine Griezmann scored his fourth goal in eight LaLiga appearances for Barcelona as the Spanish champions beat Eibar 3-0, and he leads the line in this week's FIFA 20 FUT Team of the Week.

The France World Cup winner is joined by an all-star cast in this week's line-up, including Paris Saint-Germain's in-form winger Angel Di Maria.

After scoring twice in his side's 4-1 victory at Nice in Ligue 1, Di Maria was in scintillating form as PSG beat Club Brugge 5-0 in the Champions League.

Not all of this week's selection are competing towards the top of their respective domestic leagues, with Watford's Abdoulaye Doucoure earning a place for his goal-scoring performance in the Premier League basement club's 1-1 draw with Tottenham.

Monaco are 14th in Ligue 1 and they will need more of the same from Wissam Ben Yedder if they are to turn their season around - he scored a brace in their 3-2 win over Rennes.

Find out who else made FIFA's Ultimate Team line-up below.

FUT Team of the Week

GK: Stephane Ruffier (Saint-Etienne) - 86

CB: Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund) - 88

CB: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) - 84

CB: Yerry Mina (Everton) - 82

CM: Dani Parejo (Valencia) - 87

CAM: Taison (Shakhtar Donetsk) - 84

CM: Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford) - 84

RW: Radja Nainggolan (Cagliari) - 85

LW: Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona) - 90

RW: Angel Di Maria (PSG) - 87

ST: Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco) - 85

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Alfred Gomis (Dijon) - 81

CB: William Troost-Ekong (Udinese) - 81

CDM: Tomas Soucek (Slavia Prague) - 82

LM: Petros Mantalos (AEK Athens) - 81

ST: Lautaro Martinez (Inter) - 84

ST: Angel (Getafe) - 82

LW: Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) - 81

RESERVES

LM: Mislav Orsic (Dinamo Zagreb) - 79

LM: Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders) - 78

ST: Andreas Cornelius (Parma) - 80

ST: Daniel Candeias (Genclerbirligi) - 79

ST: Henok Goitom (AIK) - 78

Pep Guardiola has no doubt hat-trick hero Raheem Sterling can continue to improve but lauded the Manchester City star as "perfect" after his side's 5-1 Champions League demolition of Atalanta.

City fell behind to Ruslan Malinovskiy's penalty at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, but Sterling teed up Sergio Aguero to restore parity six minutes later in Manchester.

Sterling then won a penalty for Aguero to nose City ahead before half-time in the Group C clash, with the former running riot in the space of 11 second-half minutes.

England international Sterling should have added to his tally, but failed to finish when one-on-one with Pierluigi Gollini, though manager Guardiola hailed a faultless display from the winger – who has scored 12 goals in all competitions so far this season. 

"We were together for four years and I answered many times this question," Guardiola told a news conference when asked to comment on Sterling's development into a world class player.

"The credit is just for him. All of the credit. He can be better but he is perfect.

"His physicality, he is strong, he could play a game the day after a game, his regeneration is so strong. He is an extraordinary player. 

"He can play both sides, defensively he helps us a lot. He is an incredible player. It depends on him but he has the desire to do better."

Having slammed home from Phil Foden's tee-up just before the hour, Sterling raced onto Ilkay Gundogan's throughball to lash in his second before completing his hat-trick with a tap in from Riyad Mahrez's cross.

Sterling, however, conceded he should have helped himself to a fourth as he aims to become more clinical with his chances.

"It was difficult, especially them going man-to-man all over the pitch, so we had to stay patient," he told BT Sport.

"I should have had four. Riyad set me up for the last one and I wanted to see if he was anywhere close to lay one on a plate for him. But yes, I've got to finish them off.

There's no point scoring goals if you let in easy ones, so the penalty was a bit frustrating, but in this competition the good teams will punish you."

Pep Guardiola fears Manchester City could be without Rodri for up to a month after he sustained a hamstring injury during the 5-1 Champions League win over Atalanta.

Spain midfielder Rodri, who became the Premier League champions' record signing when he joined from Atletico Madrid in July, was deployed at centre-back alongside Fernandinho for the second time in the space of a week on Tuesday.

In Saturday's 2-0 Premier League win at Crystal Palace, they made light of Guardiola's selection headache in central defence but a missed header against Atalanta saw Rodri's outing unravel.

He got back to tackle Atalanta captain Alejandro Gomez but instantly signalled to the bench that he needed attention.

Guardiola confirmed after the match that his player's complaint was hamstring-related, with the severity to be determined.

"Tomorrow we will know," City manager Guardiola said. "Hopefully [Rodri will be out] between 10 days if it is not broken [torn].

"If it is broken, it will be three weeks or one month.

"It is hamstring, it looks like. When a guy runs and puts his hand in the hamstring position, it is a hamstring."

John Stones, only recently back from his own spell on the sidelines with a thigh injury, came on to provide a more conventional option at the heart of a defence still awaiting the return of Aymeric Laporte from knee surgery.

"It's the first season for Rodri, he's slotted in brilliantly in a new league, a different for him and he's breezed it," the England international told BT Sport.

"Credit to Fernandinho, he's helped him along. We work on playing different positions in training all the time, knowing everyone's jobs and the roles on the pitch, so you can almost play blind when you have the ball.

"It's been good to be back out on the pitch for me on a personal note, [but I'm] upset to see Rodri has a little injury. We'll see how it is."

Before kick-off, City announced they were waiting to discover how serious a knee injury suffered by left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko might prove to be.

Winger Leroy Sane is continuing his rehabilitation from cruciate ligament damage sustained during August's Community Shield clash with Liverpool.

Pep Guardiola insisted nobody trusts Phil Foden more than he does after the Manchester City youngster ended an impressive Champions League display by getting sent off against Atalanta.

Foden made just his second start of the season in Tuesday's Group C meeting, impressing in midfield as City ran out 5-1 winners courtesy of Raheem Sterling's second-half hat-trick and Sergio Aguero's double.

City sensation Foden teed up Sterling's first goal but the 19-year-old's terrific performance was ended prematurely when he received two bookings in the space of six minutes late on.

When asked if Foden still needed to prove anything in order to become a more regular starter, Guardiola told a news conference: "He doesn't need to prove anything to me.

"He would not be here with us. I was the guy who said to him in the academy come here to play with us. There is nobody who trusts Phil more than me. I'm the boss, I decide [who plays].

"We thought it was a game he would have more opportunities to run, on the counter-attack. 

"Phil has these qualities to be box-to-box, at speed. That was the reason why he played, a tactical decision.

"He's a young guy, still a lot to improve. But it is important. Last season in one of the biggest games we had he played against Tottenham, he played so good and today as well.

"Every minute he plays, more experience for him for his future. He played at a high level."

Guardiola did, however, add Foden still has plenty to learn, acknowledging his frustration at the midfielder's red card.

"He will learn," Guardiola said. "Never fine for the player [to get sent off], unless it is for a stupid thing not something that is part of the game.

"He will know after one yellow card you have to be a bit more careful. There are things still where his is far away from David [Silva], far away from [Ilkay] Gundogan and far away from Kevin [De Bruyne].

"He has to live this situation with a yellow card and be careful."

There will be no punishment from Guardiola for Foden's indiscipline, though.

"Absolutely, I will not fine him. Maybe I have to pay him for how well he played," Guardiola said.

The only excuse Sergio Aguero had for clattering an uncharacteristically rash shot into the Manchester City fans behind the goal was the possibility he shared their giddy excitement.

After 24 minutes of the Champions League Group C game against Serie A entertainers Atalanta, Phil Foden had come to the party.

Slipping into a pocket of space in the right channel – the same area of the field from which he tormented the Austria defence for England Under-21s seven days ago, a passage that ended in a robust body check and a viral social media clip – Foden sauntered brilliantly around grizzled centre-back Andrea Masiello to leave a chance on a plate for Aguero.

It was silver service where there is normally Silva service in these parts. Foden is being groomed to be their heir to David Silva when the great Spanish playmaker leaves at the end of this season. Plenty of times during a riotous 5-1 win, the 19-year-old's silken touch suggested all the tools are there.

However, after providing plenty to purr at as he and Ilkay Gundogan effortlessly pulled the midfield strings during the second half came the impetuousness of youth and an avoidable red card. This denies Foden the chance to sharpen his talents in the return game next month.

It is tempting to wonder to what extent it might influence Pep Guardiola's trust, which has not always felt as forthcoming as he claims.

"Absolutely not will I fine him," the City manager replied when asked after the match whether Foden will be financially punished for his indiscretion. "Maybe I have to pay him for how well he played. The important thing for Phil is not the red card, it is the way he played."

Before being selected from kick-off against Atalanta on Tuesday, 90 of Foden's 102 competitive minutes in a City shirt this season had come in an EFL Cup tie at Preston North End.

Guardiola might call the boyhood City fan one of the most talented players he has ever seen but talk is far cheaper than the £500million price tag he would apparently not consider as a worthwhile bid for Foden.

Atalanta shaded the frenetic early stages and led through Ruslan Malinovskyi's penalty shortly after Foden's fleet of foot brought the home crowd to their feet.

Visiting boss Gian Piero Gasperini is an admirer of Guardiola and the sight of his two nimble number 10s Alejandro Gomez and Josip Ilicic squaring up to City's midfield two at centre-back – Rodri and Fernandinho – felt like something two of football's stylistic romantics might have dreamt up together.

However, Gasperini was becoming increasingly exasperated by the manner his side, who let a 3-0 lead slip to draw 3-3 at Lazio on Sunday, were neglecting the most familiar footballing trait of their homeland.

Aguero was in no mood to pass up further chances and gobbled up a floated 34th-minute delivery from Raheem Sterling, who was once again City's star performer.

Masiello, a well-worn 33-year-old central defender who looks to have been reared on boots and knees to the head along with slide tackles in gravel, was spared by Gasperini at the break. He scythed emphatically through Sterling for the penalty from which Aguero put City ahead for the first time.

The second-half became the Raheem Sterling Show, but Foden was at least co-producer alongside the immaculate Gundogan.

Raheem Sterling scored a second-half hat-trick as Manchester City moved closer to securing their progression from Champions League Group C with an emphatic 5-1 win over Atalanta.

Ruslan Malinovskiy's penalty capped a fine start for Atalanta, but the Serie A side were little match for City once Pep Guardiola's men - led by the impressive Sterling - clicked into gear.

Sergio Aguero was the benefactor of Sterling's work in the first half, tucking in from a brilliant cross before converting a penalty the England forward won.

Sterling took matters into his own hands from then on – his treble coming in the space of 11 productive minutes for City, though the emphatic win was marred by the late dismissal of Phil Foden.

Atalanta squandered a three-goal lead against Lazio in Serie A on Saturday yet were swiftly on the front foot in Manchester, taking the lead in the 28th minute. Josip Ilicic forced Fernandinho into a clumsy challenge, with Malinovskiy making no mistake from the resulting penalty.

Atalanta's opener merely sparked City into life, though, Aguero nudging home from Sterling's perfectly weighted cross and then punishing Andrea Masiello's desperate lunge by scoring from the spot.

City were soon dealt a blow as Rodri was forced off with a hamstring injury, though Kyle Walker would have extended the hosts' lead if not for Pierluigi Gollini's smart stop.

There was an injury concern for Aguero at the start of the second half but, after the striker was deemed fit to continue, Guardiola's side had their third. Kevin De Bruyne teed up Foden, whose touch fell kindly for Sterling to hammer home from close range.

He doubled his personal tally within six minutes, lashing beyond Gollini after racing onto Ilkay Gundogan's pass.

After Remo Freuler had a goal ruled out by the offside flag for Atalanta, Sterling knocked in Riyad Mahrez's cross to complete the rout, though Foden's second booking for a foul on Marten de Roon forced the hosts to play out the closing minutes with 10 men.

Rodri was forced off during Manchester City's Champions League match against Atalanta, with the Spain international suffering an apparent hamstring injury.

Shortly after Sergio Aguero had scored his second goal of the night from the penalty spot to put City 2-1 ahead, Rodri – playing again in the unfamiliar position of centre-back – missed a defensive header to let Atalanta forward Alejandro Gomez through on goal at the Etihad Stadium.

The former Atletico Madrid man recovered his ground to make a well-judged tackle but instantly raised his hand to gesture for treatment.

Rodri has impressed in holding midfield since becoming City's record signing in July, slotting into defence over the past week to cover for Pep Guardiola's centre-back shortage.

John Stones, fit again following a thigh problem, replaced Rodri against Atalanta, when Nicolas Otamendi returned to the bench after a back complaint.

First-choice central defender Aymeric Laporte is still recovering from knee surgery alongside winger Leroy Sane, while City announced earlier on Wednesday that full-back Oleksandr Zinchenko has sustained a knee injury of his own and will be assessed over the coming days to determine the extent of the damage.

Manchester City full-back Oleksandr Zinchenko has sustained a knee injury, the Premier League champions have confirmed.

A timeframe has not been placed on when the Ukraine international might return to action, with City announcing ahead of Tuesday's Champions League match against Atalanta that he "will be assessed over the coming days to determine the extent of the problem".

"Everyone at City wishes Oleks a speedy recovery," the statement added.

There will be fears Zinchenko is the latest City player to fall victim to a serious knee problem, with Leroy Sane and Aymeric Laporte currently recuperating following surgery during the opening weeks of this season.

Zinchenko's own opportunity to establish himself as a reliable option at left-back for Pep Guardiola came after Benjamin Mendy underwent knee operations in each of the past two seasons, while Ilkay Gundogan sat out the majority of 2016-17 with a ruptured cruciate ligament.

After impressing in Mendy's absence last term as City won an unprecedented domestic treble in England, Zinchenko was rewarded with a contract extension running until the end of the 2023-24 campaign.

Mendy has returned to fitness, while Guardiola bolstered his options at left-back by re-signing City youth-team graduate Angelino from PSV during the close season.

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