GABRIEL JESUS struck twice to put Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in seventh heaven.
But it was Belgian international Kevin De Bruyne who went through his full repertoire of assists as City once again ran riot at the Etihad.
Mark Hughes has pulled off some notable results against City since his short spell as manager ended in December 2009.
But it was clear from early on here that it could be a long afternoon for the Potters – the only surprise was it took them 16 minutes to go ahead.
De Bruyne’s perfectly weighted pass sent Kyle Walker clear down the right and he crossed low for Gabriel Jesus to sweep home.
A couple of minutes later it was two when De Bruyne wrong-footed the visiting defence with the cheekiest of passes.
Sane had time and space to pick out Raheem Sterling who slotted home his seventh goal of the campaign.
And just before the half hour mark the game appeared to be over as another low cross from Sane was turned back by Sterling.
David Silva took a touch before clipping the ball over Butland – and the game looked well and truly over.
Credit to Stoke though for hanging in there and on the stroke of half-time they had a lifeline as Mame Biram Diouf played a one two with Jese.
The ex-Manchester United forward got his shot in but it took a huge deflection off Fabian Delph before looping over Ederson Moraes.
Just after the break it was game on again as debutant Thomas Edwards swung over a cross from the right.
Diouf rose highest and his header canoned off Walker before finding its way into the corner.
Sadly Edwards had to be stretchered off in some distress soon afterwards after a block tackle from Delph near the touchline.
And Stoke’s hopes appeared to go the same way as De Bruyne won the ball down the right and curled over a delicious cross which Jesus despatched into the roof of the net.
Number five soon followed as Delph rolled a pass to Fernandinho who let fly with a 25 yard stunner which arrowed into the top corner.
And on the hour it was six as De Bruyne – going through his full repertoire – found another defence splitting pass to send Sane clear to score.
KdB was substitued on 65 minutes to a standing ovation – much to the relief of Sparky and his players.
But sub Bernardo Silva got in on the act when he took a pass from Sterling in his stride and slotted home.
INTERACTIVE STATS – CLICK on the categories to find out how the teams fared
INTERACTIVE LINE-UPS– CLICK on a player’s number below to see their stats
FACTS, STATS, GOALS & LOLS
- Man City went into this game on a 19-match unbeaten home run in all competitions.
- Gabriel Jesus was having fun pranking friends earlier in the week but was all business on the pitch.
- This win means City equal the club’s best start to a top-flight season after eight games. They began the title-winning 2011-12 campaign with seven wins and a draw.
- Stoke’s only win in their past 11 Premier League away matches came at Southampton in May. The Potters failed to score in seven of those 11 games.
- City have been a bit all or nothing against Stoke in the past. Before kick off, the Citizens had scored four goals in half of the six most recent meetings – but failed to score in the other three.