Football

Fearsome foursome: Aguero, Lukaku, Kane and Morata show why they are the top strikers in EPL

With unerring precision and ice-cool composure, the star marksmen delivered when it mattered.

No wonder their managers were raving over them following a fruitful weekend during which all the big guns won their respective games to signal their English Premier League title ambitions.

Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane started the ball rolling in the 3-2 win over West Ham in Saturday's early match, which saw Spurs reduced to 10 men for the last 20 minutes.

Kane's magnificent brace set Mauricio Pochettino's side on their way at the London Stadium, handing the visitors a 2-0 cushion before Christian Eriksen widened the margin to three goals on the hour mark.

The Hammers' fightback came too little, too late, with Serge Aurier's 70th-minute dismissal providing the hosts with nothing but false hope.

After the 24-year-old Englishman took his tally to six goals in four games, Pochettino professed his affection for his key man.

Said the Argentine manager: "He is one of the best strikers anywhere, not only in England.

"I find it hard to find the words to describe him.

"I am in love, like the fans are in love, like his teammates are in love.

"He is so humble, he keeps all the values that managers like me appreciate a lot.

"That is why I am in love with him for different reasons."

Then it was Stoke City's turn to face Alvaro Morata's wrath. Not once, not twice, but thrice.

Brilliant from start to finish, the 24-year-old Spaniard put in a performance that justified his manager Antonio Conte's pre-match declaration that he has at his disposal the "complete player".

After the result at the Britannia Stadium, Conte was a little more coy.

He said: "Alvaro performed very well. He scored a hat-trick and, for our strikers, it's very important.

"It means we created chances for our strikers to take, but I am pleased for his performance and I'm pleased for the performance of the team."

Stoke manager Mark Hughes also hailed Morata, who has taken his tally to six league goals, moving him to joint-top spot of the EPL scorers' chart.

TOP QUALITY

He said: "He's a top-quality striker, clearly."

Over at the Etihad Stadium, Man City continued their free-scoring run with a 5-0 hammering of Crystal Palace that took them to the top of the table.

By his standards, Sergio Aguero's solitary strike did not quite fire up the imagination as much as his past exploits.

But goal No. 176 (from 260 appearances) moved the 29-year-old silent killer to within a goal of Manchester City's all-time record.

The Argentinian now needs just one more to match Eric Brook's record tally, which has stood since 1939.

The best tribute was paid before kick-off, when City manager Pep Guardiola said: "Aguero will die scoring goals, there is no doubt about that."

In fact, Aguero had plenty of chances to equal the mark, but his selfless play in the final third postponed his coronation.

The red half of Manchester was not to be left behind, however.

After a turbo-charged start to their campaign, Jose Mourinho's men demonstrated they have the steel to match the style, with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Southampton.

At the St Mary's Stadium, it was all about making chances count, and the Red Devils had the perfect man for the job.

The in-form Romelu Lukaku proved the difference, and his sixth league goal took his tally to six, alongside Morata and Aguero.

Mourinho told Sky Sports: "(Lukaku's) work is so important for us. He scored his goal and worked hard like everybody else."

The fearsome foursome are just getting started and, so far, opposing Premiership defenders have had no answer to them. - WIRE SERVICES

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