- Associated Press - Saturday, October 14, 2017

MANCHESTER, England (AP) - Manchester City produced its most ruthless display of an already-prolific season in the English Premier League, overwhelming Stoke in a 7-2 win that was orchestrated by playmaker Kevin De Bruyne on Saturday.

De Bruyne wasn’t one of the six players to score at Etihad Stadium in the heaviest win of any team after eight rounds, but had a hand in four of the goals with his vision and crosses.

The highlights of the Belgium midfielder’s 100th appearance for City were a no-look pass for Leroy Sane that led to Raheem Sterling scoring, and then a threaded ball that took out four Stoke players for Sane to score.

Gabriel Jesus scored twice and David Silva, Fernandinho and Bernardo Silva also netted for City, which has a league-best 29 goals.

City has won seven games and drawn the other to take a two-point lead over Manchester United.

Kicking off after United’s drab 0-0 at Liverpool, City provided a stunning contrast with its latest exhibition of attacking football. The hosts scored three times in a blistering 10-minute spell midway through the first half.

The opener came after De Bruyne released Walker with a well-weighted pass, and the right back pulled the ball back for Jesus to turn home.

City made it 2-0 following another eye-catching pass from De Bruyne. Stoke was completely deceived by the Belgian’s defense-splitting ball and Sane raced through to set up a tap-in for Sterling.

The onslaught continued as another series of rapid one-touch passes ended with Sane and Sterling combining for David Silva to poke home his first goal of the season.

Against the run of play, Stoke scored either side of halftime through deflected efforts by Mame Biram Diouf, the first coming off Fabian Delph and the other off Walker.

That succeeded only in poking City back to life.

De Bruyne charged down the right and crossed for Jesus to fire into the roof of the net. Fernandinho sent a long-range piledriver into the top corner, before De Bruyne played in Sane with another magnificent, angled pass from long range that the Germany winger shot through Jack Butland’s legs.

Bernardo Silva, on as a substitute, completed the rout when he poked home after a nice touch in the area.


More AP Premier League coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/PremierLeague

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