Manchester City cruised to victory over a sorry Southampton side to return to the top of the Premier League.
City took just six minutes to open the scoring as Wesley Hoedt smashed an attempted clearance of Leroy Sane’s cross into his own net, before Sergio Aguero doubled their lead by tapping in Raheem Sterling’s cross.
David Silva slammed home their third from Sane’s flick-on after 18 minutes but Danny Ings did pull one back from the spot after Ederson brought him down in the area.
Sterling then netted either side of the break to complete an impressive personal performance, while Sane added a late sixth to cap off a fine afternoon for Pep Guardiola’s men.
Both of the England forward’s goals were assisted by Aguero, as the Argentine first crossed for Sterling to stroke in, before a slide-rule pass enabled the 23-year-old to finish emphatically.
Sane’s goal came deep into injury time, firing past McCarthy following a lightning counter-attack with Southampton legs tiring.
Guardiola’s side have now won eight of their past nine matches across all competitions, although Ings’ penalty was the first league goal they have conceded in six games.
Meanwhile, Saints are now seven Premier League games without a victory and lie 16th.
City may have taken the lead after just six minutes, as Hoedt’s attempted clearance ended up in his own net, but Southampton had already been warned of their hosts’ threat on several occasions.
In the opening moments, Aguero drove into the area only to be crowded out by three Saints defenders, before Sterling flashed a dangerous ball across the face of McCarthy’s goal.
But Aguero was not to be denied for long, as he turned in Sterling’s cross for his 150th Premier League goal, after the England forward and Bernardo Silva linked up classily.
McCarthy then had to be alert to save yet another Aguero effort, after the Argentine had been put through on goal by Bernardo Silva.
David Silva added his side’s third in the 18th minute, his powerful volley from Sane’s flick-on leaving McCarthy helpless.
The home side eased off after this early blitz, which saw them enjoy 81% of the possession in the opening 20 minutes, with a fifth straight league win over Southampton already in the bag.
Ings’ penalty seemed to reignite the hosts’ attacking threat, as City began to push again, in large through the excellent Sterling.
And it was the ex-Liverpool winger who netted their fourth, stroking in at the second attempt, after initially miss-controlling Aguero’s pass.
After being heavily involved in all three of their opening goals, Sterling’s effort, his fifth of the campaign, was richly deserved.
The England man was lively throughout, and although he could have done better with several half-chances, he illustrated his clinical side by powering in his second goal on 67 minutes.
Having earlier set up Aguero’s tap-in, Sterling again turned provider late on, as it was from his pass that Sane netted City’s sixth.
Sterling’s brilliant display should not be a surprise, as he has now contributed to 25 goals in 19 Premier League appearances at the Etihad since the start of last season.
Few would have given Saints much of a chance coming into this match, given the fact they were winless in their last eight visits to the Etihad prior to Sunday, and that proved to be the case.
Guardiola’s side were ruthless, punishing nearly every goalscoring opportunity in the opening stages.
And although Ings’ fifth goal of the season did provide them with a potential way back into the game, they never looked like producing any sort of comeback.
Chances were few and far between for Mark Hughes’ side, although Ings did draw a good save from Ederson after the Brazilian had fumbled a powerful James Ward-Prowse strike.
And City’s goalkeeper also had to be alert shortly after, getting down low to keep out Ings’ near-post header.
But they failed to mount a sustained period of pressure, and it was the home side that looked more likely to score throughout the second half.