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'Special' Phil Foden bags Man City hat-trick as Arsenal go top with win at Luton

Pep Guardiola hailed Phil Foden as a "special" talent after the Manchester City forward bagged a hat-trick in the 4-1 rout of Aston Villa, though it wasn't enough to take City back to the Premier League summit.

City started and finished the day in third place but the win takes them level on 67 points with second-placed Liverpool, who take on bottom club Sheffield United on Thursday. Arsenal's 2-0 victory over Luton Town saw them leapfrog the Reds, though it would be a surprise if Liverpool don't head into the weekend back in top spot.

With Erling Haaland and Kevin de Bruyne dropping to the bench, Foden moved into a central position and orchestrated the demolition of Villa with an outstanding display, playing a hand in Rodri’s opener and then taking the game away from the visitors after Jhon Duran had levelled.

Foden restored City’s lead with a free kick in first-half stoppage time, then won it with two excellent goals just after the hour, the last of them a shot into the top corner after he had lost the ball but quickly regained it.

Foden's treble took him to 21 goals for the season and his manager said their was no limit to what he can achieve.

“What can I say? Three goals,” Guardiola said. “He didn’t start well but I think the goal helped him a lot for the mood. When Phil plays in a central position he has a sense for goals and he proved it again.

“He can do whatever he wants. He’s a real top-class player. We know it. But he is still open-minded, he has to understand the game, he has to focus on things, sometimes he’s a bit distracted in exactly what you have to do offensively, defensively, but he has a natural talent – a gift – which is special.

“The work ethic is unbelievable and he has an incredible sense of goal.

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