Manchester City returned to winning ways in the Premier League, demolishing Watford with 8 goals at the Etihad stadium, as Bernardo Silva scored a hat-trick.
Having already bounced back from last weekend’s defeat at Norwich with a comfortable win in the Champions League, City looked back to their best as they blew the Hornets away with a stunning 18-minute opening salvo in which five different players found the net.
Bernardo was among them, and added two more after the break before Kevin De Bruyne’s thunderbolt completed the hammering, and brought Quique Sanchez Flores’ side back down to earth after their 2-2 draw with Arsenal in the first game of the new manager’s second spell in charge.
Pep Guardiola made four changes to the side that beat Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday, with Raheem Sterling among those to drop to the bench for a rest and such was City’s dominance that the England star was never likely to be needed.
It took City less than 60 seconds to open the scoring as De Bruyne began what would become another phenomenal individual display with a superb whipped delivery that left David Silva with a back post tap-in.
Sergio Aguero soon doubled the lead from the penalty spot after Riyad Mahrez had been brought down by Ben Foster’s rash challenge, stroking down the middle to find the net for a sixth Premier League game in succession.
Mahrez then added a third himself, with the help of a huge deflection off Tom Cleverly, which took his free-kick effort beyond a helpless Foster, before De Bruyne’s corner was flicked on by Nicolas Otamendi and nodded home by an unmarked Bernardo at the back post to make it four.
De Bruyne was again instrumental in the fifth, catching out Watford’s shell-shocked backline with a quick free-kick that sent Aguero in behind, and he squared for Otamendi to tap in from close range
The last meeting between these sides, in the FA Cup final in May, had ended 6-0, and it was a minor miracle that that scoreline wasn’t matched before half-time. Aguero came close on several occasions, hitting the post from one De Bruyne cross and being denied by a good save from Foster from another, while also lifting wide of the far post when sent clear by the Belgian.
Soon after the restart, however, it was six, as Silva controlled and turned smartly to put namesake Bernardo in on goal to add his second.
De Bruyne was the architect again for the seventh, teeing up Bernardo to eventually nudge home after he threatened to waste the chance with a first touch so uncharacteristically poor that he had his head in his hands as he celebrated his hat-trick.
Manchester United’s Premier League record 9-0 win over Ipswich Town looked under threat, and De Bruyne put it within touching distance with a rocket of an effort high into the roof of Foster’s net, but in the end the champions had to settle for eight.
Source: Evening Standard