Premier League
Man City3Watford1

Manchester City 3-1 Watford

Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero has scored 10 goals in six games against Watford

Runaway leaders Manchester City showed no ill-effects from the end of their 18-game Premier League winning run by comfortably beating Watford.

Playing two days after the 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace, City took just just 38 seconds to open the scoring as Raheem Sterling slotted home Leroy Sane's cross for the quickest goal in the Premier League this season.

City, who are 15 points above second-placed Manchester United, doubled their lead when Kevin de Bruyne's cross was turned into his own net by a sliding Christian Kabasele.

De Bruyne, who started the match after recovering quickly from a nasty looking injury against Palace, then had a free-kick tipped on to the bar by Heurelho Gomes.

City got the third goal their dominance merited when Sergio Aguero scored from close range after the Watford goalkeeper parried De Bruyne's cross.

Andre Gray netted a late consolation for Watford, tapping home Andre Carrillo's low cross.

The visitors, who remain 10th by virtue of their early season form, have lost 10 of their past 14 games.

City look strong with returning players

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Man City 3-1 Watford: Fixture schedule will kill the players - Guardiola

City boss Pep Guardiola said after the game - his team's 10th in a month - that the busy festive period is "going to kill the players".

The leaders were without striker Gabriel Jesus, who will be out for one to two months after injuring a knee against Palace, but that just meant a start for all-time top scorer Aguero.

De Bruyne recovered immediately from his Palace knock to start, while defender John Stones returned from the hamstring injury which had sidelined him for over a month and playmaker David Silva was back after two games out for personal reasons.

However, Guardiola said after the game that Silva might need more time off.

City - wanting to make things right after dropping points for only the second time this season - led 2-0 after 13 minutes. They could almost relax at that stage against a team totally out of form.

Sterling's opener was City's third quickest in the Premier League era.

Aguero - who has now scored 10 goals in six games against Watford - would have scored earlier had Kabasele not turned De Bruyne's cross into his own net before it reached the Argentine.

He missed a hat-trick of chances from De Bruyne crosses, denied twice by Gomes and heading well wide, before scoring after the goalkeeper's fumble.

Stones also fired a glorious chance well over from six yards, and headed straight at Gomes from the rebound after De Bruyne's free-kick was saved onto the bar.

Watford's late goal denied them a perfect day, with a run of three consecutive clean sheets coming to an end.

But they are now 16 games away from an unbeaten Premier League season, despite Guardiola's insistence it will not happen.

The one concern was right-back Kyle Walker walking off holding his groin at the final whistle, and Guardiola said the club would have to "check it out".

Watford struggles continue

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Man City 3-1 Watford: 'We showed Man City too much respect' say Silva

Watford's decline this season coincided with Everton sacking Ronald Koeman. The Toffees wanted Marco Silva to succeed the Dutchman, but the Hornets refused to let him go.

And since Koeman's departure, Watford have only taken 10 points from 13 games.

A visit to Manchester City was probably not one they would have expected to get something from, but they were basically out of the game within 38 seconds.

Watford had only touched the ball once - when Richarlison was tackled by Silva - by the time Sterling tapped home.

They were well beaten by the time Gray, who earlier forced a save from Ederson, was able to turn home Carrillo's cross.

They did rally after the goal, but even the most optimistic Watford fans would have known it was a consolation and not the start of a comeback.

Silva's unwanted record - match stats

  • City have won their past eight matches against Watford in all competitions, doing so by an aggregate score of 27-4.
  • Since he took charge of his first away Premier League match on 22 January, Silva has lost more such games than any other manager (13).
  • Sterling's goal was City's third-fastest goal in Premier League history, behind Jesus Navas against Spurs in November 2013 (13 seconds) and Geovanni against Wigan in December 2007 (29 seconds).
  • Under Guardiola, only Aguero (49) has scored more City goals in all competitions than Sterling (28).
  • Aguero has only scored more goals against Newcastle (11) in all competitions for City than he has against Watford (10).
  • Gray's first five Premier League goals were scored in home games - his seven goals since then have all been scored away from home.

Man of the match - Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)

Kevin de Bruyne
Kevin de Bruyne looked as though he might be set for a spell on the sidelines after leaving on a stretcher against Palace. But two of his 10 crosses led to goals against Watford. He also made five key passes, and had a shot saved onto the bar

'We were too soft' - manager reaction

Watford boss Marco Silva: "We did everything in a different way to how we prepared. We were too soft in the first 20 minutes.

"Too much respect and some nerves. I told them to compete here. The first thing we need to do is not be scared or nervous.

"We had chances. The last 20 minutes we were better. We need to compete for the whole 90 minutes.

"Congratulations to Manchester City, what they are doing is amazing. Pep Guardiola is showing he can do his philosophy in the Premier League."

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: "[The Palace game] was the first time we dropped points in 19 games and you saw the reaction in the first 15 minutes.

"In the second half when we could have been more tired and complacent thinking about the result, we were completely the opposite. We played an amazing performance and we scored another goal and we could have scored more.

"Our fans were a little bit quiet because maybe they were freezing and maybe because it is our fans and the way we express our happiness but I think our team showed a lot of good things today so it means a lot for us."

What's next?

Neither side are in Premier League action for a week and a half.

Manchester City host Burnley on Saturday (15:00 GMT) in the FA Cup third round and are then at home to Bristol City in the Carabao Cup next Tuesday (19:45 GMT).

Watford face Bristol City next - in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Line-ups

Man City

  • 31Ederson
  • 2Walker
  • 5StonesSubstituted forDaniloat 67'minutes
  • 30Otamendi
  • 18Delph
  • 17De BruyneSubstituted forBernardo Silvaat 79'minutes
  • 25FernandinhoSubstituted forY Touréat 71'minutes
  • 21SilvaBooked at 24mins
  • 7Sterling
  • 10Agüero
  • 19Sané

Substitutes

  • 1Bravo
  • 3Danilo
  • 8Gündogan
  • 15Mangala
  • 20Bernardo Silva
  • 35Zinchenko
  • 42Y Touré

Watford

  • 1Gomes
  • 2Janmaat
  • 13Wagué
  • 27Kabasele
  • 22Zeegelaar
  • 23WatsonSubstituted forPereyraat 61'minutesBooked at 83mins
  • 16Doucouré
  • 11RicharlisonSubstituted forSinclairat 82'minutes
  • 29CapoueSubstituted forCleverleyat 61'minutes
  • 28Carrillo
  • 18Gray

Substitutes

  • 5Prödl
  • 6Mariappa
  • 8Cleverley
  • 17Sinclair
  • 25Holebas
  • 30Karnezis
  • 37Pereyra
Referee:
Lee Mason
Attendance:
53,556

Match Stats

Home TeamMan CityAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home77%
Away23%
Shots
Home18
Away7
Shots on Target
Home7
Away4
Corners
Home9
Away1
Fouls
Home8
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Manchester City 3, Watford 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Manchester City 3, Watford 1.

Offside, Watford. Christian Kabasele tries a through ball, but André Carrillo is caught offside.

Offside, Manchester City. Ederson tries a through ball, but Sergio Agüero is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford) right footed shot from long range on the right misses to the right.

Attempt saved. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Bernardo Silva.

Attempt blocked. Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.

Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Marvin Zeegelaar (Watford).

Booking

Roberto Pereyra (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

David Silva (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Roberto Pereyra (Watford).

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Jerome Sinclair replaces Richarlison.

Goal!

Goal! Manchester City 3, Watford 1. Andre Gray (Watford) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by André Carrillo.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester City. Bernardo Silva replaces Kevin De Bruyne.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Abdoulaye Doucouré.

Attempt blocked. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Leroy Sané.

Offside, Watford. Heurelho Gomes tries a through ball, but Andre Gray is caught offside.

Foul by Leroy Sané (Manchester City).

Heurelho Gomes (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Leroy Sané (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Abdoulaye Doucouré (Watford).

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester City. Yaya Touré replaces Fernandinho.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Tom Cleverley.

Attempt blocked. Leroy Sané (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester City. Danilo replaces John Stones.

Attempt missed. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Raheem Sterling.

Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).

André Carrillo (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Goal!

Goal! Manchester City 3, Watford 0. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner following a corner.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Christian Kabasele.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Roberto Pereyra replaces Ben Watson.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Tom Cleverley replaces Etienne Capoue.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Christian Kabasele.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Marvin Zeegelaar.

Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Daryl Janmaat.

Foul by Fernandinho (Manchester City).

Richarlison (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Fernandinho (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Richarlison (Watford).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City22202064135162
2Man Utd22145345162947
3Chelsea21143439142545
4Liverpool22128250252544
5Tottenham21124541202140
6Arsenal21115538261238
7Burnley229761919034
8Leicester228683432230
9Everton227692534-927
10Watford2274113140-925
11Huddersfield2266101835-1724
12Brighton225891727-1023
13Newcastle2264122030-1022
14Crystal Palace2257102033-1322
15Bournemouth2256112234-1221
16West Ham2156102439-1521
17Southampton2248102132-1120
18Stoke2255122347-2420
19West Brom22210101630-1416
20Swansea2244141334-2116
View full Premier League table

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