Premier League
Man CityManchester City2WatfordWatford0

Manchester City 2-0 Watford

By Chris BevanBBC Sport
Man City winger Jesus Navas and Watford defender Jose Holebas
Man City winger Jesus Navas and Watford defender Jose Holebas

Raheem Sterling's first goal for Manchester City ended Watford's resistance and helped his side continue their 100% winning start to the season.

The Hornets dug in well for the first half but the game changed 88 seconds after the interval when Sterling slotted home Bacary Sagna's cross.

Fernandinho made it 2-0 with a fierce finish from David Silva's pass.

Watford did not manage a single shot on target as City saw out the win to move three points clear at the top.

Gary Lineker on Twitter
That works out at £49m a goal - MOTD host Gary Lineker's tongue-in-cheek response to seeing Raheem Sterling get off the mark for City

The victory was City's 10th in a row, breaking a 103-year-old club record, and they are still to concede a goal in any of their four Premier League games this season.

Watford, who had arrived at Etihad Stadium on the back of three straight draws, looked well organised as they frustrated the home side before the break but carried little threat when they tried to fight back after falling behind.

Reaction to this match and the rest of Saturday's action here

Relive Manchester City's victory over Watford

Hornets set out to stop City

Watford's gameplan worked superbly when the game was goalless, with City failing to find a way through the visitors in the first 45 minutes.

The Hornets did more than just work hard and defend in numbers, they kept City out thanks to some impressive organisation.

Troy Deeney was nominally Watford's lone striker in their 4-2-3-1 formation but actually operated as a deep-lying right-sided midfielder, helping to shield his defence when City left-back Aleksandar Kolarov made his frequent forays forward.

Average position of Man City and Watford players in the first half
Man City and Watford's average position in the first half
The average position of Man City and Watford players shows where the game was played in the first half. Watford striker Troy Deeney is their number nine in the graphic above. City defender Aleksandar Kolarov is their number 11.

City essentially faced two banks of five defenders, and the speed on their flanks offered by Sterling and Jesus Navas could not make a difference.

Sterling had City's best chance of the first half when his was shot turned round the post by Heurelho Gomes, but that was the only time he got a clear sight of goal.

City make changes to make the breakthrough

City tweeted at the final whistle to celebrate their new record
City tweeted at the final whistle to celebrate their new record

Last season, City boss Manuel Pellegrini was accused of tactical inflexibility when his team struggled to break down down defensive-minded sides.

But his half-time switch made the difference on Saturday - and showed the greater depth now available in his squad.

Navas was taken off and Silva moved over to the right, with Samir Nasri coming on to play on the left and Sterling being pushed up through the middle.

Within seconds, the change had an effect. Silva fed Sagna, whose cross was converted by Sterling six yards out.

It was an ominous sign for City's title rivals and Pellegrini's attacking options will only increase if, as expected, Kevin de Bruyne completes his move from Wolfsburg before the transfer window closes on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old Belgium midfielder, who will cost more than £50m, is set to have a medical with City this weekend.

Man of the match - Man City's Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling celebrates his goal for Man City
It was clear how much it meant to Raheem Sterling to score his first goal for City since his £49m move from Liverpool. His pace was City's biggest threat in the first half and he also showed he is capable of a cool finish with the way he broke the deadlock

Manager reaction

Man City 2-0 Watford: Pellegrini satisfied with Watford win

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini: "It was not frustrating in the first half. You can't expect to win the game inside 45 minutes against a team who defends well. We made some changes and we created more chances and won the game."

On goalscorer Raheem Sterling: "Raheem played very well. It was good for him to score. He worked very hard and I'm sure he'll score more goals."

Flores pleased with fighting Watford

Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores: "We were prepared for a difficult match and we were there to resist and contain City.

"They have some high quality technical and physical players so it is hard to do that here but we had the feeling in the first half they had a lot of problems, we defended well and restricted the space very well.

"It was disappointing to concede the goal so early in the second half but the difference between us and City is high, and we gave our best. Losing here while fighting to play well is a positive thing for Watford."

What next?

City will return to action after the international break with an intriguing top-of-the-table trip to Crystal Palace, who are second after their shock win over defending champions Chelsea.

Watford will continue their hunt for a first win of the season when they host Swansea.

The stats you need to know

  • Manchester City have become the ninth team to win 10 or more successive Premier League games.
  • Watford have won just three of their 40 Premier League away matches (W3 D7 L30).
  • Watford have failed to register a shot on target in their last two Premier League games.
  • Man City are unbeaten in their last 25 home Premier League games against newly promoted opposition (W23 D2 L0), with their last defeat coming against Reading in February 2007.

Line-ups

Man City

  • 1Hart
  • 3Sagna
  • 4KompanyBooked at 40mins
  • 20Mangala
  • 11Kolarov
  • 42Y Touré
  • 25Fernandinho
  • 15NavasSubstituted forNasriat 45'minutes
  • 21SilvaSubstituted forDelphat 75'minutes
  • 7SterlingSubstituted forIheanachoat 89'minutes
  • 10Agüero

Substitutes

  • 8Nasri
  • 13Caballero
  • 18Delph
  • 26Demichelis
  • 27Roberts
  • 50Maffeo Becerra
  • 72Iheanacho

Watford

  • 1Gomes
  • 2NyomBooked at 43mins
  • 5PrödlBooked at 63mins
  • 15Cathcart
  • 25Holebas
  • 29CapoueSubstituted forWatsonat 76'minutes
  • 8Behrami
  • 9Deeney
  • 7Jurado
  • 22AbdiSubstituted forAnyaat 63'minutes
  • 24IghaloSubstituted forLayunat 72'minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Vydra
  • 19Layun
  • 21Anya
  • 23Watson
  • 31Hoban
  • 32Diamanti
  • 34Arlauskis
Referee:
Mark Clattenburg
Attendance:
53,218

Match Stats

Home TeamMan CityAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home59%
Away41%
Shots
Home18
Away7
Shots on Target
Home5
Away0
Corners
Home9
Away3
Fouls
Home9
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Manchester City 2, Watford 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Manchester City 2, Watford 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Miguel Layún (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City).

  5. Post update

    Valon Behrami (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Ikechi Anya (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by José Holebas.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City).

  8. Post update

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

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester City. Kelechi Iheanacho replaces Raheem Sterling.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Miguel Layún (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jurado.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Samir Nasri (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Raheem Sterling.

  12. Post update

    Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Craig Cathcart.

  13. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Yaya Touré (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Samir Nasri.

  14. Post update

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

  15. Post update

    Foul by Nyom (Watford).

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Ben Watson replaces Etienne Capoue.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Yaya Touré (Manchester City) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Aleksandar Kolarov with a cross.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester City. Fabian Delph replaces David Silva.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Etienne Capoue (Watford) right footed shot from more than 35 yards misses to the left. Assisted by Valon Behrami.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Miguel Layún replaces Odion Ighalo.