As it happened: City romp to sensational eight-goal victory
Photo by Getty Images/Oli Scarff

As it happened: City romp to sensational eight-goal victory

Six different scorers conjured a perfect afternoon for the champions.

Jake Horwood


Thank you and goodbye!
That brings an end to our live coverage of what was a quite remarkable Premier League match. Stay tuned at VAVEL UK for comprehensive coverage of all the action from the rest of the league.
Possession: 69%-31%

Shots: 28-5

On target: 11-4

Passes: 723-332

Pass accuracy: 91%-79%

Corners: 5-4

Fouls: 5-9

Around the grounds
Here are the other results from today's round of Premier League football.

Leicester City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur (FT)

Everton 0-2 Sheffield United (FT)

Burnley 2-0 Norwich City (FT)

Newcastle United vs Brighton & Hove Albion is the evening kick-off.

History made
City's 18-minute stroll to their fifth goal was the fastest any Premier League team has ever managed to reach that margin. Their only disappointment will be to not have scored more on an afternoon where they had ample chances to do so.

Watford can never take a great deal from any trip to the Etihad, but questions have to be raised with regards to their performance here. Was that the calibre of a top-flight team? Perhaps the next 32 games will tell.

The most relieving moment of the day for Watford, as City's onslaught is curtailed only by the arrival of the final whistle.

A simply stunning performance from the champions.

88' How is it not nine!?

De Bruyne weaves through the Watford defence and opens up room for a shot, but it somehow flashes wide of the near post.

85' City finally have their eighth, and their most instrumental performer finally makes the scoresheet.

De Bruyne teases the ball away from Femenía and fires home from the edge of the box.

81' Rodri strikes at goal again, but Foster gets down well to save.

It wouldn't be out of the question to assume City will be disappointed not to reach double figures here.

77' Gray comes on for Deulofeu in his preferred central striking position.
77' Rodri lines up a shot with his weaker left foot from 25 yards, but the effort drags wide of the post.
74' De Bruyne wants a penalty after a collision with Craig Dawson, but referee Mike Dean is unmoved.
The resultant corner goes out for a goal-kick. Watford's afternoon summed up in five seconds.
72' Deulofeu finds a rare spot of space behind the City defence, but his shot is parried by Ederson.
Quique Sánchez Flores and his coaching staff all cut the same perplexed, vacant expression on the touchline. They'll wonder if they could have prevented this onslaught.

Pep Guardiola sits back comfortably in his chair in the other dugout. This is just the reaction he will have hoped for from his side.

66' Angeliño bolts down the left and supplies a sumptuous cross for Mahrez, whose header crashes against the crossbar and Watford gratefully clear.

Seven almost doesn't do this dominance justice.

63' Final change of the afternoon for City as Eric García replaces Otamendi at centre-back.
60' A hat-trick for the Portuguese, who gets his initial effort caught up in his feet but manages to scramble the ball home. The result of another vicious cross from De Bruyne.
59' Club-record signing Ismaiïla Sarr replaces Hughes in an advanced position.
58' Again! Agüero's second of the afternoon just won't fall for him!

This time he lunges for a deep cross from the left, but pokes the ball over Foster's crossbar.

57' Agonisingly close to seven for City.

Mahrez drifts towards the byline and cuts the ball back for Agüero, who attempts to guide it just inside of the far post - inches wide.

54' City make their second change of the afternoon, as João Cancelo replaces Walker at right-back.
Within 50 minutes, City have achieved the scoreline they managed in the entirety of the FA Cup final against these opponents in May, and that was emphatic enough.

Merciless, bloodthirsty and breathtaking football from the champions.

50' A surprisingly well-hit pass from Otamendi nearly catches Ederson off guard, but he stops the ball before it crosses the line.

Watford are relying on their opponents to fashion chances for them, such is their powerlessness here.

48' Normal service is resumed for City. Atrocious defending from Watford who squander countless opportunities to clear their lines, and Bernardo pounces to squeeze the ball past the flailing Foster.
46' City try their luck almost immediately from kick-off with an audacious effort from Walker, but Foster is untroubled.
46' Agüero raises the curtain on the second half.
46' A half time switch from Guardiola, who makes a like-for-like alteration at left-back: Angeliño replaces Mendy.
Possession: 70%-30%

Shots: 14-2

On target: 6-2

Passes: 355-155

Pass accuracy: 90%-77%

Corners: 3-2

Fouls: 3-4

Around the grounds
Here are the other scores from today's round of Premier League football.

Leicester City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur (FT)

Everton 0-1 Sheffield United (HT)

Burnley 2-0 Norwich City (HT)

Newcastle United vs Brighton & Hove Albion is the evening kick-off.

David Silva, Agüero, Mahrez, Bernardo Silva and Otamendi: five different goalscorers in a five-star showing from City so far, and it may be something of a surprise that Watford managed to keep them at bay for the final half an hour. They'll be intent on extending their lead after the break, and the disappointment of last weekend seems so long ago now.

It's damage limitation for the Hornets from here until the final whistle; they've been powerless against their hosts' sheer brilliance this afternoon.

47' Mahrez twists and turns on the edge of the box and opens up space to strike on his stronger left foot, but the ball zips into Foster's grateful grasp.
46' There will be three minutes of stoppage time to close off this first half.
44' Agonisingly close to six for City. Bernardo plucks the ball out of the air and lays the ball off for de Bruyne who crosses for Agüero, but Foster saves expertly on his line.

Bernardo then goes close with a follow-up effort.

42' Deulofeu heads a Watford counter-attack, but his attempted pass for Will Hughes is effortlessly intercepted by City's back line.

That's the story of the afternoon so far for the visitors, who just can't buy any time in possession.

39' Watford come close to claiming a goal back. The ball bounces for Pereyra in the area, and the Argentine rounds Ederson before his compatriot Otamendi puts in a crucial tackle.
33' Perhaps unsurprisingly, it's an early throw of the dice from Sánchez Flores as Foulquier is replaced by Roberto Pereyra.
27' Agüero goes close again! It's De Bruyne bolting down the flank again who picks the Argentine out in the box, but the ball strikes the post and hits Foster to produce a corner.
25' A gilt-edged chance for City to extend their lead - missed, this time.

Agüero runs behind the Watford defence, sees Foster making way towards him and attempts to chip the ball over the Englishman, but it drifts wide of the far post.

City are in total control here. They'll be intent on extending their lead even further, but they seem perfectly happy to wait patiently for the opportunity to do so.
21' City produce yet another sweeping passing move which sees Agüero reach the byline and attempt a cross to the back post, but Mariappa heads behind for a corner.
19' The first undesirable moment of the match so far for City, as Bernardo goes into the book for a clumsy challenge on Kiko Femenía.
18' City play a short free-kick and Agüero cuts the ball back across goal for Nicolás Otamendi to fire home.

This has been a quite remarkable start for the home side.

15' It just gets better and better for the champions. Their corner meets the head of Craig Dawson whose contact is minimal, and the ball falls perfectly for Bernardo who guides home.
14' More incisive football from City unleashes De Bruyne on the right flank, but his cross is blocked by the sliding challenge of Adrian Mariappa.
12' Mahrez strikes direct from the free-kick, and the ball deflects into the net courtesy of Tom Cleverley's face.

City are surely out of sight already.

11' An incisive run from Mahrez finds himself weaving towards the Watford penalty area before he is tripped by Abdoulaye Doucouré.

City now have a free-kick in a dangerous position.

A nightmare start for Watford who, despite fashioning chances of their own, now face the most gruelling of uphill battles to salvage anything from this game.

As for City, Guardiola could not have wished for a more emphatic immediate response to last weekend's disappointment.

7' A confident spot kick from Agüero puts City two goals to the good.
6' City have the perfect chance to extend their lead here after Riyad Mahrez was felled by Hornets keeper Ben Foster in the box. VAR confirms the decision.
4' The visitors come close again as Deulofeu shimmies past Otamendi and unleashes at goal, but Ederson gets a crucial touch to deflect the ball for a corner.
3' Aggressive pressure from Watford forces a mistake from City's back line and Deulofeu nearly pounces before Ederson confidently claims the ball. An electric start to this game.
1' What a start for City!

A sweeping passing move reaches Kevin de Bruyne on the right flank, whose vicious cross finds Silva lurking at the back post.

1' Gerard Deulofeu gets proceedings underway at the Etihad.
The teams are out and kick-off is imminent.
Watford team
Foster; Foulquier, Dawson, Mariappa, Holebas; Capoue, Doucouré; Femenía, Cleverley, Hughes; Deulofeu. Substitutes: Gomes, Janmaat, Kabasele, Chalobah, Pereyra, Sarr, Gray.
Manchester City team
Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Mendy; De Bruyne, Rodri, David Silva; Mahrez, Agüero, Bernardo Silva. Substitutes: Bravo, Cancelo, García, Angeliño, Gündogan, Sterling, Jesus.
Stay tuned
That's it for now, but live commentary will resume one hour before kick-off as we bring you the team news.
Sánchez Flores embraces the challenge
"I love to play against the big teams. If you take my history of playing against big teams, I love to prepare these kind of matches.

"When you need to prepare to play against the big ones, you need to find something else - you need to be really, really experienced."

Guardiola dissects the Norwich defeat
"We reviewed the game normally. I speak with my staff and listen to their opinions.

"That's important for me to listen to what they say because they help me to get a better solution, and after watching the game against Norwich I was not upset with the way we played.

"99 points still to play for."

Watford team news
The Hornets are without both Craig Cathcart and captain Troy Deeney due to thigh and knee injuries respectively. Isaac Success is also unavailable.

Ismaïla Sarr showed promise in the draw with Arsenal and will be hopeful of a start, though fellow new recruit Danny Welbeck may have to wait for his next chance in Watford colours after Sánchez Flores revealed the England international is some way behind his teammates with regards to match fitness.

Predicted XI: Foster; Femenía, Dawson, Kabasele, Holebas; Doucouré, Capoue; Hughes, Cleverley, Deulofeu; Gray.

Manchester City team news
City have something of a lingering injury crisis to contend with, especially at centre-back where both John Stones and Aymeric Laporte will be sidelined for lengthy periods of time. Fernandinho is expected to deputise alongside Nicolás Otamendi in their absence.

Leroy Sané's ACL damage will keep him out of action for the foreseeable future, while Phil Foden is a doubt due to illness.

Benjamin Mendy registered his first minutes of the season against Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek and will be pushing for further involvement here.

Predicted XI: Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Zinchenko; Gündogan, Rodri, David Silva; Mahrez, Agüero, Sterling.

Head to head
Suffice to say this is not a fixture Watford often look forward to, particularly in recent times.

Since the first competitive meeting in 1982, the Citizens have triumphed on 18 occasions and the Hornets just six, and the last time the latter won this encounter was a Second Division clash in March 1989.

Furthermore, City have only failed to beat these visitors once in the seven meetings since their move to the Etihad Stadium.

Last meeting
The most recent clash between these two sides came in one of the most glamorous occasions the footballing calendar has to offer: the FA Cup final in May.

That day, City secured the treble with a 6-0 victory, the joint-most emphatic scoreline the showpiece fixture has ever witnessed. Watford could hold their heads high after a fairytale route to the final, but it was an afternoon to behold the sheer brilliance of one of English football's most statistically dominant sides ever.

Watford's form
In fact, this is a game comprising two teams who are enduring difficult relative circumstances in their own right. Many who share an affinity to Watford feel their season is still yet to commence after a sluggish start which has produced a sequence of five winless league games.

However, last weekend's 2-2 draw with Arsenal - the first in charge for Quique Sánchez Flores since his return to Vicarage Road - felt like a victory for the Hornets, who registered a sturdy yet effervescent performance for their new manager. They will be hoping to earn that elusive first win sooner rather than later.

Watford currently sit 20th in the Premier League table.

Manchester City's form
Five games played, three won, one drawn and the other lost: a record most teams would be envious of, yet it spells borderline disaster for Pep Guardiola's side who already have a five-point deficit to compensate against title rivals Liverpool at the summit.

Last weekend saw the champions fall at the hands of newly-promoted Norwich City - the Canaries ran out 3-2 victors at Carrow Road, a result which Guardiola and his players will doubtless be desperate to amend here.

City currently sit 2nd in the Premier League table.

Hello and welcome!
Hello and welcome to VAVEL UK's live text commentary of this matchday six fixture in the Premier League: Manchester City vs Watford.

Stay tuned for a comprehensive preview followed by live updates when the match kicks off at 15:00 BST.