Manchester City made their 125th anniversary celebration one to remember by thumping the helpless Watford 8-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
The mesmerising performance included a hat-trick from Bernardo Silva and goals from Sergio Aguero, Nicolas Otamendi, Riyad Mahrez, David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne, making for a historic afternoon for the blues.
Story of the game
City didn’t take long to get their 125th anniversary party going as they had the lead inside the first minute.
De Bruyne, who would prove to be the architect in City’s first half masterpiece, whipped in a dangerous ball across the Watford six yard box, which found captain Silva, who tapped in from close range to open the floodgates.
Despite City’s first half barrage Watford could have, and probably should have, been level moments after the opener. Gerard Deulofeu skipped passed Otamendi, opening up a one-on-one chance, however the Spaniard couldn’t convert as he saw his chipped effort well saved by Ederson.
Deulofeu and his side would live to rue that missed chance as City had a second a minute later. De Bruyne once again was at the heart of the City attack as he played a through ball to Mahrez, who beat the oncoming Ben Foster to the ball, leading to the Watford shot stopper bringing down the Algerian to give the home side a penalty.
Aguero stepped up and smashed home straight down the middle for his team’s second goal and his 100th Premier League goal at the Etihad Stadium.
After a tough first 10 minutes things were about to get a lot worse for the visitors as City had a third just after the 10 minute mark. Mahrez superbly wriggled through three Watford men, resulting in him being fouled just on the edge of the box. The Algerian then stepped up and converted the free kick courtesy of a Tom Cleverley deflection to pretty much wrap up the points inside the first 11 minutes.
City didn’t stop there and their fourth came two minutes later with a helping hand from some hapless Watford defending. A De Bruyne corner was met by the head of Aguero which found the unmarked Bernardo, who headed home from close range to the pure bewilderment of the Watford defenders who all seemed to stare at each other and think ‘Who’s man was that?’.
Five minutes later the Hornets' back line were left red faced once again as their lapse in concentration cost them a fifth. A quick free-kick from De Bruyne found Aguero who played a fierce, low ball to the unmarked Otamendi who tapped home from close range to give City an unbelievable five goal lead inside 20 minutes.
After a dismal first half hour Quique Sanchez Flores looked to paper over the cracks by making a first half change. Dimitri Foulquier was the man surrendered, making it a Premier League debut to forget for the Frenchman.
The Hornets managed to withstand the final 15 minutes of the first half and headed into the much needed break just the five goals behind.
The Premier League's bottom club would have been wishing they could have stayed in the dressing rooms after the break as the Champions added a sixth two minutes after the restart. The two Silvas combined as David set up Bernardo, who took one touch to control and another to poke past Foster from six yards to restart the City onslaught.
The Portuguese playmaker was now on the hunt for a hat-trick, and he secured this just before the hour mark, netting City’s seventh. De Bruyne again whipped in a trademark low cross to find Silva who tapped in for his first hat-trick in a sky blue shirt.
The Champions’ dominance allowed Pep to gift home debuts to Angelino, Joao Cancelo and Eric Garcia, giving the only fit senior centre-back, Otamendi a much needed rest.
City needed just one more to match the biggest Premier League win record, and they were inches away from doing so with a minute to go. De Bruyne found himself one-on-one with Foster but somehow put his effort from 10 yards just wide of the post.
That would prove to be that at the Etihad as a masterclass from the Champions cemented Watford’s spot at the bottom of the table.
Takeaways From the Game
City are well and truly back
What better way to respond to last week’s shock defeat than a thumping 8-0 victory! If there was any doubt over City over last week's mishap it's certainly been diminished after today's remarkable display.
Hornets Left helpless
Watford were well and truly blown away today and despite City's superb showing, the Hornets seemed to fall over for the Champions with many of the eight goals conceded down to lacklustre defending. It looks like it's going to be a tough job for Sanchez Flores to turn around his side's fortunes.