Manchester City returned from the luxury of a week off to great effect as they defeated a game Watford side 3-1.
The first half was pretty dull as the visitors wasted time and generally frustrated City with negative tactics, including Foster taking 3/4minutes to restart the game when granted goal kicks.
City dominated play as you would expect, but the breakthrough looked a long way off when Aguero failed to accept a free header from six yards out, placing it wide of the upright. In the opening half, Watford hardly did anything at all to worry City except to prevent the scoreboard rolling. That was all to change to dynamic effect at the start of the second half.
Raheem Sterling, rapidly in my opinion establishing himself as a world-class footballer, had offered little in the first half. Accepted as the dangerman, he was always shackled by 2 defenders and often it was increased to 4, denying him the operational space he needs to be effective. Also, he did spend too much time pinned to the touchline.
After the break, he went on his roaming role and it paid dividends at once. Gundogan straightened up the attack finding Aguero who chested the ball in the direction of Sterling who was miles offside. Instead of letting Sterling go, Janmaat chased back to clear scoping the ball against Sterling nullifying the offside and the ball went in.
Although the linesman flagged and four minutes on non-VAR deliberation took place, ref Tierney went with his first decision and allowed the goal.
There were no disputes seconds later when Silva slid in the overlapping Mahrez who this time drilled it along the six-yard line to find Sterling unattended at the far post. 2-0 City.
Still, Raheem wasn’t finished. Some tight build-up play between Zinchenko, once again impressive, and Silva saw the Spaniard slide in Sterling who took his time before curling in another for a hat-trick.
Game over and out of sight. Gracia did send on Deeney and Deulofeu who instantly combined to reduce the arrears, but as a team, Watford did nothing further to disturb the Blues as they widened the gap at the top of the league to four points, with Liverpen to play today.
Sterling was amazing in that fifteen-minute spell and with no more Premier League matches for three weeks for City, it’s a good place to start. Can the Clarets of Burnley have the Pedmachine drinking Claret tonight? We’re only half an hour away!!