Sergio Aguero scored his 10th hat-trick for Manchester City as they thrashed Watford 6-0 at Vicarage Road to go top of the Premier League.
A blistering first-half performance put City in control as Aguero struck twice and Gabriel Jesus added his fourth league goal of the season.
Nicolas Otamendi headed home their fourth (63) before Aguero sealed his hat-trick (81) and Raheem Sterling netted a late penalty (89) after he was brought down by Christian Kabasele.
Aguero’s opener and Jesus’ strike appeared marginally offside but City were sensational regardless and will remain top overnight, with second-place Manchester United facing Everton on Nissan Super Sunday.
Watford: Gomes (4), Janmaat (4), Mariappa (3), Holebas (5), Kabasele (3), Carrillo (4), Doucoure (3), Chalobah (3), Cleverley (3), Gray (4), Richarlison (4)
Subs: Deeney (5), Capoue (4), Pereyra (4)
Manchester City: Ederson (7), Walker (8), Stones (8), Otamendi (8), Mendy (9), De Bruyne (9), Fernandinho (8), D Silva (8), Sterling (8), Aguero (9), Jesus (8)
Subs: Sane (8), Gundogan (7), B Silva (7)
Man of the match: Sergio Aguero
The visitors heeded that wake-up call and swiftly went ahead two minutes later through Aguero, who fired a header past Heurelho Gomes from an excellent Kevin De Bruyne delivery.City made their dominance count with two more goals before the break, with Aguero first tapping home after Gomes fumbled David Silva’s low cross.
Jesus then finished smartly to add City’s third, although the Brazilian looked offside before netting from Aguero’s pass.
Watford made two changes in defence as Adrian Mariappa and Daryl Janmaat replaced Kiko Femenia and Younes Kaboul, while Pep Guardiola made just one alteration from City’s 4-0 win at Feyenoord. Raheem Sterling was preferred to Bernardo Silva.
Watford, who were unbeaten before City’s visit, were punished after the break as Otamendi powered in a fourth before Aguero grabbed his hat-trick with a neat finish.
Substitute Etienne Capoue wasted the hosts’ best chance when he nodded over from close range and Sterling piled on the misery from the spot in the closing stages.
- This was Watford’s heaviest ever defeat in the English top-flight.
- Man City (11) have scored more goals in their last two Premier League games at Vicarage Road than Watford (10) have in their last nine at the ground.
- Gabriel Jesus has been directly involved in 15 goals in his 15 Premier League appearances (11 goals, 4 assists).
- Aguero has been involved in 11 goals in five appearances against Watford in all competitions (nine goals, two assists).
Marco Silva: “I think the first goal was offside, the second goal we made a big mistake and maybe the third goal is offside too; this is the truth.
“We had one clear penalty. I’m sure it wouldn’t change the result, but would give more confidence in this moment.”
Pep Guardiola: “We played so good. Here at Watford it is complicated. Last season Manchester United and Arsenal lost and this year Liverpool was not able to win.
“They were unbeaten until now so to score six goals – especially away and especially after being away in the Champions League – we played like a team and we are so happy
Man of the match – Sergio Aguero
When City are in the mood they can be absolutely devastating, especially with Aguero as their spearhead.
It is not the first time he has tormented Watford either. The Argentine has been involved in 11 goals in five appearances against the Hornets, while he has now scored in eight consecutive away league starts.
His partnership with Jesus is flourishing and Aguero’s treble on Saturday takes his tally to 175 Manchester City goals, just two behind club record scorer Eric Brook.
Brook’s mark of 177 has stood since 1939 but it’s a matter of when – not if – Aguero will break it.
City’s busy September continues as they travel to West Brom on Wednesday for a Carabao Cup third-round tie before returning to Premier League action at home to bottom-of-the-table Crystal Palace.
Meanwhile, Watford have a slightly longer break as they head to the Liberty Stadium next Saturday to take on Swansea City.