Manchester City made easy work of Watford at Vicarage Road in a dominant display of attacking intent, after thrashing Feyenoord in the Champions League midweek.
A hat-trick from Sergio Aguero, a header from compatriot Nicolás Otamendi, Brazilian striker partner Gabriel Jesus also getting on the score sheet and Raheem Sterling dispatching a penalty flattered in a scoreline that could've been double figures.
With two of the goals appearing to be offside, Watford will rue missed chances and the decisions of referee Anthony Taylor in a one-sided affair.
In a game played amidst heavy rainfall, Manchester City started on the front foot as the away side dominating possession from the first whistle. Testing Watford shot stopper Heurelho Gomes early on, Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho flashed a header from an early corner over the bar.
As the Citizens grew into the game, the signs were there from the beginning of the match that the visitors were dangerous, with Aguero twice coming close to an opener, with the best chance coming from a delicate lob that beat the Hornets goalkeeper but narrowly dropped onto the roof of the net.
Against the run of play, the hosts should have taken the lead with their first chance, as Greek defender Jose Holebas whipped in a free kick in an inviting area. New signing Richarlison, who should have done better with a free header ten yards out, flashing a relatively easy chance just pass the post.
Watford were left to rue that missed chance as their more accomplished opponents showed them how it’s done with a devastating 25 minutes of football. Argentine international Aguero got the Citizens off the mark with a similar chance, although the opening goal appeared to look offside. It was a fantastic glancing header by the stocky striker but all credit belongs to Belgian playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, whose fantastic ball delivered in with scintillating pace put the goal on a plate for his teammate.
It wasn’t too long before Manchester City had their second, as constant possession and harrying in the final third created an easy second for Aguero. Diminutive midfielder David Silva won the ball back high up the pitch, and then the excellent desire of Jesus to chase down a lost cause kept the game alive, as he fed the Spaniard in for a simple lay-off across goal, which Aguero gladly swooped into an empty net.
The visitors made their dominance tell at the end of the first half as Jesus added a third to compile the misery on the watching fans. Linesman Gary Beswick again caused controversy by not putting his flag up, despite replays showing that the mercurial Brazilian was once more in an offside position, after an excellent reverse pass from Aguero. Nevertheless, Jesus played to the whistle and dispatched his effort across the post to end a one-sided half of football.
The team talk must have worked at halftime as the Hornets showed they are still in the game, with full-back
Again calling the officials into question, Watford had an early claim for in the second half for a penalty as former Chelsea man
After early pressure from the hosts, City began to make a similar stamp on the second half with Silva coming close with a stinging effort at the constantly worked Gomes. Following the corner from his shot, the Citizens further showcased their attacking prowess with a fourth, as an out-swinging delivery from Silva was thumped in by Argentine international defender Otamendi, who headed into the ground to beat the goalkeeper.
The hosts had their best chance to salvage something from a game that they must feel aggrieved by after many dubious decisions against them, as substitute Étienne Capoue had a relatively routine header from a corner, flicked on by Richarlison, which should have gained a consolation.
Aguero showed his class in the final stages of the game by beating four men in a mesmerizing run to put gloss on a fantastic display, showing their star quality and intent to challenge for the Premier League title.
To end the comfortable victory, Sterling placed a penalty into the top corner after arguing with Aguero to take it, following his adjudged foul in the box earning the sixth goal of the game, adding further misery for the unfortunate home fans.