Bernardo Silva scored a stunning goal as Manchester City beat Watford 3-1 at Vicarage Road to go top of the Premier League.
Raheem Sterling headed in an early opener after being found in acres of space in the box with less than four minutes on the clock before Silva fired in a second at the near post to give City a two-goal lead at the break.
The in-form Portugal midfielder then stole the show with a superb strike, cutting onto his left foot from the right and curling sweetly into the top-left corner.
Watford pulled one back through Cucho Hernandez, who steered home the rebound after his initial shot came back off the post, but the champions cruised to a victory that moved them to the summit.
FULL TIME | A Bernardo brace and a goal from Sterling see us go to the top of the table!
— Manchester City (@ManCity) December 4, 2021
City nearly took the lead when Aymeric Laporte’s header from a corner was cleared off the line, but they opened the scoring in the fourth minute, when Phil Foden’s cross from the left was nodded in by an unmarked Sterling at the back post.
The visitors continued to carve Watford apart with ease after going in front and Daniel Bachmann was forced to make three saves – one from Sterling, two from Jack Grealish – before the 11-minute mark.
City squandered several more opportunities to extend their advantage, with Grealish particularly wasteful, before Silva lashed home from a tight angle after Bachmann had parried Ilkay Gundogan’s low effort in the 31st minute.
Silva added a third in the 63rd minute with a sumptuous strike into the top corner from just inside the box that left Bachmann rooted to the spot.
Watford substitute Hernandez reduced the arrears 11 minutes later, squeezing home from a tight angle after his drilled effort across goal struck the upright and fell back into his path, but the Hornets still slumped to a third consecutive defeat.
What does it mean? City looking ominous
Chelsea’s 3-2 defeat against West Ham left the door open for City to move to the top of the Premier League with a victory and Pep Guardiola’s side duly obliged.
They move two points clear of the Blues – who slip to third – and one point ahead of Liverpool, who were briefly top after beating Wolves.
That is now seven consecutive wins for City in all competitions.
Silva on song
With seven goals in just 14 games this season, Silva has already equalled his best goalscoring return in a single Premier League campaign (seven in 36 appearances in 2018-19).
The playmaker’s five goals in his past eight Premier League appearances is as many as he managed in his previous 61 games in the competition.
Sterling happy facing Hornets
Sterling’s early opener means the England forward has now scored 11 times against Watford. Bournemouth are the only side he has scored against that many times.
Key Opta Facts
– City are unbeaten in 19 meetings with Watford in all competitions (W17 D2), scoring 62 goals in that run. The only longer unbeaten run they have had against a club was the 22 against Norwich City from 1965-1981.
– Watford have failed to keep a clean sheet in 25 Premier League matches, the longest run of any side in the competition since Burnley’s 29-game run between November 2009 and August 2014.
– Kyle Walker has now been victorious in 100 of his 130 Premier League appearances for City, in addition to winning 102 games in the top flight with Tottenham. He is just the third player to win 100 or more Premier League games with two different sides after Ashley Cole (140 with Chelsea, 100 with Arsenal) and Phil Neville (175 with Manchester United, 105 with Everton).
– Guardiola has won all 10 of his managerial meetings with Watford in all competitions by an aggregate score of 42-4, his best 100 per cent winning record against any side.
Watford face Brentford away from home on Friday, while City travel to Germany to play RB Leipzig on Tuesday before hosting Wolves on Saturday.
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