Man City vs Watford: The defending Premier League champions hit a new gear in the sprint to the 2021-22 title, as they hammered the Hornets 5-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
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Gabriel Jesus bagged four goals on the day, more than doubling his Premier League tally this season (more on that, and him, in a moment). Rodri added the other for Manchester City (80 points), who now sit four points clear of Liverpool (76 points) ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby (WATCH HERE).
Man City vs Watford final score, stats, results
Final score: Man City 5, Watford 1
Goal scorers: Man City (Jesus 4′, 23′, 49′, 53′, Rodri 34′), Watford (Kamara 28′)
Shots: Man City 18, Watford 5
Shots on target: Man City 8, Watford 2
Possession: Man City 74%, Watford 26%
3 things we learned – Man City vs Watford
1. A wild striker emerges from the bushes: When Sergio Aguero left the club last summer, Manchester City pursued Harry Kane (to the tune of $140 million), but to no avail. Pep Guardiola has preferred a false-nine over Gabriel Jesus playing center forward most of the time, even pushing the Brazilian out to the wings when he is selected. 32 games into the season, Jesus had returned all of three Premier League goals, but he has scored big goals in big games (in a 1-0 win over Chelsea in September, and the 2-2 draw with Liverpool two weeks ago). At this point of the season, every game is big and every goal even bigger. Man City found lots of early joy out wide against Watford, and it had to be Jesus, the lone “natural” striker in the squad, to make the runs and finish a pair of first-half crosses (before adding two more in the second half). If he’s only just now hitting a purple patch (5 goals, 1 assist in his last three starts), a few more timely goals could be the last piece of the Premier League and UEFA Champions League puzzle.
2. Writing on the wall for Watford: With five games left to play, Watford trail 17th-place Everton, who now have two games in hand, by seven points. Mathematically, the Hornets are still very much alive. Realistically, the club’s quick-to-fire owners are likely already putting together a shortlist of candidates to bring them back up from the EFL Championship next season. Two years ago when they were relegated (before coming straight back up), Ismaila Sarr was a raw 22-year-old prospect with one season of experience playing in England. Now, he’s a much more refined and polished 24-year-old with an impressive half-season in the Premier League on his resume. Translation: Watford won’t be keeping their star man this time around, making it a tougher first-time bounce-back.
3. Man City play first, pressure on Liverpool: Last week, Liverpool played (and won) on Saturday to go top of the table and put a bit of pressure on Man City to match their result. This week, it’s the defending champions who played on Saturday, thus putting the pressure squarely on Liverpool. It’s beginning to feel like whichever side drops points first (if either one of them actually do) will lose the title.
Man City vs Watford highlights
Gabriel Jesus turns a cross into an empty net for 1-0 (goal video)
Gabriel Jesus heads home Kevin De Bruyne’s brilliant cross (goal video)
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