English Premier League
Result: Manchester City 3-1 Watford
Date: 2 December 2017
Venue: Etihad Stadium
Runaway leaders Manchester City returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a 3-1 win over Watford at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night.
The hosts flew out of the blocks and opened the scoring 38 seconds in. Leroy Sané put in a low cross from the left for Raheem Sterling to slot home.
They should have been 2-0 up four minutes later, but John Stones fired over the bar from close range after receiving a pull-back from Sané which was almost a carbon copy of his early assist.
However, Watford could only hold out until the 13th minute, when Kevin de Bruyne’s low ball in from the right was turned into the net by Christian Kabasele, who was doing everything in his power to prevent the lurking Sergio Agüero from tapping in.
Four minutes afterwards, de Bruyne would have had a goal of his own but for a flying save from Heurelho Gomes, who tipped his free-kick onto the crossbar. City could arguably have been awarded a penalty due to a possible handball from Etienne Capoue in the wall, but the Hornets escaped.
Watford did have their chances at the other end, with Andre Gray twice getting in behind the City defence within the opening half hour. However, Ederson saved both his efforts at goal from there.
The Hornets would have had hearts in mouths when Agüero went down in the penalty area in the 57th minute, claiming to have been fouled by Molla Wagué. However, referee Lee Mason was unmoved.
Nevertheless, City all but put the game to bed six minutes later, when Gomes spilled a de Bruyne cross into Agüero’s path, leaving him with the simplest of finishes. The goal could arguably have been ruled out for offside, but this time, the Argentine got the benefit of the doubt.
Watford refused to lie down and were rewarded in the 82nd minute, when Gray tapped in for a late goal after receiving a low cross from André Carrillo on the left.
The Hornets could have been handed a lifeline early on in stoppage time, when Nicolás Otamendi appeared to trip Roberto Pereyra in the penalty area, but Mason declined to award a spot-kick.
Despite their determination, it was too late for Marco Silva’s side to find a way back as City recovered from their disappointing 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace.