Man City 3-1 Watford: Raheem Sterling nets quickest goal of season in routine victory
Last Updated: 03/01/18 7:51am
Raheem Sterling scored the fastest goal of the Premier League season as Manchester City got back to winning ways with a 3-1 win over Watford on Tuesday.
City were denied maximum points for the first time since August against Crystal Palace on New Year's Eve but started 2018 in blistering fashion as Sterling scored after just 38 seconds.
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With Kevin De Bruyne surprisingly fit to start after being stretchered off at Palace and John Stones and David Silva back in the team, City netted further goals courtesy of a Christian Kabasele own goal (13) and Sergio Aguero (63).
Watford, who grabbed a late consolation from Andre Gray (83), have now just won one of their last nine matches and although they sit 10th are just five points above the drop zone.
Man City: Ederson (6), Walker (6), Stones (7), Otamendi (6), Delph (7), Fernandinho (8), De Bruyne (8), D.Silva (8), Sterling (7), Sane (8), Aguero (7)
Subs: Toure (6), Danilo (6)
Watford: Gomes (5), Janmaat (6), Wagué (6), Zeegelaar (3), Capoue (6), Carrillo (5), Kabasele (4), Watson (5), Doucoure (6), Richarlison (6), Gray (6).
Subs: Sinclair (6), Pereya (6), Cleverley (6)
Man of the Match: Kevin de Bruyne
Leroy Sane set the tone early on with a fantastic run down the left and his cross was tapped home by Sterling for his 18th goal of the season.
Stones, back in the side after 12 games out injured, should have doubled the lead on five minutes but ballooned a chance over from close range.
Pep Guardiola made five changes with John Stones, Fabian Delph, David Silva, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero all coming in. There were two changes for Watford from their late reverse against Swansea with Andre Gray and Etienne Capoue replacing Stefano Okaka and Tom Cleverley.
The second goal came on 13 minutes when De Bruyne delivered from the right and the unfortunate Kabasele slid the ball into his own net.
Further chances were created by the hosts as De Bruyne curled a free-kick off the crossbar and Silva - returning after missing four of the last five games - blazed over.
City made it 3-0 after the break when De Bruyne fizzed in a delivery that was too hot for Heurelho Gomes to handle and Aguero poked in.
Watford at least had the final say when Andre Carillo crossed from the right and Gray tuned it home.
Man of the match: Kevin De Bruyne
What a boost his inclusion must have been for his team-mates at kick-off. He bossed this game from start to finish in typically classy fashion. It was his cross that forced the own-goal and another wicked delivery from the Belgian led to Aguero's strike. His right boot is a thing of beauty.
- Since he took charge of his first away Premier League game on January 22 last year, Marco Silva has lost more away Premier League games than any other manager (13).
- Sterling's goal after 38 seconds was Man City's third fastest goal in Premier League history, behind Jesus Navas against Spurs in November 2013 (13 seconds) and Geovanni against Wigan in December 2007 (29 seconds).
- Aguero has only scored more goals against Newcastle United (11) in all competitions for City than he has against Watford (10).
Pep Guardiola: "It was excellent, brilliant. We started really good and the second half was really good again. It was a good reaction after dropping points at Selhurst Park. We faced this team really well. Three more points, simple as that.
"We created lots of chances to score five or six, but it wasn't to be. The aim is to be better than the opponent in every game and we did it."
Marco Silva: "What I can say now is to come here, compete and do our best to take a good result when you start a game like this. We weren't aggressive in our defence, it was too easy for them. The first 25 minutes we were too slow and we knew before the match they would push our team back."
Pundit reaction - Charlie Nicholas
"It should have been more, in all honesty. City were in second gear and went into third when it suited them. It was a comfortable win despite Gray's consolation at the end and I think Pep will be chuffed to bits. I know it's his second season but he's not used to all these fixtures. It's a continuation of last year."
City start their pursuit of an FA Cup triumph against Burnley on Saturday while Watford face Bristol City for a place in round four.
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