Before last weekend, Manchester City had only dropped two points in a controversial tie with Tottenham Hotspur. With summer signings Rodrigo, Cancelo, and Angeliño, City looked set to take the Premier League by storm once again. Despite these signings, the Sky Blues have struggled lately with a very thin defensive line. Norwich City exposed this issue last weekend, upsetting Man City 3-2 on matchday five.
Kenny McLean shocked the Citizens before Todd Cantwell added to Norwich’s lead. The Canaries’ shocking two-goal lead sent Carrow Road into a frenzy. A first-half stoppage-time header from Agüero cut City’s deficit in half. Five minutes into the second half, Teemu Pukki continued his amazing goal-run, adding to the Norwich’s lead. This goal was avoidable with Otamendi’s lack of awareness off of a six-kick leading to him being stripped of the ball inside of the 18-yard-box before Pukki slotted one home.
This loss gave Liverpool a five-point lead over the defending champions after their win against Newcastle United. Guardiola acknowledges the fact that, with its many injuries, his team is lacking depth defensively, but believes his side has nothing to worry about if they continue to play like the last two seasons. City showed their resilience, traveling to Kharkiv, defeating Ukrainian-side Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0 in UEFA Champions League matchday one.
City started their Premier League comeback against Watford at the Etihad Saturday morning. The Hornets have struggled in the past against the Sky Blues, getting steamrolled match after match.
52 Seconds Into the Game: David Silva started the scoring for City off a sublime pass from Kevin De Bruyne. The Citizens were not finished celebrating when Ederson was forced to save a well-driven shot by Gerard Deulofeu.
In the 7th minute: Kevin De Bruyne raced down the pitch passing to Riyad Mahrez, who was taken down by Ben Foster in the box for a clear penalty. Manchester City’s all-time leading goal scorer Sergio Agüero calmly placed his penalty kick down the middle, sending the keeper the wrong way, scoring his 8th goal in six games.
In the 12th minute: Mahrez dribbled through the Hornets defense before being fouled outside of the box. Stepping up to take the free-kick, Mahrez’s shot deflected off Tom Cleverly’s head to give City a three-goal lead.
Three minutes later: De Bruyne whipped in one of his signature crosses, which was nodded across the box by Otamendi to Bernardo Silva, who scored a header at the back post.
In the 18th minute: The Premier League record for the fastest five goals scored in a game was broken by Man City. Agüero drove down the flank driving in a low cross that Otamendi pounced on at the back post. City’s merciless attack gave the fans something special for the club’s 125th anniversary.
City let their foot off the gas the rest of the half, riding a five-goal lead heading into the half. Watford reluctantly brought on an extra defender after 30 minutes.
In the 48th minute: It did not take long for City to find the back of the net again; Bernardo Silva added his second goal of the game, with some assistance from his namesake, David Silva.
On the hour mark: Mahrez played a beautiful pass to De Bruyne, who claimed yet another assist as Bernardo Silva poked in the low cross to finish off his hat-trick. Bernardo Silva is the third Portuguese player to score a hat-trick after Cristiano Ronaldo and Diogo Jota.
In the 63rd minute: Pep brought on youngster Eric Garcia for a brief appearance. Given time, Garcia may become a starter in City’s injury-ridden defense.
With 5 minutes left: De Bruyne gave the Sky Blues their biggest Premier League win. His laser of a shot beat the keeper to give City an 8-0 lead.
After Saturday’s win, City have gone on to beat the Hornets in twelve successive games. They have scored an impressive 33 goals in their last seven games against Watford. Bernardo Silva continued his meteoric rise to stardom with the Sky Blues. His consistent mesmerizing play with the ball has instilled fear in the eyes of his opponents.
The Citizens’ next test is Preston North End, who they will travel to on Tuesday to start their Carabao Cup defense. Next Saturday, Man City will take on Everton at Goodison Park in a Premier League battle.
The Sky Blues are looking to close the game on front-runners Liverpool, who are in search of their first top-flight title in almost 30 years.
Image Credits: Manchester City Media