Raheem Sterling has scored 11 goals in his professional club career against Watford
Reigning champions Manchester City moved top of the Premier League for the first time this season with a dominant win over struggling Watford.
Raheem Sterling headed City ahead after only four minutes, when free at the back post to meet Phil Foden's excellent cross from the left.
The hosts were repeatedly ripped apart by City's movement, passing and creativity and only a number of saves from goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann kept the score down to one goal in the first 30 minutes.
But City got a well-deserved second as Bachmann denied Ilkay Gundogan, but the rebound fell to Bernardo Silva, who showed excellent skill to beat two defenders and finish well from a tight angle.
Silva then grabbed his second and City's third, cutting in from the right side of the penalty area and curling a fine finish past Bachmann.
Cucho Hernandez pulled one back for Watford, following in to convert a rebound after his first strike had hit the foot of the post.
After 15 matches, City - title winners in five of the past 10 seasons - are a point ahead of Liverpool.
Chelsea began the day as leaders, but are now a point behind the Reds in third place, after losing 3-2 to fourth-placed West Ham.
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Six points from eight games under Ranieri
For Watford, this was a sixth defeat in eight matches under Claudio Ranieri, albeit from an incredibly tough run, including encounters against five of the current top seven.
They performed excellently to win 5-2 at Everton and 4-1 against Manchester United in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's last match in charge of the Red Devils, but have only picked up six points since Ranieri replaced the sacked Xisco Munoz in October.
Ranieri received a hero's reception at Leicester last Sunday in a return to the King Power Stadium where he had led the Foxes to the Premier League title in 2015-16.
But, just as in that match where they lost 4-2, the Hornets' defensive problems were on display and only fine goalkeeping from Bachmann denied City a hatful of first-half goals.
Goalscorer Sterling also had another effort saved, Jack Grealish - back in the starting line-up for the first time in a month after injury - was denied three times and Joao Cancelo fired wide as Watford were outclassed.
After Silva doubled the visitors' lead in the 31st minute it became a question of how many City would score.
Sterling is now on 99 Premier League goals and had a chance to reach his century, but had an effort palmed away by Bachmann, who also fingertipped a Foden drive onto the post.
The chances kept coming for City with Gundogan shooting over, before Silva's second goal - and seventh of the season - came in the 63rd minute.
Grealish also had a strike deflected onto the crossbar, Bachmann saved from Aymeric Laporte, before substitute Hernandez claimed Watford's consolation in the 74th minute.
Player of the match
Bernardo SilvaBernardo Silva
with an average of 8.83
- WatfordWatfordWatfordMan CityManchester CityManchester City
WatfordAvgSquad number26Player nameBachmannAverage rating
Squad number8Player nameCleverleyAverage rating
Squad number29Player nameCucho HernándezAverage rating
Squad number25Player nameDennisAverage rating
Squad number19Player nameSissokoAverage rating
Squad number21Player nameKiko FemeníaAverage rating
Squad number10Player nameJoão PedroAverage rating
Squad number5Player nameTroost-EkongAverage rating
Squad number33Player nameKuckaAverage rating
Squad number7Player nameKingAverage rating
Squad number6Player nameLouzaAverage rating
Squad number15Player nameCathcartAverage rating
Squad number2Player nameNgakiaAverage rating
Squad number3Player nameRoseAverage rating
Manchester CityAvgSquad number20Player nameBernardo SilvaAverage rating
Squad number10Player nameGrealishAverage rating
Squad number47Player nameFodenAverage rating
Squad number27Player nameJoão CanceloAverage rating
Squad number8Player nameGündoganAverage rating
Squad number3Player nameRúben DiasAverage rating
Squad number2Player nameWalkerAverage rating
Squad number16Player nameRodriAverage rating
Squad number31Player nameEdersonAverage rating
Squad number14Player nameLaporteAverage rating
Squad number9Player nameGabriel JesusAverage rating
Squad number17Player nameDe BruyneAverage rating
Squad number26Player nameMahrezAverage rating
Squad number7Player nameSterlingAverage rating
- Line-upsMatch StatsLive Text
- 26Bachmann21Femenía5Troost-Ekong15CathcartBooked at 85mins3RoseBooked at 31minsSubstituted forNgakiaat 71'minutes6LouzaSubstituted forHernándezat 45'minutes25Dennis8CleverleySubstituted forKuckaat 45'minutes19Sissoko10João Pedro7KingBooked at 7mins
31Ederson2Walker3Rúben Dias14Laporte27Cancelo8Gündogan16Rodri20Bernardo Silva7Sterling10Grealish47Foden
- 31Ederson2Walker3Rúben Dias14Laporte27Cancelo8GündoganSubstituted forDe Bruyneat 67'minutes16Rodri20Bernardo Silva7Sterling10GrealishSubstituted forMahrezat 68'minutes47FodenSubstituted forGabriel Jesusat 75'minutes
- 5Stones6Aké9Gabriel Jesus11Zinchenko13Steffen17De Bruyne25Fernandinho26Mahrez33Carson
Referee:Simon HooperAttendance:20,673Match StatsHome TeamWatfordAway TeamMan CityPossessionHome23%Away77%ShotsHome11Away26Shots on TargetHome4Away13CornersHome5Away11FoulsHome10Away7Live TextPost update
Match ends, Watford 1, Manchester City 3.
Second Half ends, Watford 1, Manchester City 3.
Attempt missed. Jeremy Ngakia (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Cucho Hernández with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Rúben Dias.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Kevin De Bruyne.
Attempt saved. João Cancelo (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Kevin De Bruyne.
Foul by Bernardo Silva (Manchester City).
Cucho Hernández (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt missed. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Riyad Mahrez.
Craig Cathcart (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Craig Cathcart (Watford).
Attempt blocked. Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Gabriel Jesus.
Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by William Troost-Ekong.
Attempt blocked. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Bernardo Silva.
Foul by Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).
Kiko Femenía (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Bernardo Silva.
Attempt missed. Joshua King (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Cucho Hernández with a cross.
Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
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