Manchester City are without a doubt one of the top footballing sides in the world, helped by their recently record-breaking €1bn squad. Watford, meanwhile, are in a state of collapse, having seen their fairly good form from last season entirely crumble away and begin this new campaign in freefall. Returning manage Quique Sanchez Flores stood as the latest attempt to steady a sinking ship.
In other words, this meeting was always going to go one way. The Premier League champions were never going to be in doubt over winning this game – there wasn’t going to be a shock on the cards, like the week prior to Norwich.
However, even with all that already preordained before kick off, few could have predicted the ruthless efficiency with which Manchester City went about dismantling and decimating their opponents. Watford’s struggles at doing even the basics of football certainly invited on the misery, but it still takes a side something special to score five goals inside the opening 20 minutes of a top division game.
Within 60 seconds, a glorious cross from Kevin de Bruyne allowed David Silva to slide home the opening goal. It was a message to the Watford players – a demonstration of what was to come, should they fail to defend.
And they did fail to do just that. Goalkeeper Ben Foster brought down Riyad Mahrez in the box as Manchester City continued to pile forwards, with Sergio Aguero making no mistakes from the penalty spot.
Mahrez himself had one in the 12th minute, before Bernardo Silva seized on some woeful defending from a corner to head home unchallenged from the edge of the six yard box.
Nicolas Otamendi got in on the act three minutes later, sliding in an Aguero cross after Manchester City’s quick free kick ripped open the Watford defence once more – if they could be described as such.
After netting five inside 20 minutes, Manchester City slowed their romp. They still carved open Watford time and time again, but there was less need for urgency.
New Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores looked as if he wanted the ground to open up and swallow him whole.
After the interval, Manchester City pounced again. Bernardo Silva had a second of the evening after just 48 minutes, before rounding off his hat-trick at the hour mark. The Portuguese forward almost looked embarrassed for his opponents, having scored even despite an initial awful touch.
Kevin de Bruyne rounded off the scoring with a thunderbolt worthy of finishing off such a performance, but in truth Manchester City had enough chances to have doubled their scoreline. Aguero missed countless gilt-edge chances to score more than his one goal.
It was sheer dominance from the champions, as Watford collapsed.