Manchester City put their Norwich nightmare firmly behind them as they blew away Watford with a blistering performance at the Etihad. The revitalised hosts stormed into a 5-0 lead with just 18 minutes on the clock and never looked back, as Pep Guardiola’s side cruised to an 8-0 win and recorded their biggest ever Premier League victory.

Positives

What a difference a week makes. The Premier League champions produced a dazzling performance in the Manchester sunshine with Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez all unplayable. The hosts also recorded a vital clean sheet that will help to instil some much-needed confidence in their rejigged back four. Make no mistake about it, this was a real statement of intent to City’s title rivals.

Negatives

It was an attacking masterclass from City, but there were still glimpses of defensive frailties at the back. Benjamin Mendy looked far from match fit and Guardiola will be hopeful that the left-back will recover quickly with the club’s defensive options already stretched.

Manager rating (out of 10)

9 — Guardiola got his changes spot on. He was left with a selection dilemma as to who would partner Nicolas Otamendi at centre-back but opted for Fernandinho over his youthful defensive options. The Brazilian midfielder put in a commanding performance in the heart of City’s defence, while Mahrez threatened to run riot early on having being brought in for Raheem Sterling in attack. Guardiola also recalled De Bruyne following a display lacking in creativity at Norwich, and the classy midfielder produced another breathtaking performance as City romped to victory.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Ederson, 5 — A quiet afternoon for the City goalkeeper. Perhaps a little fortunate not to lose his clean sheet when Roberto Pereyra managed to jink past him, but was rescued by Otamendi.

DF Kyle Walker, 6 — Barely had anything to do in the first-half. Fizzed a long-range shot just wide after the break and played a sensational cross-field ball before departing for Joao Cancelo in the 54th minute.

DF Fernandinho, 7 — Put in a solid performance playing out of his natural position. Read the game superbly and never looked out of his depth.

DF Nicolas Otamendi 6 — Naively went to ground too easily as Watford almost levelled the scores at 1-0. But he more than redeemed himself by sliding in at the back post to make it 5-0. Replaced by Eric Garcia in the 63rd minute.

DF Benjamin Mendy, 5 — Looked off the pace, but it’s been a busy week for the full-back after a lengthy absence. Replaced by Angelino at half-time.

MF Kevin De Bruyne, 10 — It’s De Bruyne’s world and we’re all just living in it. It took the Belgium midfielder just 63 seconds to unlock Watford’s back four in another phenomenal outing. Tricked us into thinking he was human when he sliced an ambitious effort well wide, before hammering City’s home City’s eighth in style.

MF Rodri, 7 — A vital cog in a frightening City midfield. Another positive display in what’s shaping up to be an impressive debut Premier League season.

MF David Silva, 7 — Opened the scoring with just a minute on the clock. The Premier League will be a worse place without him next season if he departs.

MF Bernardo Silva, 10 — Doesn’t seem to have an off button. Produced another tireless, industrious display and was excellent value for his hat trick.

MF Riyad Mahrez, 8 — Caused the Watford defence countless problems from the first whistle. Did brilliantly to nick the ball away from Ben Foster and win his side a penalty, then got the goal he deserved through a deflected free-kick and was unlucky to see a header rattle the crossbar after the break.

FW Sergio Aguero, 9 — Didn’t get the rewards his fantastic performance deserved. Could have easily added another four or five goals to his already record-breaking tally.

Substitutes

DF Angelino, 5 — Came on for Mendy in the 45th minute. Looked comfortable on the left but didn’t really have to break a sweat in the Lancashire sun.

DF Joao Cancelo, 5 — Came on for Walker in the 54th minute. Enjoyed a quiet afternoon as City ran riot.

DF Eric GarcIa 5 — Came on for Otamendi in the 63rd minute. Barely touched the ball, but enjoyed an afternoon to remember on his Premier League debut.

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