Manchester City surged to the top of the table after breezing to a commanding 3-1 victory over Watford on Saturday.
Chelsea’s loss to West Ham United earlier on in the day had handed City the chance to move top should they win at Vicarage Road, with that outcome looking increasingly likely after a rampant start from the visitors.
An early onslaught saw Joao Pedro clear Aymeric Laporte’s effort off the line, before Raheem Sterling continued his recent goalscoring form with a well-taken header from Phil Foden’s cross, having been afforded the freedom of the penalty area.
The Hornets had impressed in the recent win over Manchester United and even in their defeat against Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea side in midweek, although looked resigned to a 14th successive defeat in all competitions in this fixture, as Jack Grealish squandered a succession of chances to inflict even more early damage.
Those misses looked as if they could potentially come back to bite the former Aston Villa man as the hosts started to build a bit of momentum, although any hopes of a comeback were dashed on the half-hour mark as the in-form Bernardo Silva fired in from the angle after an excellent, sweeping team move.
Heading into the second half, Sterling was then denied a second at the end of another blistering counter by the impressive Daniel Bachmann, with the Austrian stopper having been pivotal in keeping the scoreline respectable.
To their credit the home side had put up more of a fight after the interval, although Man City remained devastating in attack, eventually adding a third through their current talisman Silva, the Portuguese playmaker cutting in onto his left foot and curling an effort into the top corner with ease.
🗣 "He danced inside and curled it deliciously into the top corner!"
Two for Bernardo Silva 🔥
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 4, 2021
Despite a few late nerves as Pedro pulled a goal back, City saw the game out to secure what was a hugely convincing three points to move a point above Liverpool at the summit, while for Watford it is now six defeats in eight games under Claudio Ranieri.
Speaking after the match, two-goal hero Silva insisted it is ‘still early’ in what is shaping up to be a ‘tough’ title race, although he admitted that City are ‘happy’ with taking top spot.
“It was definitely a very good job in the first half,” he told Sky Sports. “The team started very well, creating chances and not allowing them to counter-attack. We scored two in the first half but should have scored more.
“It’s always better to be top of the league than second, third or fourth, but it’s still early. It’s so close – Liverpool are just one point behind us, Chelsea are two points behind us.
“Liverpool and Chelsea are having an amazing season. It’s tough for us to compete with each other. We know the level and standards are very high. We know how tough it is to win the most competitive league in the world. We’re going to try our best, like we always do.
“This season I’ve been scoring a lot and I’ll try to keep it that way. What matters is that we’re top of the league now and the team are doing very well at the moment. At the end of the season we want to celebrate some titles.
“My first four goals this season were all tap-ins. My last few goals have been quite good, but it doesn’t matter – what matters is putting the ball in the back of the net. I’m happy to help the team.
“We know we don’t have a striker. We have a lot of players who try to get in the box and finish. We try to put numbers in the box. If we arrive in the box, we’re going to score goals.
“We’re happy with the moment and happy with our form. We have to keep working because this season is going to be very tough.”
Man City take on RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Tuesday night, before they host Wolves next Sunday.
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