Gabriel Jesus netted four goals to ease Manchester City to a 5-1 win to maintain their position at the top of the Premier League with five games remaining.
Pep Guardiola warned in midweek that Manchester City would have to win all of their remaining games in order to pip Liverpool to the title, and his side got straight down to work in what was a comfortable victory.
The Citizens got off to a rapid start and took the lead inside the opening four minutes. Joao Cancelo’s cross from the right went all the way through to Oleksandr Zinchenko on the opposite side, the Ukrainian finding himself in acres of space as he picked out Gabriel Jesus in the box who stabbed the ball home.
It was 2-0 in the 24th minute as Kevin de Bruyne whipped in a typically wonderful, inch-perfect delivery from the right, finding the head of Jesus who nodded home from close range for his second of the game.
The relegation-threatened Hornets did, however, pull one back before the half-hour mark, left-back Hassane Kamara going on a surging, underlapping run to receive the ball unmarked in the box, before drilling the ball low across Ederson who will feel he could have perhaps done better to keep it out.
City restored their two-goal advantage quickly after though, midfielder Rodri bringing the ball down on his chest before striking a thundering effort into the top corner from 20 yards.
The goals continued to flow in the second half, Jesus completing his first Premier League hat-trick from the penalty spot after he had been brought down by Ben Foster.
The Brazilian – who has been linked with a summer move to Arsenal – then netted his fourth of the afternoon, driving forward, playing a one-two with De Bruyne before lashing the ball past the Watford ‘keeper.
Speaking after the game, four-goal hero Jesus was clearly delighted with his contribution and the three points.
“Today was my day. We played very good today, we created a lot of chances, that’s what we need to do,” he told Sky Sports.
Gabriel Jesus' game by numbers vs Watford:
• 85% pass accuracy (34/40)
• 61 total touches
• 7 ball recoveries
• 4 goals scored
• 3 chances created
• 1 penalty won
• 1 assist
90 minutes played, 5 goal contributions…😵🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/96Cyy1Va38
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 23, 2022
“We made passes and passes to create chances and try to score, and today we were very good on the finishing.
“It was my first hat-trick in the Premier League. I’ve tried. Sometimes I’ve scored two then I’ve hit a post, the defender has blocked [my shot], or the keeper has saved, but today was my day.
“I’m very happy with the three points. The team played so good and we deserved it.”
The ever-creative force that is Kevin de Bruyne added another two assists to his impressive tally, and Jesus was full of praise for the Belgian playmaker.
“He’s an amazing player, always trying to put the ball in the box. When I’m playing on the right side I do as well, but he does it better than me of course.
“Always when he has the ball I try to go in the area to finish and today I was happy he gave a very good cross and I could head it in.”
The win moves City four points clear of Liverpool ahead of their game against Everton on Sunday and Jesus said he and his teammates simply need to focus on themselves.
“We have to do our job, not look to them. We know they have a lot of amazing players and can win all the games. We are in front and, of course, it’s not easy but we have to do our job.”
Next up for City is the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid on Tuesday, before they take a trip across the Pennines to take on Leeds next weekend.
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