Manchester City clinch third spot with comprehensive win at Watford

Manchester City clinched third place with a comprehensive 5-0 victory against Watford at Vicarage Road.

The visitors took an early lead via captain Vincent Kompany, who sent a headed effort beyond Gomes inside five minutes.

Aguero grabbed a brace to extend the sky blues lead to three goals and Fernandinho rounded off their first half goal rout with a close range finish.

Gabriel Jesus scored his seventh goal in ten Premier League appearances to complete a comfortable victory and clinch Manchester City’s spot in next season’s Champions League.

Walter Mazzarri, who was sacked by Watford on Wednesday, concluded a dismal spell at Vicarage Road in dismal fashion with a sixth consecutive league defeat.

Today’s loss against Manchester City, meant Watford have endured their worst consecutive run of league defeats in 44 years.

Pep’s City Tore Watford to Pieces

The hornets have been struck with a mass amount of injuries in the closing stages of the season. Defenders Adrian Mariappa, Younes Kaboul, Craig Cathcart, Miguel Britos and Christian Kabasele were all unavailable this afternoon.

Watford started with a back-four that consisted of Daryl Janmaat, Velon Behrami, Jose Holebas and Brandon Mason. Swiss international Behrami is traditionally a central midfielder and Holebas is more suited to the left-back position.

It was a huge dilemma for Italian manager Mazzarri to deal with in his final game in charge of the club. It was exacerbated on the brink of half-time when former Newcastle full-back Janmaat sustained a knock and was also forced to depart the pitch.

The defensive problems were evident and Manchester City exploited this in tremendous style. Sergio Aguero was stationed inside the gaps created by Watford’s unfamiliar defensive line and the magical feet and imaginative minds of De Bruyne and Silva bamboozled their inexperienced team.

Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus created further problems by utilizing their pace to threaten the hosts. It was a lethargic and embarrassing performance at Vicarage Road from the home side and they recorded a deserved demoralizing drubbing from Pep Guardiola’s men.

Are Manchester City finally playing the Pep way?

This season has been a rollercoaster for Manchester City but only a fool would argue that they haven’t improved in the second half of the season. The sky blues have suffered just one defeat in their last 17 games in the Premier League.

They’ve also won their last four league games, scoring 15 goals and conceding on only two occasions. Fernandinho has been dropped into the right-back position, being preferred to Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna.

The return of David Silva has enhanced their attacking threat and the combined talent of the Spaniard himself and Kevin De Bruyne has been chaotic for other Premier League defences. Yaya Toure has overcome being dropped at the beginning of the season and had a positive impact on the team. Whereas, Silva has been given the license to freely roam in midfield, De Bruyne’s role is to penetrate the ball forward from deep positions.

It’s an unfamiliar role for the Belgian but he’s proved his ability by transferring roles very comfortably. Both Yaya Toure and Kevin De Bruyne are key at driving the ball forward and the high line, which has caused problems for Manchester City, is being executed in a much more efficient manner.

In February, the place of the forward role was being debated between Sergio Aguero and young wonderkid Gabriel Jesus. Recently we’ve seen the Argentine and Brazilian form a lethal striking partnership, which surely erases every rumour surrounding Aguero’s future.

They exploited Watford’s weakened defence with ease and weaved the ball into the free space quickly and with subsequent destructiveness. The future looks bright under Pep Guardiola, especially considering the Spaniard is likely to invest a colossal amount in the summer transfer window.

Starting Line-Ups & Player Ratings

Watford (4-3-3)
Gomes (5), Janmaat (3), Behrami (3), Holebas (4), Mason (4), Cleverly (4), Doucoure (3), Amrabat (3), Capoue (5), Niang (3) & Okaka (4). Subs: Deeney (4 – On 59′ for Amrabat), Eleftheriou (4 – On 39′ for Janmaat) & Pereira (3 – On 74′ for Niang)

Manchester City (4-2-3-1)
Caballero (6), Fernandinho (7), Kompany (7), Otamendi (6), Clichy (6), Toure (7), De Bruyne (8), Jesus (8), Silva (7), Sane (7) & Aguero (9). Subs: Sagna (5 – On 63′ for Toure), Navas (5 – On for Sane) & Iheanacho (5 – On for Aguero 71′).

Man of the Match

Sergio Aguero – Manchester City

If you look at every Manchester City player today, you couldn’t pick a player who’d had a poor afternoon. The defence was rarely tested but remained composed and organized when forced into action.

De Bruyne was another outstanding performer, driving the ball forward from a deep-lying position with catastrophic effect for Watford. Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus continuously peeled off the full-back to utilize their pace but Aguero was unarguably the most outstanding player on the pitch.

The Argentine striker scored twice at Vicarage Road and Watford’s defence were incapable of dealing with him. He pressed high and appeared in every available space to exploit the opponents.

He was unfortunate to be substituted with 19 minutes remaining, as he was unable to complete his hat-trick. His injury problems have been a dilemma once again this season but surely his future is secure at Manchester City.

Aguero is an established goal scorer and having Gabriel Jesus to combine with only makes the team strongly. Also, if Aguero does sustain injuries once again next season, they will have the firepower of Gabriel Jesus to replace him.

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