Saturday, 16 September 2017

Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero unstoppable as City thump Watford

Could the team that battered Liverpool 5-0 last Saturday and then strolled to a 4-0 victory against Dutch champions Feyenoord the following Wednesday get any better? You bet it could: A third stunning performance in seven days, this the best of the lot, laid down a marker for the season for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City. This was probably the club's best showing since he arrived (and for a good while before that), and things really look to be clicking into place. Make no mistake, Watford didn't play badly -- City just didn't let them play at all. Positives There are so many plus points Guardiola will take from this victory. Of course, the scoreline was emphatic and it demonstrates how the team are finding the solution to last season's problems of missing chances, but the performance with it was ridiculously good. Watford were chasing shadows when City had the ball, as through-balls found their targets time and again, while out of possession the visitors were able to pin their hosts back with an excellent high press. Maybe the biggest result of the last three games, though, is just how well Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus are linking up. Their partnership could be one of the most destructive in Premier League history. Negatives For the second game in a row, absolutely nothing went wrong. Manager rating out of 10 10 -- Guardiola again got everything spot on, from his initial selection and tactics, to his in-game management. Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating) GK Ederson Moraes, 7 -- The goalkeeper had a bit more to do than in the midweek win over Feyenoord, but was largely untroubled. He commanded his box well and looks a solid force behind a much sturdier defence. DF Kyle Walker, 8 -- The improvement on last season at full-back was again demonstrated by Walker's driving runs up and down the flank and his awareness to sweep up whatever Watford threw at him. He was dangerous on the attack and positionally excellent to keep the hosts quiet on the wing. DF John Stones, 9 -- With England coach Gareth Southgate watching, Stones couldn't have done much more to impress. His reading of the play was perfect, cutting out several passes both aerially and on the ground, and he was strong to stand up to the early threat of Andre Gray. On the ball, he looks more like a midfielder than a centre-back. DF Nicolas Otamendi, 8 -- The defender was never put under real pressure but did what he had to do in playing his part in City's third clean sheet in a row. It was a well-taken bullet header for his goal, too. DF Benjamin Mendy, 8 -- Even with the score 6-0, Mendy sprinted up and down the wing to offer the attack support. He was caught out once or twice defensively, but it caused City no issues. MF Fernandinho, 8 -- A dogged and determined performance from Fernandinho was a large part in keeping City on the front foot in the early stages. Every time Watford tried to get a foothold, the Brazilian was there to get the ball back. MF David Silva, 9 -- Another day, another game where Silva put on a show. He can spot things others can't and his ability to execute the pass at the right time, with the right weight, kept City on the front foot all afternoon. MF Kevin De Bruyne, 9 -- Once again, De Bruyne was the shining light in the middle. His vision and passing caused Watford problems every time he got on the ball, and he was a big part in the visitors controlling the match from the off. MF Raheem Sterling, 7 -- As much as he tried, things just didn't seem to come off for Sterling as he wanted, with his touch letting him down at times. He improved a lot towards the end, getting on the scoresheet with an emphatic penalty. FW Gabriel Jesus, 9 -- It was another accomplished performance from Jesus, who is showing real signs of developing a great partnership with Aguero. His movement was impressive, he has more strength than someone of his size should, and it was an exquisite finish for his goal. FW Sergio Aguero, 10 -- Has there ever been a better striker in the Premier League? Aguero was simply unstoppable. His positioning for the opener was perfect, his reading to get into position for his second was excellent and a sublime third goal, a sensational solo effort, was the icing on the cake. A perfect afternoon for the perfect player. Substitutes MF Bernardo Silva, 7 -- Replacing Jesus on 65 minutes, the midfielder kept the creative play going well. MF Ilkay Gundogan, 7 -- It was great to see the German back after a lengthy injury, as he came on for De Bruyne on 66 minutes. MF Leroy Sane, N/R -- Always a dangerous option, replacing Silva after 77 minutes.

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