MANCHESTER (Reuters) – Manchester City issued the perfect response to their first domestic loss since January by posting their biggest-ever Premier League win as a bewildered Watford could not cope with the relentless champions on Saturday.
Defensive mistakes cost City dear last weekend as newly-promoted Norwich City subjected Pep Guardiola’s men to their first league defeat since they were beaten 2-1 by Newcastle United almost eight months ago.
That result got City’s competitive fires burning as they won their final 14 league games to clinch a second successive Premier League title.
The champions were expected to fight back following last week’s defeat and Watford were powerless to stop a rampaging City.
City took just 52 seconds to get off the mark, with the superb Kevin De Bruyne unlocking Watford with a sublime pass for David Silva to break the deadlock.
Further goals from Sergio Aguero, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva and Nicolas Otamendi gave City a 5-0 lead in under 18 minutes — the fastest a team has scored five times in Premier League history.
Watford were forced to bring on an extra defender just after the half hour mark. They got a brief reprieve until the 48th minute but even after that sixth goal from Bernardo Silva, City kept on punishing helpless Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster.
City had 28 shots at goal, 14 in each half.
After Bernardo Silva had completed his hat-trick and De Bruyne had added a eighth, City kept up the pressure as they chased Manchester United’s record victory margin in the Premier League — a 9-0 win over Ipswich Town in 1995.
Riyad Mahrez and De Bruyne both had good chances to score City’s ninth but in the end they fell one short.
“What I like the most is normally when it’s 5-0 at halftime the second half is not serious,” Guardiola said. “It’s boring but we did the opposite and we were more aggressive and made a very good second half.
“The same feeling I have now I had after Norwich so it was not a bad performance. We can lose the games but the important thing is the approach and how we react.”
City could still finish the weekend five points behind leaders Liverpool, should the league leaders continue their 100% start with victory at Chelsea on Sunday.