Manchester City last night extended their lead at the top of the Premier League table to 15 points after beating Watford 3-1 at Etihad Stadium.
Raheem Sterling scored within 39 seconds against a limp Watford side, with Christian Kabasele’s own goal putting Pep Guardiola’s side in firm control within 13 minutes.
With Gabriel Jesus out for up to two months with a knee injury, Sergio Aguero provided a timely reminder of his quality with City’s third on the hour mark.
Marco Silva’s Watford did however get a late consolation, with Andre Gray netting nine minutes from time to put a slight doubt in City’s minds, but the hosts saw out the win to ensure they remain unbeaten in the 2017-18 League campaign.
The result did not seem in doubt from the moment Sterling prodded home the opener after just 38 seconds as Manchester City took complete charge of the game
Leroy Sane was the early inspiration, bursting down the left and pulling the ball back for the England international to tap in his 18th of the season.
It was as if City had been affronted by the Palace result and were determined to take it out on the Hornets yet again.
Moments later John Stones, back in the side after 12 games out injured, should have doubled the lead but he lofted a straightforward chance over.
City’s seemingly inevitable second goal came after 13 minutes, this time De Bruyne delivering from the right and the unfortunate Kabasele sliding in to flick the ball beyond Heurelho Gomes.
De Bruyne went close to netting the third himself as Gomes tipped his free-kick onto the bar.
Further chances came as De Bruyne twice picked out Aguero but the Argentinian was denied by Gomes while David Silva – returning after missing four of the last five games – blazed over.
Watford, to their credit, did carve out some good openings. The best of them fell to Gray after he was played through by Etienne Capoue, but Ederson diverted his low shot wide.
City came out after the break looking for more goals, with Aguero and Nicolas Otamendi heading wide.
It came as no surprise when City did make it 3-0, De Bruyne again causing trouble with a wicked ball from the right. Gomes could not keep hold and gifted a simple chance for Aguero to poke in.
De Bruyne’s efforts deserved a goal and he again went close to getting one with a low drive that flashed by the outside of the post. It proved his final act, however, as he was substituted moments later.
Watford were already doomed to their seventh defeat in nine games but at least had the final say when Andre Carillo crossed from the right and Gray turned in.
They also wanted a late penalty when Roberto Pereyra went down under an Otamendi challenge but nothing was given.