A rout initiated by David Silva after 52 seconds showed one way Manchester City can negotiate having Aymeric Laporte and John Stones missing because injury: simply make it 5-0 by 18 minutes in and so nullify any concerns regarding being weakened in central defence.
Pep Guardiola’s men will, of course, have tougher challenges than bottom-placed Watford, who are yet to win this season. But when in this imperious mood most oppositions would struggle to contain the champions of the past two campaigns, who ended with a record league victory under the Catalan.
After Silva’s opener, Sergio Agüero (who has now scored in all opening six league games), Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva and Nicolás Otamendi all placed their name on the scoresheet in a start to the opening half that will be recalled for a while.
Following the break Bernardo scored twice more to make it 7-0 and De Bruyne hit a rocket past Ben Foster near the end and that made it a 35-3 aggregate to City in their past eight meetings with Watford. So comfortable were Guardiola’s men that Eric Garcia had been handed a Premier League debut after the seventh strike, the 18-year-old in effect third-choice centre-back behind Nicolás Otamendi, whom he replaced, and Fernandinho.
This had been only the second match of Quique Sánchez Flores’s second Watford tenure. It would be interesting to know what Javi Gracia, sacked despite taking the Hornets to the FA Cup final, will think when seeing this scoreline.