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Watford vs Manchester City final score: Defending champs go top again

Manchester City weren't at their rampant best at Vicarage Road, but they had more than enough quality to breeze to a 3-1 victory against Watford and jump atop the Premier League.

Watford vs Manchester City: The defending Premier League champions hardly broke a sweat as Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva powered Pep Guardiola’s side to a 3-1 romp at Vicarage Road on Saturday.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in USA ]

The victory sends Manchester City (35 points) top of the table, a point above Liverpool, after Chelsea were beaten 3-2 by West Ham earlier on Saturday. It’s not the first, and won’t be the last, time the title lead changes hands this season.

Watford vs Manchester City final score, stats, results

Final score: Watford 1, Manchester City 3

Goal scorers: Watford (Hernandez 74'), Manchester City (Sterling 4', Silva 31', 63')

Shots: Watford 10, Manchester City 26

Shots on target: Watford 4, Manchester City 13

Possession: Watford 23%, Manchester City 77%

3 things we learned - Watford vs Manchester City

1. When they look like Barcelona (re-post): Every few games game these days, Manchester City will do something — it can be as small as a single passage of play, or as large as a suffocatingly dominant possession performance where you ask yourself, half-seriously, “Have they perfected football?” — to trick you into thinking you’re watching Guardiola’s peak Barcelona side from early last decade. There’s an effortlessness to the way they operate, when they’re in full flow, it’s a sight to be hold. Anyway, (another) one of those flash-in-the-pan moments occurred on Wednesday Saturday.

2. Watford trending the wrong direction: It’s been something of a feast-or-famine campaign for Watford (13 points from 15 games), who are already on their second manager of the season and once again find themselves next door to the relegation zone. At the same time, the Hornets are in the midst of what must feel like an impossible run of fixtures (Arsenal away, Manchester United home, Leicester away, Chelsea home, Manchester City home). The difficulty decreases significantly as the festive fixtures quickly approach. Brentford, Burnley and Crystal Palace are all ripe for picking, before West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur come calling to finish 2021 and begin 2022.

3. Grealish still finding his way at Man City: Jack Grealish has just one goal and two assists since moving to Manchester City for $140 million in the summer, but Guardiola and Co., are hardly frustrated or trying to hurry him along as he comes to grips with the new tactical setup in which he operates. Commentators Arlo White and Graeme Le Saux mentioned in the first half that Guardiola expected Grealish would take time to adjust to life in Manchester, where he is no long the only fish in a small pond, but one of many in the vast ocean. For as long as Guardiola remains patient and understanding that his system is incredibly complex and often asks its biggest stars to make significant sacrifices, and Grealish shows he’s making progress, things should turn out well in the end.

Man of the Match: Bernardo Silva - Two more goals and a constant terror down the left, center and right of Watford’s defense, Silva has begun to build his case for Player of the Season.

Watford vs Manchester City highlights

Raheem Sterling heads home the opening goal for Man City (video)

The possession was slick and suffocating, as it usually is with Manchester City, and Watford were completely helpless to stop the opening goal in the 4th minute. Phil Foden’s cross was fantastic, but it hardly needed to be given the amount of space Sterling found himself in.

Bernardo Silva slots home the rebound for 2-0 (goal video)

Just as Watford had begun to grow into the game and pose a respectable threat at one end of the field, Manchester City raced down the other end and, despite goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann’s best efforts, doubled their lead.

[ VIDEO: PL highlights ]

Bernardo Silva cuts inside and curls a beauty home for 3-0 (goal video)

That’s five goals in five Premier League games for Silva, who has taken upon himself (7 PL goals this season) to shoulder the scoring load without a recognized center forward in the team.

Cucho Hernandez pulls a goal back for Watford (video)

It meant very little in terms of the result, but Watford getting a goal from someone other than Ismaila Sarr, who’s currently injured, Emmanuel Dennis or Joshua King (16 of Watford’s 19 goals this season) is, at the very least, notable.

Follow @AndyEdMLS