Sterling on the scoresheet as City's impeccable start to the season continues
FA Premier League
Saturday 29 August 2015, 15.00 KO
City: Hart, Sagna, Kompany (c), Mangala, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Toure, Navas (Nasri 46), Sterling (Iheanacho 88), Silva (Delph 75), Aguero
Unused: Caballero, Roberts, Demichelis, Maffeo
Goals: Sterling (47), Fernandinho (55)
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Man of the match: Fernandinho
City go into the first international break of the season with a flawless record in the Premier League so far, having won their opening four games. In the process they have scored 10 goals without reply - an ominous sign for their title rivals - and have now set a club record of ten successive victories in the top flight. The decision to extend Manuel Pellegrini's contract over the summer now looks vindicated.
Watford, well organised by manager Quique Flores, proved difficult opponents in the first half, and the home side were restricted to few clear opportunities. The best chance fell to Raheem Sterling, who burst past two defenders after 25 minutes only to see his shot well saved by Heurelho Gomes. City continued dominated possession but were unable to break Watford's resistance.
At half-time Pellegrini made an astute tactical change, that proved decisive in City collecting all three points. Samir Nasri replaced the ineffectual Jesus Navas, and David Silva was moved onto the right flank with Raheem Sterling playing centrally. The move paid instant dividends, as Sterling swept home a sublime cross from Bacary Sagna at the near post shortly after the break.
The game opened up, and Fernandinho doubled City's lead eight minutes later with his second goal of the season. A wonderfully disguised reverse pass from the irrepressible David Silva found the Brazilian in the area, and his powerful strike flew past Gomes into the far corner.
It looked as though City would run riot, with Nasri becoming increasingly influential as the game progressed. The Frenchman's future remains in doubt following the £55m arrival of Kevin De Bruyne, but on this evidence the Blues would be wise to retain his services. Yaya Toure flashed a shot just wide from outside the box, and Sterling remained a constant threat, but City were unable to extend their lead further.
It was, nonetheless, another satisfying afternoon for Pellegrini, who goes into the international break with his side three points clear at the top. Sterner tests lie ahead, with a visit to second placed Crystal Palace next, but there is great cause for optimism at The Etihad thus far this season.