Gabriel Jesus scored four goals and made a fifth as Manchester City thrashed Watford to move four points clear at the top of the Premier League.
With a month of the season to go, City knows they will be champions if they win all their remaining league games and they will hope for m
re afternoons like this one, where their victory was never in doubt.
Watford tried their best, but they were outclassed by a rampant City team and remain anchored in the bottom three, seven points adrift of safety.
The Hornets have suffered heavy defeats at Etihad Stadium before, losing 8-0 here on their last visit in 2019. They suffered more misery this time, with Jesus the man most responsible.
The Brazilian put City ahead inside four minutes when he turned in Oleksandr Zinchenko’s driven cross, then doubled their lead when he headed home a precise Kevin de Bruyne delivery from close range.
Hassane Kamara pulled a goal back when his powerful angled drive eluded Ederson, but Rodri restored City’s two-goal advantage before the break with a thunderous shot into the top corner after Jesus found him on the edge of the area.
Any hope of a Hornets comeback was ended right at the start of the second half when Kamara’s mistake allowed Jesus to run in at goal and he was felled by visiting keeper Ben Foster.
Referee Kevin Friend pointed at the spot and, after a lengthy VAR check not helped by a problem with Friend’s microphone, the decision stood – allowing Jesus to slam home the penalty and complete his first Premier League hat-trick since arriving in Manchester in 2016.
Jesus was not done yet, rounding off a superb team move soon afterwards when he ran on to a De Bruyne pass, and although no more goals followed in the final half-hour, City had long since wrapped up the points.