Gabriel Jesus was the star of the show as Manchester City cruised to a 5-1 win over Watford at the Etihad on Saturday.

Manchester City made a blistering start to the game, as Gabriel Jesus converted a driven cross by Oleksandr Zinchenko from close range after an earlier delivery from Joao Cancelo evaded everyone. The hosts remained on top of the proceedings, with Watford threatening to hit back on the counter-attack.

The defending Premier League champions were two to the good midway through the first half, as Gabriel Jesus nodded in a delectable cross by Kevin De Bruyne to double his and his side’s tally. But Watford hit back five minutes later through Hassane Kamara to give the Hornets hope of salvaging something from the match.

Those hopes ended quickly, as Rodri unleashed a fiery long-range strike that beat Ben Foster with ease.  Manchester City opened up a three-goal advantage mere moments into the second half. Gabriel Jesus converted from the spot after Ben Foster brought him down just 14 seconds after the interval.

Jesus continued on his merry ways by adding his fourth of the afternoon by scoring another close-range strike, converting a low cross by Kevin De Bruyne. Manchester City pushed for more goals but were content with the four-goal advantage, which has created a four-point buffer over Liverpool ahead of the Merseyside derby. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Pep Guardiola’s men.

Ederson Moraes: 6/10

Ederson could not have done anything to keep out Hassane Kamara’s precise strike. Otherwise, the Brazilian goalkeeper barely had anything to do, but he was marvellous as a sweeper, mopping up the balls outside his box without much fuss.

Joao Cancelo: 6/10

For a second successive game, Cancelo did not like reprising his duties as the right-back. While the Portuguese international sent in a couple of dangerous crosses, he never looked comfortable in the defensive phases. Kyle Walker’s return will mean Cancelo will return to the left-back spot, meaning he should be relieved.

Ruben Dias: 6/10

Dias was largely solid at the heart of the Manchester City defence, but there were some moments when he should have done better. In one such instance, the Portuguese international was pulled out of position as Hassane Kamara pulled a goal back for Watford, leaving Aymeric Laporte with too much to do.

Aymeric Laporte: 7/10

Laporte was the best Manchester City player in the defensive phases, even though Oleksandr Zinchenko has a higher rating. The Spanish international did the clean-up job superbly, winning two duels while completing crucial clearances. Guardiola took him off with one eye on the UEFA Champions League clash against Real Madrid next week.

Oleksandr Zinchenko: 9/10

Zinchenko had a game to remember for a long time, as he started the match by finding Gabriel Jesus for the opener. The Ukrainian international then delivered a crunching tackle on Emmanuel Dennis to preserve Manchester City’s lead. All in all, it was a solid outing by Zinchenko.

Rodri: 8/10

Rodri has blown hot and cold lately, but he was delightful on Saturday. The Spanish international  asserted Manchester City’s control on the proceedings and set a quick tempo. But the moment of the match was his fiercely driven volley which rifled into the top corner.

Fernandinho: 6/10

Unlike his central midfield partner, Fernandinho was not as accomplished in the middle of the park. The Manchester City captain squandered possession carelessly at times while completing only 81 per cent of his attempted passes. But he was solid in defensive duties and kept Watford in check.

Gabriel Jesus: 10/10

Amid mounting speculation surrounding his future, Jesus maintained his focus on the affairs on the pitch. The Brazilian international sent Manchester City in front by scoring from Zinchenko’s low cross. Jesus doubled his and City’s tally with a headed effort from Kevin De Bruyne’s cross and was then instrumental in his side’s third goal by finding the scorer, Rodri.

Jesus deserved another assist for setting up Raheem Sterling, only for the English international to sky a close-range effort. But Saturday proved to be the Gabriel Jesus Day, as he scored two more goals after the interval to ensure he had a hand in each Manchester City goal. More such displays will ensure he still has a future at the Etihad.

Kevin De Bruyne: 9/10

Guardiola deployed De Bruyne in the no. 10 role, and the Belgian international was at the heart of nearly every Manchester City move. The 30-year-old was here, there and everywhere, and he sent in the marvellous pinpoint cross that Jesus converted for Manchester City’s second.

De Bruyne sent in another precise cross to set up Jesus for the game’s final goal before Guardiola took him off with one eye on the upcoming UEFA Champions League semi-final clash against Real Madrid next week.

Raheem Sterling: 7/10

Sterling was the Player to Watch in our preview, but he started the game slowly. The Englishman produced a few sloppy touches, but he completed most of his attempted passes. Sterling earns the props for keeping the ball in play in the build-up to Gabriel Jesus’s fourth goal, linking up with the Brazilian by evading a few challenges by the Watford players.

Jack Grealish: 6/10

Grealish was one of few Manchester City players who did not make their mark on the game. The former Aston Villa captain flitted in and out of the game and was rendered anonymous at times despite Manchester City’s control of the proceedings. But he came close to scoring in the second half.


Ilkay Gundogan: 6/10

Gundogan came on for De Bruyne and pulled the strings in the middle of the park while pushing Manchester City forward precisely.

Nathan Ake: 6/10

Ake replaced Laporte in the 63rd minute and continued from where the Spanish international left off, as he kept the Watford attackers in check for the most part.

Riyad Mahrez: N/A

Mahrez replaced Rodri and looked to push Manchester City forward whenever he saw the ball. But the hosts were in cruise control mode in the game’s final quarter.

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