Sunday Sep 22, 2019
LONDON: Manchester City powered to their record Premier League win as the champions scored five times within 18 first-half minutes of an incredible 8-0 thrashing of Watford, while Leicester enjoyed a VAR-assisted 2-1 victory over Tottenham on Saturday.
Inspired by Bernardo Silva's hat-trick, Pep Guardiola's side ripped woeful Watford to pieces at the Etihad Stadium, eclipsing a 7-0 success against Norwich in 2013 which stood as their previous biggest top-flight win.
Although City fell one goal short of equalling the biggest Premier League margin of victory — Manchester United's 9-0 demolition of Ipswich in 1995 — their swaggering display was the perfect way to erase the bitter taste from last weekend's shock defeat at Norwich.
Second-placed City move to within two points of leaders Liverpool, who face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
"When you shoot on target five times for five goals — the quality of players we had made the difference," Guardiola said.
"What I like the most is normally when it's 5-0 at half time the second half is not serious, it's boring but we did the opposite and we were more aggressive and made a very good second half.
"People still don't understand, journalists, pundits, former players, losing games is part of life. We can lose the games but the important thing is the approach and how we react."
City had crushed Watford 6-0 in last season's FA Cup final and they picked up where they left off at Wembley by ending the match as a contest less than halfway through the opening period.
David Silva tapped home the opener seconds after kick-off, before Sergio Aguero coolly doubled their lead from the spot six minutes later.
Making light of winger Raheem Sterling's absence, they made it three in the 12th minute when Riyad Mahrez's free-kick hit Tom Cleverley in the head and deflected past Watford stopper Ben Foster.
Bernardo scored his first of the game in the 15th minute and Nicolas Otamendi ended the first-half scoring shortly afterwards, before Portuguese Bernardo bagged his treble within 15 minutes of the restart and Kevin De Bruyne completed the thrashing late on.
At the King Power Stadium, Leicester proved their credentials to gatecrash the top four as they came from behind to beat Tottenham.
Harry's Kane's improvised 29th-minute opener as he stumbled before flicking home put Tottenham ahead.
However, the game swung Leicester's way after Spurs defender Serge Aurier's goal midway through the second half was ruled out for the finest of offsides by VAR.
The hosts built on that immediately as Ricardo Pereira equalised before James Maddison struck the winner from long range five minutes from time.
Tottenham have now won just two of their first seven games of the season in all competitions and Mauricio Pochettino admitted the VAR controversy had played a role in their latest flop.
Pochettino bemoaned the momentum swing given to Leicester by the long stoppage in play prior to Aurier's strike being ruled out for a marginal offside against Son Heung-min.
"The emotion of the game changed. The belief it gave to Leicester made things happen differently in the last 10 minutes," Pochettino said.
"I'm only going to say that we all accept that system in the game and now I am not going to complain."
Burnley beat Norwich 2-0 at Turf Moor, with New Zealand striker Chris Wood scoring in the 10th and 14th minutes.
Sheffield United piled pressure on Everton manager Marco Silva, whose side were booed off after a 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park, the damage done by Yerry Mina's 40th-minute own goal and Lys Mousset's 79th-minute strike.
Struggling Newcastle were also subjected to jeers after a goalless draw against Brighton at St James' Park, which featured large swathes of empty seats as fans turned their backs on a team with only one win this season.