Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has been the best coach in the Premier League over the past four years, according to Watford counterpart Quique Sanchez Flores.

A run of three wins in Tottenham's opening 11 games of the campaign has led to questions being asked of Pochettino's future, just four months after guiding the club to the Champions League final.

Spurs suffered heavy defeats to Bayern Munich and Brighton and Hove Albion prior to the international break and return to action with a home match against Watford on Saturday.

Watford head coach Flores knows Pochettino well from their time playing in LaLiga and holds the Argentinian in high regard, claiming that he has outperformed the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp in recent times.

"I love him. He is the best coach in the Premier League in the last four years, in my opinion," Flores said at Thursday's pre-match news conference.

"When I was last at Watford I thought he was the best coach in the way he moved the team and the way the team played.

"Of course now it is a difficult moment for him and for the team, but for me he is the best coach in the last four years in the Premier League."

Tottenham have lost more games in all competitions in 2019 than any other Premier League side and are ninth in the top flight after eight games of the 2019-20 campaign.

Asked if he expects Pochettino to stay in charge of Tottenham for the long term, Sanchez added: "It is up to you, the critics, not me. It depends on the results. The results bring in the critics."

Mauricio Pochettino's spirits were lifted during the international break, having felt "dead" after Tottenham's defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion.

A difficult season for Spurs plunged new depths when they followed up a 7-2 humiliation at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on October 1 by losing 3-0 at Brighton in the Premier League four days later.

Pochettino was downbeat at the start of the international break, during which he travelled to the Aspire Global Summit in Qatar and addressed several ex-professionals.

But ahead of hosting Watford on Saturday, the former Southampton boss was able to consider a more positive outlook.

"We had an offer a few months ago to go to Aspire," he told a news conference. "I was talking there for one and a half hours, in front of 100 people, 50 clubs.

"All the big clubs in the world were there, ex-team-mates like [Santiago] Solari, Hernan Crespo, people I met like Tim Cahill - now I have a very good view of him, it was amazing to spend time with him.

"It was like a medicine. We flew at 8am on Sunday [after Brighton on the Saturday] and I was dead. Jesus [Perez, his assistant], too.

"We arrived and it was difficult to find the energy and then to talk about Tottenham and our ideas and philosophy and football. It was most difficult thing, but we found the energy.

"It was a football drama, not a life drama. We lose a few games. Most important is to not go away, most important is to face the problems and find a solution."

Despite a poor run that has left Tottenham ninth, Pochettino insists his faith in his players is unwavering.

"In this type of situation, the most important thing is to be all together and show a strong face to the problems," he said.

"Face the problems and talk a lot because the most important thing is that players feel support and trust from the manager. That belief is important.

"I trust 200 per cent in them and believe that they have the capacity and potential to win the games and turn this situation around. This type of situation happens at all clubs sooner or later.

"We have confidence that we have the quality. It is only a matter of time to make things clear. We need to help them perform because they are the principal actors on the pitch who will provide the victories."

Watford skipper Troy Deeney could play for the Reggae Boyz if he wanted to, and the country’s federation, The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has asked him as much.

Liverpool's flawless start to their Premier League season continued on Saturday with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Sheffield United thanks to Georginio Wijnaldum's winner.

The Reds were made to battle by the Blades and secured their seventh win in as many games after Dutch midfielder Wijnaldum's shot squirmed through the legs of Blades goalkeeper Dean Henderson.

Chelsea earned Frank Lampard his first league win at Stamford Bridge with a 2-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion, while top-four rivals Tottenham, who were reduced to 10 men, claimed a 2-1 win over Southampton.

Elsewhere, Wolves beat Watford 2-0, Crystal Palace battled to a 2-0 win against Norwich City, and Aston Villa's clash with Burnley and Bournemouth's match against West Ham both finished in 2-2 draws.

KLOPP'S MEN SHOW THEIR GRIT

This was a day when Liverpool had to roll up their sleeves and get stuck in. Sheffield United did not give Jurgen Klopp's side an inch and the German had to squeeze every ounce of effort out of his players.

It was even more acute when Liverpool's front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino seemed to forget where the goal was and errant finishing might have proved costly on another day.

Klopp's side have been renowned for their free-flowing football but they showed a grittier side against dogged opponents at Bramall Lane.

If they are to go one better than last season and beat Manchester City to the title that resilience, especially away from Anfield, is going to be key.

HOME COMFORT FOR LAMPARD

Lampard had gone into this game without a Premier League victory at Stamford Bridge – it was an itch he was absolutely desperate to scratch.

Chelsea thrashed Grimsby 7-1 in the EFL Cup on Wednesday to give Lampard his first win on home soil, but it is the league where the former England international will be judged and he needed three points against Brighton.

At half-time, with the scoreline goalless against the Seagulls, Lampard might have been more than a little concerned.

However, a penalty from Jorginho five minutes into the second half eased the nerves before compatriot Willian added a second to give Chelsea a routine victory.

SPURS SHOW THEIR METTLE

This had all the hallmarks of being a miserable day for Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino, but he ended up with a smile on his face.

A red card for Serge Aurier just after the half-hour mark and a howler from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris had the whiff of a Tottenham implosion.

Tanguy Ndombele put Tottenham ahead before Aurier was shown a second yellow card. Lloris then sloppily allowed Danny Ings to equalise when he casually received a Toby Alderweireld pass.

Harry Kane had Spurs ahead again before half-time but, playing the majority of the game with 10 men, Southampton had chances. Spurs, though, showed plenty of backbone to earn the three points.

LATE EQUALISERS FOR BURNLEY AND WEST HAM

Aston Villa missed the chance for a second league win after they were twice pegged by Burnley. Anwar El Ghazi put Villa ahead before Jay Rodriguez levelled. John McGinn had Dean Smith's side in front again, only for Chris Wood to equalise with nine minutes left.

Bournemouth's clash with West Ham also finished 2-2. Andriy Yarmolenko's third league goal of the campaign put the Hammers in the lead but Josh King equalised. In-form Callum Wilson then struck in the first minute after half-time only for Aaron Cresswell to secure a share of the spoils for the Hammers.

In the day's other games, Wolves banked their first three points of the season with a 2-0 victory over winless Watford, who prop up the rest of the table, thanks to a strike from Matt Doherty and Daryl Janmaat's own goal.

Crystal Palace clinched a 2-0 win over newly promoted Norwich to move into the comfort of mid-table following a penalty from spot-kick expert Luka Milivojevic and an injury-time strike from Andros Townsend.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is not concerned about Manchester City in the wake of the Premier League champions' annihilation of Watford.

Beaten 3-2 by an injury-ravaged Norwich City in their previous league match, City responded with an 8-0 destruction of Quique Sanchez Flores' Watford at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

By contrast, Liverpool were made to work far harder for a 2-1 win away to Chelsea thanks to first-half goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino.

Henderson, though, says his only concern is on sustaining Liverpool's winning run, rather than giving too much thought to City's threat.

"We'll not worry about any other team," said Henderson in The Mirror. "I'm sure the neutrals will look at other results and obviously it was a good performance by City.

"But, for us, it's about performing well and picking up points, as many as we can, and see where we are at the end of the season."

Liverpool's victory at Stamford Bridge was hard-fought but extended their winning run in the top flight to 15 matches, with their 100 per cent record this season giving them a five-point lead at the top of the table.

Jurgen Klopp's side have become the first to win their opening six games of consecutive top-flight seasons in England, while the division record of 18 victories in a row - set by City between August and December 2017 - is within their sights.

Henderson, however, believes it is pointless to concentrate on chasing records rather than results.

"You can't go and chase records because they will come with performances and if we keep winning," he said. "For us, the motivation is three points every time we play.

"Chelsea was a really tough place to come. [They are a] good team, we had to grind it out, had to give everything and that shows what we're about as a team.

"It's important. You need character and we've got plenty of characters in this team to fight and see games out."

Henderson also praised the performance of Alexander-Arnold, who opened the scoring against Chelsea with a fierce strike following a free-kick.

"Defensively he's still very good," Henderson said. "He'll want to learn, want to improve still, but he's got so much going forward also.

"But he's still so young, still learning the game and there's a lot more to come from him. His potential is massive."

Manchester City's relentless hunger for goals will soon lead to them hitting double figures in a game, according to Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster.

The Premier League champions were at their most ruthless on Saturday, routing the Hornets in an 8-0 humiliation at the Etihad Stadium.

David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Riyad Mahrez had all scored by the time Bernardo Silva notched the first of his hat-trick in the 15th minute.

Nicolas Otamendi added a fifth moments later and Foster admitted he was "over the moon" to reach half-time without greater damage.

"They were scary at times," the former England international told reporters.

"It was just relentless. As a goalie, coming here in the first place it's almost an achievement to keep it at one or two goals. You could see them opening us up and the chances developing in front of your eyes.

"It was absolutely no fun. In all honesty, it could have been double digits. They will do it to somebody, there will be a nine or 10 out there soon."

Bernardo Silva's twin second-half strikes and a Kevin De Bruyne rocket in the 80th minute condemned Watford to their heaviest defeat in English league football and completed a mightily convincing City response to last weekend's 3-2 loss at Norwich City.

Foster, 36, was left to marvel at how Pep Guardiola's men completely starved his team-mates of time and space.

"Nobody gets a second to think about it," he said.

"Our players are getting the ball passed to them and before they know what to do with it they've got a Man City player attacking them. They all do it together. Their shape is incredible.

"They're all absolute specimens of men. If you look at them, they're all the same sort of build, they're not the tallest but they are all so strong and rapid. Their acceleration and touch is incredible.

"But that’s what £70million or £80million buys them."

City, despite their victory, remain five points adrift of Premier League leaders Liverpool, while Watford sit bottom after six games.

Pep Guardiola marvels at the defence-splitting passes from Kevin De Bruyne that drive Manchester City to new heights – and it makes him wonder how the Belgian occasionally bungles the elementary side of the game.

It was a case of De Bruyne at his brilliant best in City's 8-0 thumping of Watford on Saturday, a result he capped with a sublime late strike.

City would love him to reproduce the devastating playmaking skills that tore a hole in the Hornets' defence on a match-by-match basis, but not even De Bruyne can be perfect every day.

Since De Bruyne made his City debut in September 2015, however, he has provided more Premier League assists than any other player, with 52 goals laid on for team-mates so far.

There has been the odd stray pass, the odd near-anonymous performance.

And Guardiola – a top-class midfielder himself before turning to coaching – stops to wonder how, when a player can be so peerless one day, at other times, no matter how infrequent, he can still look mortal.

"He was quite good, yeah?" said Guardiola after De Bruyne's masterclass in the Watford match. "The guy has a future, yeah?"

Guardiola's deadpan handling of questions about De Bruyne signals his appreciation of the 28-year-old's ability.

"Kevin is a special player, sometimes he sees something the other guys cannot see on the pitch," said the former Barcelona head coach.

"Sometimes I'm a little bit like 'Grrr', when it's a simple ball and he loses it. How, with your quality, can you lose it?

"But he's an incredibly talented player, with his vision up front and the quality he has.

"We had an incredible season, winning four titles, but we missed him a lot last season, because he's a special player. I'm happy he's here, happy for the club. When nobody knew him or nobody talked about him, the club were there and said, 'He can help us'."

Manchester City sent a message to the Premier League with an 8-0 thrashing of Watford on Saturday, but Liverpool claimed victory at Chelsea to ensure they maintained the lead in this season's title race.

The Reds held their nerve in the wake of City's emphatic performance, taking a first-half lead at Stamford Bridge and withstanding a late wave of Chelsea pressure to emerge with a 2-1 win.

While the top two attempt to outstrip each other, Tottenham and Arsenal are lagging behind and there were mixed fortunes for the North London rivals in matchweek six.

After a thrilling weekend of top-flight action, the Opta data sheds light on the important details.

 

REDS SET RECORD AS FLYING START CONTINUES

Liverpool's 2-1 win at Chelsea made them the first team in top-flight history to win the opening six matches in two consecutive seasons.

Goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino helped maintain the European champions' unstoppable league form as they clinched their 15th consecutive domestic victory.

Even champions Manchester City have been unable to keep pace with the Reds this season, but Pep Guardiola's men remain the only team in top-flight history to have achieved a longer winning sequence (18 wins between August and December 2017).

It was Jurgen Klopp's 92nd victory in his 150th Premier League game in charge of the Reds, and former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho (105 wins) is the only manager who can boast a better return from his first 150 matches in the competition.

Blues manager Frank Lampard is still without a home win after taking charge of four matches in all competitions at Stamford Bridge, making him only the second Chelsea boss to start with such a long winless run after Bobby Campbell in 1988.

RECORDS TUMBLE AS CITY RUN RIOT

With the champions determined to return to winning ways after last weekend's shock defeat to Norwich City, poor Watford never stood a chance against Guardiola's rampant side.

The records tumbled as City recorded their biggest ever victory in the English top-flight and inflicted the Hornets' heaviest ever defeat in the top four tiers of English football.

David Silva's opener after just 52 seconds was the fastest goal in the Premier League this season, while City's five goals in just 18 minutes made them the fastest team to go 5-0 up in the competition's history.

Not only did Sergio Aguero bring up 100 Premier League goals at the Etihad Stadium with his early penalty, he also became the first player to score in seven consecutive Premier League appearances since Romelu Lukaku in December 2015.

SPURS LET LEAD SLIP AGAIN AT LEICESTER

Tottenham's stuttering season continued at the King Power Stadium as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Leicester City despite Harry Kane's goal giving them a 1-0 lead at half-time.

Ricardo Pereira equalised in the 69th minute before James Maddison struck the winner five minutes from time, condemning Spurs to a third consecutive Premier League away game in which they led at half-time but failed to win – their first such run since March 2008.

Maddison's goal was his first in the Premier League since he scored against Huddersfield Town in April, ending a frustrating run of 31 shots without finding the net as he clinched three impressive points for the Foxes.

There were some positive stats for Kane, who has scored more goals (14 in 13 games) against Leicester than any other side in his professional career and more away goals (13) than any other Premier League player since the start of last season.

But those figures will feel meaningless to the England man after his side lost for the second time in four league games.

GUNNERS PULL THROUGH AFTER MAITLAND-NILES SEES RED

Arsenal were 1-0 down at home to Aston Villa when Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent off for a second bookable offence but Unai Emery's men prevailed 3-2 after an impressive second-half performance with 10 men.

It was the ninth time in Premier League history that a team had won a match after having a man sent off while trailing and Arsenal had Nicolas Pepe, Calum Chambers and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to thank for finding the net.

Aubameyang scored the winner in the 84th minute and his goal-scoring record stands at 16 in his past 16 games in all competitions for Arsenal, including goals in each of his last four outings.

Maitland-Niles, meanwhile, became the first Arsenal player to be sent off more than once in the Premier League in the same calendar year since Laurent Koscielny in 2013 (both players sent off twice).

Manchester City's flying start in their 8-0 demolition of Watford was "weird" and "not normal", according to Pep Guardiola.

The City boss watched his side career into a 5-0 lead inside 18 minutes – the quickest such an advantage has been established in Premier League history – courtesy of goals from David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva and Nicolas Otamendi.

Bernardo Silva went on to complete a hat-trick after half-time and Kevin De Bruyne, who orchestrated so much of the champions' best work, completed the scoring to give City their biggest ever top-flight win on the weekend the club celebrated their 125th anniversary.

Guardiola reflected on a very different outcome to last weekend's 3-2 loss at Norwich City, but acknowledged two early chances that fell to Watford forward Gerard Deulofeu could have altered the complexion of the contest.

"It is weird, it is not normal," Guardiola said. "Five shots, five goals. In the same time, we gave them two chances to score.

"The quality we have is a joy to watch. After 5-0 the game is completely different. We were ruthless in terms of five shots, five goals.

"Sometimes you shoot 15 times or 20 and can’t do it. It was a lovely day for all of us, for our City fans in the sunshine and a lot of goals."

Guardiola was impressed by the continued application of his players throughout the contest and rejected the suggestion City trying to score goals throughout showed a lack of respect to beleaguered opponents, who they hammered 6-0 in last season's FA Cup final.

"The best way to humiliate the players is to do stupid things in the second half, make some fashion movements [showboating]," he said.

"We play for the spectators, who come here to watch the game. I would not like to see my team in the second half not run much because we are winning 5-0.

"That is a lack of respect for our opponents."

Benjamin Mendy was withdrawn at half-time on his first start since April, but Guardiola reported no adverse reaction for the France left-back, who has endured a lengthy battle back to fitness following a second bout of knee surgery in as many years.

"He is well. After two years without playing, 45 minutes was enough," Guardiola said.

"Angelino [who made his Premier League debut as Mendy's replacement] is incredible. He deserves to play after 5-0. I am glad. I saw many good things."

Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores says his side are scared to play Manchester City after a bruising 8-0 defeat to the Premier League champions on Saturday.

The Hornets suffered their record league defeat at the Etihad Stadium to continue their torrid recent form against Pep Guardiola's side.

City have now won the last 12 meetings between the sides in all competitions, scoring a whopping 46 goals in that run.

They were thumped 6-0 by City in last season's FA Cup final and Flores is concerned that his players take on the Premier League champions knowing they will suffer a heavy defeat.

"They have very bad memories playing against Manchester City," he told a news conference, in which he apologised on a number of occasions to the club's supporters.

"Before the game in the press conference one of you reminded me of the scores against City in the past years.

"It is like a prophecy that you are scared to play against Manchester City. Now we can try to forget them.

"We can think a lot about what happened in the match, but we lost in many ways. We conceded goals in many ways. It is our work as coaches to prepare much better for the next match."

After consecutive seasons out on loan with Strasbourg and Getafe respectively, Dimitri Foulquier was belatedly handed a Premier League debut against City.

He was hauled off after just 36 minutes, though, with his side 5-0 down, and Flores concedes that early switch might not be easy to shrug off for the Guadeloupe international. 

"It is difficult to know if he will be OK or not," Flores said. "The idea was probably wrong but we were waiting for the impact of Manchester City in the first 15 minutes.

"That's why we tried to protect [the defence] with this kind of player who can make you strong. We didn't have time to know if this idea was good or not because we conceded so early."

Kevin De Bruyne dazzled and Bernardo Silva hit a hat-trick as Manchester City put Watford to the sword 8-0 on Saturday.

The victory is City's biggest in a top-flight match – a fitting landmark to reach on the weekend the club marked their 125th anniversary.

But huge winning margins have become something approaching the norm in the Pep Guardiola era, with this latest rout the 11th time in all competitions since the start of the 2017-18 campaign City have scored six or more in a match. Six of those have come in 2019 alone.

From lower-league cup opponents unfortunately out of their depth to Champions League rivals and European trophy winners, a variety of clubs have felt City's wrath.

Spare a thought for Watford, who account for three entries on the list below – including last season's FA Cup final.

Six of the best, seventh heaven and more – City's big wins under Guardiola

2017-18

Watford 0-6 Manchester City (Premier League, 16/09/17)
Manchester City 7-2 Stoke City (Premier League, 14/10/17)

2018-19

Manchester City 6 -1 Huddersfield (Premier League, 19/08/18)
Manchester City 6-1 Southampton (Premier League, 04/11/18) 
Manchester City 6-0 Shakhtar Donetsk (Champions League, 07/11/18) 
Manchester City 7-0 Rotherham United (FA Cup, 06/01/19) 
Manchester City 9-0 Burton Albion (EFL Cup, 09/01/19) 
Manchester City 6-0 Chelsea (Premier League, 10/02/19)
Manchester City 7-0 Schalke (Champions League, 12/03/19)
Manchester City 6-0 Watford (FA Cup final, 18/05/2019)

2019-20

Manchester City 8-0 Watford (Premier League, 21/09/2019)

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City's players have nothing to prove after they returned to winning ways in the Premier League with a record 8-0 win over Watford on Saturday.

The reigning champions slipped to a shock defeat at Norwich City last weekend but were in sumptuous form against the Hornets, racing into a five-goal lead inside the opening 18 minutes.

Three more goals in the second half gave City their biggest ever top-flight win as they closed the gap to leaders Liverpool to two points, although Jurgen Klopp's side do have a game in hand.

Some questioned City's ability to win a third consecutive title after the defeat at Carrow Road, but Guardiola believes there has been an overreaction to that loss.

He told BBC's Match of the Day: "Do you think after what these guys have done for two seasons they have to prove something?

"We listened after Norwich, but people don't understand that we can lose games. Sometimes I am surprised that former players and pundits still don't understand that."

Bernardo Silva struck the first top-flight hat-trick of his career in the win and Guardiola was full of praise for the man he describes as last season's stand-out performer.

"Bernardo was the best player last season," he added. "He was extraordinary. I don't think he needs to score three goals to get the credit he deserves."

Watford, meanwhile, remain bottom of the league with just two points from their opening six games.

Quique Sanchez Flores, who returned to the club for a second spell ahead of last weekend's draw with Arsenal, attributed the heavy loss to a litany of errors from his side.

"We made a lot of mistakes," he said. "The result is very difficult [to take], but it's the consequences of mistakes in different ways. All the goals we conceded came from different things and it's difficult to play like this against Manchester City.

"We will take the best things from the Arsenal game and try to solve all the things from this game."

Hat-trick hero Bernardo Silva described the opening half-hour of Manchester City's record 8-0 win over Watford as "unbelievable".

After last weekend's shock defeat to Norwich City, Pep Guardiola's side returned to winning ways in the Premier League in spectacular fashion, registering their biggest ever top-flight victory.

David Silva got them on their way after 52 seconds before a Sergio Aguero penalty and goals from Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva and Nicolas Otamendi put the game out of the sight by the midway point of the first half.

Silva completed the first top-flight hat-trick of his career in the second period before Kevin De Bruyne added an eighth five minutes from time.

Portugal international Silva was in awe of his side's performance and admits he did have some sympathy for Watford's players at the end.

"We were unbelievable in the first 30 minutes, scored lots of goals and had control," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "After the Norwich defeat, it was great to give our fans the result and the performance.

"We aimed to keep it going in the second half. We didn't want them to hurt us or score past us.

"Football is a hard game. I've won 8-0 today but I've lost plenty of times by four or five goals. You just have to keep going so I wished the Watford players well."

De Bruyne was in imperious form and Silva is in doubt about the Belgian's qualities.

"Kevin is a fantastic player," he added. "Everyone knows how good he is when he is fit. When he is playing like today, he is one of the best players in the Premier League."

The good news for Watford is, in the league at least, they do not have to face Manchester City again until next May.

The 6-0 defeat against Pep Guardiola's side in last season's FA Cup final was a truly humbling experience but, frankly, it almost looked respectable by comparison when City scored their fifth inside the opening 18 minutes on Saturday, on the way to an 8-0 win at the Etihad Stadium.

Records were set and Bernardo Silva went home with the matchball after grabbing a hat-trick on an afternoon when City celebrated their 125th anniversary.

City have seen few football games quite like this one when, in truth, things could have been even worse for poor Watford.

Here is how the game unfolded:

0:52 – Watford's task quickly became one of the steeply uphill variety when David Silva was on hand to convert a delightful Kevin De Bruyne cross from close range to make it 1-0 inside a minute. City's opener is the quickest goal scored in the Premier League this season.

3:29 – If such a contest can have a 'Sliding Doors' moment, this was it. Gerard Deulofeu embarrassed Nicolas Otamendi by skipping around the Argentina defender's challenge and Ederson was on hand with excellent reaction to preserve City's lead.

6:17 – There was not so much to enjoy about the goalkeeping at the other end a few moments later. Ben Foster needlessly felled Riyad Mahrez, and Sergio Aguero converted a penalty to make it 2-0 with his 100th Premier League goal at the Etihad Stadium.

11:20 – Mahrez got in on the act by sending a free-kick past Foster courtesy of a deflection off Tom Cleverley. The midfielder stood apart from the edge of the Watford wall and diverted the ball into his own net with his face for 3-0.

14:07 – When Bernardo Silva scores an unmarked, stooping header from a corner, it's a sure fire sign your afternoon has gone awry. Watford's defenders appeared to have no interest whatsoever in marking the Portugal playmaker when he extended the lead to 4-0 from Otamendi's flick-on.

17:04 – No team has ever taken a quicker 5-0 lead in a Premier League game. Watford switched off as David Silva took a quick free-kick and Aguero squared for his fellow Argentinian Otamendi to slide home.

26:32 – De Bruyne unlocked the Hornets again and Aguero rattled a shot against the post from the edge of the area.

32:48 – Spare a thought for Dimitri Foulquier – the Watford debutant who was unceremoniously hauled off. During the time it took City to score five goals, he completed two passes.

43:12 – A combination of the post and Foster denied Aguero. Inevitably, De Bruyne supplied the ammunition.

45:00 (+3) – Half-time. Three minutes of added time meant City were 5-0 up at the interval having not scored for half an hour.

47:59 – City left-back Angelino came on for his Premier League debut at the break and it was soon 6-0. Will Hughes' poor defensive header and cute work from David and Bernardo Silva left the latter with a simple finish.

53:24 – Joao Cancelo replaced Kyle Walker. Sure, why not bring on the most expensive right-back of all time?

59:46 – De Bruyne's cross for 7-0 was so good Bernardo Silva could clumsily tread on the ball and still complete a maiden career treble. City now had Manchester United's Premier League record 9-0 win over Ipswich Town in their sights.

65:21 – Mahrez charged in at the back post to plant a header from Angelino's cross against the crossbar.

84:01 – Fittingly, given how he masterfully orchestrated proceedings, De Bruyne's fabulous strike into the top corner capped Watford's punishment at 8-0 – the biggest top-flight win in City's history and the Hornets' heaviest league defeat.

87:47 – City's brilliant Belgian, De Bruyne, probably should have equalled the Premier League record but dragged his shot wide at the end of a slaloming solo run.

Manchester City claimed their biggest-ever top-flight victory with an 8-0 thrashing of Watford on Saturday to move within two points of Premier League leaders Liverpool thanks to Bernardo Silva’s hat-trick.

A 3-2 defeat away to Norwich City last time out had raised questions about the hunger in Pep Guardiola's squad, but they responded with a brutal dismantling of the Hornets on home turf.

Liverpool will restore their five-point cushion at the top if they beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, with Leicester City two points behind Guardiola's side after a 2-1 win over Tottenham.

In the day's other matches, Burnley moved up to seventh with a routine 2-0 home win over Norwich, while Everton lost 2-0 at home to Sheffield United.

DEVASTATING CITY BACK TO THEIR BEST

City's defeat against Norwich at Carrow Road had been their first since January, but any concerns it was anything more than a minor blip were pointedly answered by Guardiola's men against Watford.

The swagger with which City brushed aside Watford to take a 5-0 lead inside 18 minutes was a reminder of the defending Premier League champions' quality and ruthlessness.

David Silva opened the scoring in the first minute of the game and that was followed by a Sergio Aguero penalty six minutes later – his 100th league goal at the Etihad Stadium.

Watford's defenders were left in a daze by City's slick interchanges as three goals – scored by Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo and Nicolas Otamendi – blew the visitors away.

The second half could have been something of an anti-climax, but Bernardo notched his hat-trick before the sensational Kevin De Bruyne rounded off the scoring.

LEICESTER FIGHT BACK DESPITE VAR

Mauricio Pochettino's 250th Premier League game in charge of Tottenham ended in defeat as his side's away day blues continued at the King Power Stadium in a match dominated by VAR.

Spurs have been memorable beneficiaries of the VAR review system in draws against Manchester City – most famously in a dramatic climax to their Champions League quarter-final second leg last season.

However, when Serge Aurier's goal was disallowed at the King Power Stadium because of the tightest of offside decisions against Son Heung-min when they were 1-0 up thanks to Harry Kane, it took the wind out of their sails.

Leicester were re-energised and after they equalised through Ricardo Pereira they took all three points thanks to a sublime low strike from James Maddison.

The Foxes themselves had earlier been denied a goal when the score was 0-0, after Wilfred Ndidi bundled in from close range only for it to be chalked off by VAR for offside against Ayoze Perez.

BLADES SLICE THROUGH TOFFEES

It was a tetchy day at Goodison Park as Everton suffered back-to-back defeats in the Premier League against newly promoted Sheffield United.

An own goal from Colombian defender Yerry Mina, who headed in an Oliver Norwood corner, came against the run of play, but the Toffees were unable to find a way back despite long spells of pressure.

When Lys Mousset slotted in his first goal for the Blades with 11 minutes to go it was start of grumbles from the Everton fans about whether Marco Silva is the man to take them forward as they started to stream towards the exits. They became boos when the full-time whistle was blown.

Chris Wilder's side, meanwhile, leapfrogged the Blues into the comfort of mid-table.

CLARETS ENJOY HOME COMFORTS

Burnley's ability to punch above their weight in the Premier League in recent seasons has been largely down to their impressive results at Turf Moor. 

A typically dogged and disciplined display from Sean Dyche's men secured another three points and lifted them up to seventh in the table.

Victory was secured thanks to two goals in four minutes from powerful striker Chris Wood, as Norwich failed to hit the heights of their previous win over Man City.

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