Manchester City ran riot at Vicarage Road on the final day of the Premier League season as they secured Champions League football for next season with a five-star performance against Watford.
Captain Vincent Kompany scored inside the opening five minutes to put City ahead before two quick-fire first-half goals from Sergio Aguero put the visitors well on their way to a top four finish.
Fernandino added a fourth shortly before half-time when he bundled home and Gabriel Jesus compounded Watford’s misery in the second-half as Walter Mazzarri’s reign ended in humiliation.
The result sees Pep Guardiola finish third in his debut Premier League season and secure direct passage to the Champions League group stages, whilst Watford limp to a 17th.
Jesus and Aguero experiments pays off
For the second consecutive Premier League outing Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola decided to start both Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero in attack, and it certainly paid dividends on Sunday.
Although Watford were well off the pace from the word go, the impact and the firepower that the striking duo brought to City’s attacks was frightening; both are full of pace, both are willing to run into space and both have an innate knowledge and instinct of where to be inside the box and they immediately clicked.
Aguero’s quick-fire brace took his tally to 20 Premier League goals for the season – and over 30 in all competitions – and is now just the fifth player to score 20 or more in three consecutive seasons.
Meanwhile the 19-year-old Brazilian was never going to miss out against a woeful Watford defence, putting the icing on the cake to help him record his sixth goal in just eight Premier League starts.
When Aguero was left out during Jesus’ opening few games for City, it looked like there was no way that Guardiola was going to accommodate them together; but displays against West Brom and Watford in the space of five days have shown that they can line up in the same side – and to devastating effect too, it must be said.
The Argentine’s future at the Etihad is by no means certain heading into the summer transfer window, but Guardiola’s latest experiment in a topsy-turvy season may prove to be his best yet.
Mazzarri bows out in embarrassing circumstances
It’s not exactly been the best week for Walter Mazzarri, with Watford announcing earlier in the week that the clash with Manchester City would be his last managing at the club.
From the moment that the Italian named two goalkeepers on the substitute bench and a back three with no recognised centre-backs, then, it seemed that it would turn into a long day for the Hornets.
As soon as Vincent Kompany headed the visitors in front after less than five minutes there was realistically never going to be a way back for Watford and, after a dismal ending to the season that has just about seen them survive, it ended in the most humiliating circumstances at their own home.
Admittedly Watford were missing up to six first-team centre-backs due to varying degrees of suspension and injury, but their defending at times was nothing short of something from a playground – and Pep Guardiola’s side filled their boots as they romped to their top-four finish.
Whoever comes in over the summer has a lot of work to do with an average group of players, otherwise there could be more severe jeopardy about their Premier League status next year.
Kompany shows he’s an invaluable asset
Although most of the plaudits for Manchester City’s top-four finish will go to their devastating attacking outlets in recent weeks, captain Vincent Kompany is also deserving.
Since his return City’s defensive issues have become a thing of the past, giving the back-line a sense of stubbornness and discipline and even getting the best out of partner Nicolas Otamendi.
It was hardly the most testing day’s work for him at Vicarage Road but he popped up with yet another goal to set the ball rolling – now notching with his last three shots on target since returning.
The impact that he’s had cannot be understated and, with his return, there was finally a born leader back in the ranks at the Etihad Stadium.
Kompany is another player whose future isn’t 100% sorted out for next season, but if Pep Guardiola has any sense then there’s no way that he will let the outstanding Belgian leave this summer.
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