Sat. May 28th, 2022

Manchester City are setting the pace again, just the way they like it … Pep Guardiola’s team continues to turn it on in style, with the Premier League title race likely to go in goal.

  • Manchester City continued to set the pace in the Premier League on Saturday
  • The reigning champions outclassed Watford for 90 minutes on Vicarage Road
  • Pep Guardiola’s team jumped Liverpool to reach the top of the Premier League
  • Raheem Sterling opened the scoring before Bernardo Silva made a finish











14.24 out of London Euston, heading towards Northampton, was not a football train. Its first stop was Watford Junction, but the carriages were populated by shoppers and families. Vicarage Road was not their destination.

But there was a man wearing a vintage red and black Manchester City away jersey with two large bottles of Staropramen lagers partially supped and mobile phone in hand. He kept updating his livescore app.

The train left the station just as the dramatic events at London Stadium were coming to an end.

Bernardo Silva helped Manchester City to a routine 3-1 win over Watford on Saturday

Bernardo Silva helped Manchester City to a routine 3-1 win over Watford on Saturday

The Portuguese national team player scored City's second goal to put the match out of Watford's reach

The Portuguese national team player scored City’s second goal to put the match out of Watford’s reach

The internet caught up. The result was in. A knee hit a table and there was a loud, disbelieving shout of: ‘West Ham have won!’. A lady opposite, with her scarf doubled as a mask, jerked in despair. The City flag continued, yawning to no one in particular, just filling the air.

He FaceTimed a friend who supported Liverpool. The gloomy short, legendary. To see him was to witness how much this absorbing title race grabs those involved.

It consumes fans. A proper race. The first in three years, really. Following Chelsea’s defeat at lunchtime on Saturday, Liverpool played one of their 2018-19 hits at Wolves, a late Divock Origi attack to salvage victory.

City then also gave a rendition of one of theirs from the relentless season, steaming Watford, where the result line did not reflect their dominance.

Pep Guardiola’s players tried to avoid seeing their Liverpool colleagues that year, only tuning in when they looked like they were losing points.

While pressing the remote control, Jurgen Klopp’s side always found a way to win. It became an ongoing joke around Etihad. The next six months seem to be following a similar pattern, and while Guardiola was right last week in saying the same questions – ‘could this be the most exciting season ever?’ – shows up every year, he wants to know that the quality of all three teams increases the prospect of a photo finish.

For the first time this season, City are leading. Only one point over Liverpool, but they are hugely adept at setting the pace towards the midfield phase.

Their five wins in a row are the longest streak anyone has managed so far, and the way they perform feels like the purest version of Guardiola’s city since arriving in 2016.

Watford were not even allowed to consider a disturbance. Some fans went on the break. “City is the only game of the season that I can not be bothered by,” said one with a slightly more colorful language. Fair enough: City have 36 goals in their last 10 games against Watford.

“We know what our job is and we can not really see what the others are doing,” said City’s Raheem Sterling. ‘We just have to keep working away. I thought we did an excellent job. “

Sterling is back among the goals, showing constellations every week, while Bernardo Silva seems stuck in a battle with Mo Salah over who should clean up at the individual awards ceremonies when all this is done. Silva is the epitome of fluidity on this team, a team that effectively starts with four strikers but which allows him to do as he pleases.

Midfielder Raheem Sterling gave City the lead on their way past goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann

Midfielder Raheem Sterling gave City the lead on their way past goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann

Sterling celebrates as City took the lead on Vicarage Road within four minutes on Saturday

Sterling celebrates as City took the lead on Vicarage Road within four minutes on Saturday

Watford drove Chelsea close this week, but City, as goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann put it, are a ‘second cauldron of fish’.

Bachmann left with huge credit, sometimes saving for blush at home – especially during a relentless 20-minute opening where City should have celebrated at least four times.

“I do not think there is another football team like City in the world,” said Bachmann.

‘Their movement on and off the ball is incredible. (A team like) Man City only exist once, the way they play. They are definitely the hardest to play against. Tell me, what can you do?

‘It’s not the matches that define our season. You can see them as better training sessions. We’re trying to win, of course, but we’ve got a new manager trying to implement his style and pushing. This was a rehearsal of what is to come in the coming weeks. ‘

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