City turned on the style at Vicarage Road, thrashing Watford 5-0 and guaranteeing qualification for the Champions League group stages in the process. It was the perfect end to the campaign with the Blues in irresistible form from start to finish and racing into a four-goal lead by the break. Goals from Vincent Kompany, Sergio Aguero (2) and Fernandinho left the Hornets reeling and well-beaten with barely 40 minutes on the clock and Gabriel Jesus added a fifth just before the hour-mark but it could have been many more such was the Blues’ dominance.
What happened? City were razor sharp straight from the kick-off and nearly ahead inside the first minute as Aguero’s pressing forced Heurehho Gomes into a mistake that ended with Gabriel Jesus seeing a header cleared off the line. However, the Blues didn’t have to wait too much longer, as Kompany continued his late scoring surge, powering home a Kevin De Bruyne corner four minutes later to give City the perfect start. The game could have been done and dusted with less than 20 minutes played as the rampant Blues created chance after chance. Gabriel Jesus squared the ball to Aguero when clean through but the pass didn't find its mark; then Aguero was denied by Gomes from close range as wave after wave of sky blue attacks carved Watford apart but went unrewarded. The second goal that the Blues so richly deserved came after 23 minutes and again, De Bruyne was the architect. As a defensive clearance fell to the Belgian midway through his own half, he slightly mis-controlled the ball but it was enough to bamboozle Abdoulaye Doucoure, allowing De Bruyne to surge forward and thread a perfect pass into Aguero’s path - the Argentinian did the rest, driving a low shot past Gomes for his 32nd of the season while KDB claimed assist No.18. The Blues were having a field day against a dispirited Watford side who had announced in midweek manager Walter Mazzarri would be leaving after this game and the contest, such as it was, effectively ended on 36 minutes with a goal as good as you’ll see anywhere. It began with a Gael Clichy throw-in while Kompany was treated for a cut on his face, and after a couple of intricate team passes, the ball came back to Clichy who fed David Silva. The Spaniard set Leroy Sane away on the left and his low ball was expertly turned home by Aguero for his 33rd of another prolific season. City still hadn’t finished punishing the Hornets and five minutes later, it was 4-0 as Fernandinho, Aguero and Gabriel Jesus battled to win possession, ending with Fernandinho wriggling past a couple of challenges and slotting the ball past Gomes. Watford improved after the re-start, but in truth, the only way was up. Willy Caballero had his first save of the afternoon to make moments into the second period as Stefano Okaka cut inside Yaya Toure to whip a powerful shot that the City keeper did well to push away. City had stepped off the gas a little in the opening 15 minutes, but slipped through the gears again just before the hour-mark as another sublime move ended with Sane crossing in for Aguero who had to score – but sliced it wide! But the respite for Watford was brief as Gomes was soon picking the ball out of the net again. If the third goal had been special because of the team play, the fifth was a brilliant individual effort. Aguero – superb throughout – worked his way through a couple of challenges before chipping across to Gabriel Jesus who controlled the pass in mid-air, gently lifted if past the defender and then delicately lobbed the ball into the roof of the net. Aguero then slalomed through four challenges before almost usurping his South American team-mate with a breath-taking run that was eventually denied by Gomes. City’s top scorer had two more efforts saved by Gomes before being substituted on 72 minutes to the acclaim of the whole ground, Watford and City fans.
Key moment: Kompany’s majestic header set the tone for an enjoyable stroll in the sun for the Blues. Just as City had done against Crystal Palace, the early goal made all the difference, settled any nerved and the game was done and dusted by the break.
City clinch third spot in the Premier League and go straight into the Champions League group stages next season. Liverpool’s win over Middlesbrough sees Jurgen Klopp’s men finish fourth and face a play-off tie to qualify for the group stages. Arsenal finish fifth and miss out on Champions League football, instead qualifying for the Europa League.
City Matchday App Star man: Sergio Aguero
What’s next? Nothing! That's the end of the line for the 2016/17 season - but what a way to end the current campaign.. . MATCH DETAILS: