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Watford 1-2 Manchester City: Doucoure pulls one back for the host after Mahrez had double the lead with a clinical finish

And it’s all over at Vicarage Road. Watford found a way to get one goal back but not a second and that leaves Manchester City with their 13th win of the Premier League season.

City now have 41 points and are five points ahead of Liverpool who can close the gap again to two points should they beat Burnley at Turf Moor on Wednesday night.

Tonight was also the 21st game City have gone unbeaten in the league. It is a dominant record and they show no sign of being halted.

There were times when Ben Foster must have thought he had been plunged into the depths of a cruel reaction test, a quick fire training drill with multiple balls in circulation and various strikers positioned to take aim from a range of angles.

No sooner had Foster parried one aside than he would scramble to his feet and spring high in search of a cross or throw his body down to smother another threat.

For 40 minutes, the 35-year-old in the midst of this blur kept everything out. His confidence soared and adrenaline helped him defy his 35 years ahead of next inevitable barrage from Manchester City.

MATCH FACTS AND STATS

Watford (4-4-2): Foster 7; Femenia 5, Kabasele 6, Cathcart 6, Holebas 5; Hughes 5 (Quina 50, 6), Chalobah 5 (Deulofeu 63, 5), Doucoure 6.5, Pereyra 5; Deeney 6, Success 5 (Gray 75, 6)

Subs not used: Gomes, Mariappa, Masina, Wilmot

Goalscorers: Doucoure 85

Manager: Javi Gracia 6

Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson 7; Walker 6, Stones 7, Kompany 6.5 (Otamendi 83), Delph 6; Bernado Silva 8, Fernandinho 7, David Silva 7 (Gundogan 73, 5); Mahrez 8.5, Jesus 6.5 (Laporte 88), Sane 8

Subs not used: Danilo, Sterling, Foden, Muric

Goalscorers: Sane 40, Mahrez 51

Booked: Ederson

Manager: Pep Guardiola 7

Referee: Paul Tierney 6

Attendance: 20,389.

This is what a top-half Premier League fixture has been reduced to when Pep Guardiola and the champions come to town.

Watford were organised and energetic and yet from the very opening exchanges the atmosphere was akin to the closing stages of an FA Cup third round tie where the underdogs are hanging on for a replay.

Keeping City out for 90 minutes is not an easy task and ultimately it proved beyond Javi Gracia and his team.

Leroy Sane found a way to beat Foster, five minutes before the interval, Riyad Mahrez added a second five minutes into the second half.

Even so, Watford refused to give up and Abdoulaye Doucoure’s untidy late goal sent a tremor of panic through the City ranks.

Guardiola sent on Aymeric Laporte at the expense of Gabriel Jesus and Ederson was shown a yellow card for time wasting.

When it actually came to the final few minutes, Watford were outstanding and City were unsettled.

WATCH HIGHLIGHT

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