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Mahrez hits winner at Watford to extend lead to five points at the top

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City largely dominant in 2-1 win but Watford put the pressure on late

Watford FC v Manchester City - Premier League Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Manchester City went five points clear at the top of the Premier League with a hard fought 2-1 win over Watford at Vicarage Road on Tuesday night. Goals from Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez were enough to see off the Hornets on a wet night in Watford.

City came into the game on the back of yet another impressive display on Sunday against Bournemouth and began on the front foot, as expected from this team.

Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva where a threat down City’s right all throughout the game and they began to link up right from the first whistle. Their accurate interplay got City into good positions right from the start, and if it wasn’t for Ben Foster the visitors could of scored five or six on the night.

The first of the Blues chances came when Leroy Sane pounced on a misplaced Roberto Pereyra pass in midfield, the German latched onto the loose ball like a hare and began galloping down on Ben Fosters goal. Sane went to delicately chip the ball over Foster but the former England international made a superb save with his left hand.

It wasn’t long until Foster was called into action once more. Fernandinho played a carving pass right through the heart of the Watford back four into the path of Riyad Mahrez who was denied once again by Foster. The rebounded ball fell to Bernardo Silva who was also denied and then onto namesake David Silva who once again couldn’t find away past the keeper. A wonderful triple save by the man trying to keep his side in the game.

As City began to camp themselves in the Watford half of the pitch, the home side probably carved out the best chance of the game so far. A goalmouth scramble in the City penalty box left the ball finding it’s way to Troy Deeney and his half volleyed effort was saved at the feet of Ederson.

At this point, Watford where digging in deep but inevitably City found the breakthrough in the 39th minute. It was Mahrez and Bernardo who linked up yet again down City’s right and the Algerian winger delivered a delightful left footed cross into the path of Leroy Sane in the six yard box who managed to chest it down and through Foster legs to give Guardiola’s men the lead before half time.

As the second half wore on it seemed like only a matter of time until the away side would double their lead and in the 51st minute it was Mahrez who made it 2-0. The winger found himself unmarked at the back post as Gabriel Jesus drove it across the face of goal.

While City where largely dominant on the night enjoying 68% of the possession, the home side still managed to give the Champions a scare when they pulled one back through Abdoulaye Doucoure in the 85th minute. Unlike City, this goal back seemed to startle them and Watford increasingly looked like getting an equaliser as they pushed further up the pitch. Had the game gone on for a few minutes later then the 94 minutes then it was highly possible Guardiola’s side would have conceded, but City held on to move five points clear of Liverpool ahead of their game with Burnley tomorrow night.