Gabriel Jesus put speculation about his future at the club to one side as he scored an amazing four goals to help Manchester City demolish relegation-threatened Watford.
The victory moves Pep Guardiola's side four points clear at the top of the Premier League table.
The Brazilian opened his account with a fourth-minute goal, slotting home from Oleksandr Zinchenko's low cross before Kevin De Bruyne's sensational delivery set him up for a second in the 23rd minute.
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Hassane Kamara's first goal for Watford halved the deficit just five minutes later to give Roy Hodgson's side hope, but Rodri's rocket from distance put daylight between the teams once more 10 minutes before half-time.
Jesus sealed his treble almost immediately after the restart, converting the penalty he won after being upended by Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster, and De Bruyne laid on another assist as Jesus scored his fourth.
The victory moves Manchester City four points above Liverpool who have the chance to respond tomorrow at Anfield as they host neighbours Everton.
At the opposite end of the table, Watford remain 19th, seven points adrift of safety with just five games left to play.

TALKING POINT - City chase down Liverpool's superior goal difference

With the potential for the title to be decided on goal difference, City attacked relentlessly all afternoon, closing Liverpool's superiority to just 2+. Centre to everything was Gabriel Jesus, who this morning has been strongly linked with a move to Arsenal. The Brazilian is proving to be an important player for City in their title quest. His goals of late have been crucial and if the club was seriously considering moving him on, recent performances may well have changed their thinking.
The bigger picture is that Man City now require only five wins to clinch back-to-back Premier League trophies. It has been well documented that they have a kinder run-in than rivals Liverpool, it's just a matter of whether they can hold their nerve. If today is anything to go by, the City faithful should not have any anxiety. Leeds (a), Newcastle (h), West Ham (a), Wolves (a) and Aston Villa (h) are their remaining games.
AS IT HAPPENED

MAN OF THE MATCH - Gabriel Jesus (Man City)

Almost everything he touched turned to gold, forever in the right place at the right time and he had the prowess to match, offering Guardiola a distinct reminder of his qualities.

PLAYER RATINGS

Man City: Ederson 6, Cancelo 7, Dias 6, Laporte 6, Zinchenko 7, De Bruyne 8, Rodri 7, Fernandinho 6, Grealish 5, Sterling 6, Jesus 10*.. subs: Ake 5, Gundogan 5, Mahrez 5.
Watford: Foster 6, Ngakia 5, Kabasele 5, Samir 4, Kamara 6, Sissoko 5, Louza 5, Cleverley 5, Sarr 5, King 5, Dennis 7.. subs: Pedro 5, Cathcart 5, Kayembe N/A.

KEY MOMENTS

4' - GOAL! MAN CITY 1-0 WATFORD (GABRIEL JESUS): That didn't take long! City are ahead with their first attack. Cancelo's cross is over everyone but Zinchenko keeps it alive on the opposite flank. It's a terrific ball across the face of goal and Jesus is there to slot it home.
23' - GOAL! MAN CITY 2-0 WATFORD (GABRIEL JESUS): Game over already? De Bruyne's delicious whipped cross puts it on a plate for Jesus who can't miss with his header. Two for City, two for Jesus. All going to plan for Pep.
28' - GOAL! MAN CITY 2-1 WATFORD (HASSANE KAMARA): Oh hello! Watford halve the deficit, who saw that coming?! Kamara scores his first goal for the club! It's a brilliant ball from Dennis, picking out the run of Kamara and he fires it low and hard into the corner of the net. How important could this goal be?
34' - GOAL! MAN CITY 3-1 WATFORD (RODRI): What a strike! De Bruyne goes down hurt and despite some City players appealing for play to be stopped his team mates play on. Jesus picks out Rodri and he takes it on his chest before smashing it home from way out!
49' - GOAL! MAN CITY 4-1 WATFORD (GABRIEL JESUS, PEN): Jesus seals his hat-trick, rolling the ball into the bottom corner and sending Foster the wrong way. It's his first treble since 2019.
53' - GOAL! MAN CITY 5-1 WATFORD (GABRIEL JESUS) That man Jesus again! Everything he touches is turning to gold! It's selfless from De Bruyne as he rolls it back to Jesus and he holds his run, finishing first-time past Foster at his near post.

KEY STATS

  • Manchester City have become the first English league team in history to win 15 consecutive competitive matches against a specific opponent.
  • Gabriel Jesus is just the second player to score a Premier League hat-trick on St George's Day, after Maxi Rodriguez for Liverpool against Birmingham in 2011.
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