CITY SLICKERS: Yaya Toure (right) celebrates with Aleksandar Kolarov
TWO QUICK-FIRE goals gave Manchester City all three points over Premier League outsiders Watford on Saturday (Jan 2).
If you have an older sibling, you always pray for the moment when you can bully them like they did you. Well this season feels like Watford's moment to do just that.
Even though the club isn't in London, it is always described as the capital's poor relative. But that family member has come a long way from the days of short trousers and Graham Taylor to show they are more than capable of annoying their more prestigious relatives on a permanent basis.
The Hornets were unlucky not to grab all three points against Manuel Pellegrini's power brokers, but this 2-1 defeat to the two-time Premier League champions was more about the visitors' capabilities than the home side's deficiencies.
From the very first minute, everyone at Vicarage Road could see that a Watford goal was coming as the home side harried, pestered and mocked the City defence. Despite the tutorials from Bacary Sagna, Eliaquim Mangala still looks like a FIFA 2016 player who has won a contract at his favourite club. Some may say a Freddie Adu for the noughties generation.
Admittedly every club would miss the commanding presence of Vincent Kompany, but their boss – and owners - must know that a more clinical team would have punished City in the way their obvious weaknesses deserved.
With the Kompany shaped hole apparent for all to see it was up to Yaya Toure to remind us all of the player he is, or can be.
In the opening 55 minutes the home team won every loose ball; a situation that started with the game's first shot on target after two minutes and ended with an own goal by Alexander Kolarov.
Ben Watson – who won the FA Cup for Wigan over City in 2013 – sent his corner right into the mixer and it came off the City defender's head and flew past his goalkeeper. Joe Hart may have his doubters when playing for England but without him City would be a few more points off leaders Arsenal in the race for the title.
Both teams had chances with Fernandinho blasting over, and Heurelho Gomes saving from David Silva to prevent City; while Almen Abdi sent his effort over the bar before Hart denied the always impressive Odion Ighalo.
Watford looked to be heading for their ninth league win of the season, until a crazy two and a half minutes changed the game.
They say that the cream will rise to the top and City's quality confirmed that as Toure and Sergio Aguero scored the goals to break the hearts of a packed Vicarage Road. In fairness to City, their fans deserved nothing less as they vocally supported their team throughout despite another dismal away result looking as if it was on the horizon.
In the 82nd minute Toure showed his class with a well crafted volley before Aguero – who still looks some way from match fitness – headed the winner after Sagna teed him up.
City are now third, three points behind the leaders while the Hornets have got themselves to ninth in the table with 29 points.