Premier League: Watford slips into bottom three after thrashing by Man City

Manchester City was inspired by Raheem Sterling who struck twice before halftime, while Phil Foden and Aymeric Laporte scored after the break.

Raheem Sterling (centre) scored a brace to guide Manchester City to a 3-0 win over Watford.   -  TWITTER (BERNARDOCSILVA)

Watford's hopes of avoiding relegation suffered a double blow on Tuesday when it was thrashed 4-0 at home by Manchester City and then slipped into the Premier League relegation zone after fellow struggler Aston Villa beat Arsenal in the late game.

City was inspired by Raheem Sterling who struck twice before halftime at Vicarage Road while Phil Foden and Aymeric Laporte scored after the break as the visitor racked up its 13th straight win over Watford in all competitions.

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The previous two meetings between the sides resulted in an 8-0 home league win for Pep Guardiola's City side in September and a 6-0 victory in last year's FA Cup final.

Watford's only consolation was that the scoreline could have been even worse on Tuesday, although with Villa beating visiting Arsenal 1-0, its fate is no longer in its hands.

Watford is level on 34 points with Villa but has dropped below it into the relegation zone on goal difference. Second-bottom Bournemouth has 31 points but could still escape.

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Watford faces Arsenal away in its final game on Sunday when Villa, which has the better goal difference by one, visits West Ham United. Bournemouth travels to Everton knowing it must win and hope the other two lose to have a chance of staying up.

Hayden Mullins, in temporary charge of Watford following the sacking of manager Nigel Pearson on Sunday, watched powerless from the touchline as City went through its  routines.

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“It was always going to be a tough ask, we knew that. They are a great side with a great manager,” Mullins said.

“City do this to most teams. The minute you come out and give space they take advantage of it.

“Tomorrow we will look at the performance more, put it to bed and start looking at the next game.”

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Watford did have an early chance when Will Hughes slashed a shot miles wide, but it was mainly one-way traffic.

Sterling opened the scoring after 30 minutes with a stunning strike. Controlling Kyle Walker's driven pass instantly, he looked up and smashed a right-foot effort past Ben Foster.

The England forward doubled City's lead when he fooled Hughes into a trip inside the area and although Foster saved his spot kick, the rebound fell kindly and Sterling touched the ball home for his 19th league goal of the season.

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City, beaten by Arsenal in the FA Cup semifinal on Saturday, hunted for more goals after the break and Foster performed heroics to deny Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne.

He made another save from Sterling in the 63rd minute only for the ball to fall to Foden who tapped it home.

When Laporte headed in a free kick shortly afterwards Watford was reeling, but it avoided any further punishment and had a stroke of luck, that could yet prove crucial, when Gabriel Jesus's late header was ruled out for offside.

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