Champions settle for 8-0 after early goals make largest win look likely.

With his team leading 5-0 after 18 minutes and threatening Premier League scoring records, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola sat with his arms folded in his dugout and might even have looked a little guilty.

Whether it's the FA Cup final or just a run-of-the mill league game, Watford just do not know how to handle the most free-scoring team in England.

City ended up romping to an 8-0 win yesterday, falling just short of the heaviest margin of victory in the Premier League era (since 1992) — Manchester United's 9-0 win over Ipswich in 1995.

It came four months after City beat Watford 6-0 in the FA Cup final at Wembley to complete an unprecedented domestic treble last season. The previous season, Guardiola's team won 6-0 at Watford's Vicarage Road.

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"If you let five in in 20 minutes, you fear the worst. You think cricket scores," Watford keeper Ben Foster said after the heaviest league loss in the club's 138-year history. "They are without doubt the best team I have ever played. We were poor, didn't lay a glove on them, but at times, it was breathtaking watching them."

Bernardo Silva scored his first professional hat-trick and there were also goals for David Silva, Sergio Aguero, Riyad Mahrez, Nicolas Otamendi and Kevin De Bruyne at Etihad Stadium.

Disappointingly for City's fans or those hoping to see records tumble, City scored only once in the final half-hour of an embarrassingly one-sided match. It was the game's best goal, though — a powerful drive from De Bruyne into the roof of the net.

In the final minutes, City's fans urged their team forward, even roaring "Shoot!" when goalkeeper Ederson had the ball.

"What I like the most is normally when it's 5-0 at halftime, the second half is not serious, it's boring," Guardiola said. "But we did the opposite and we were more aggressive and made a good second half."

It was the perfect reaction from the champions to last weekend's surprising 3-2 loss at Norwich, the first defeat of their title defence which had left them five points behind Liverpool.

Tottenham were on the good side of a tight VAR call in a 2-2 draw at City this season but Mauricio Pochettino's team were on the receiving end of one in a 2-1 loss against Leicester.

Tottenham were ahead courtesy of a first-half strike by Harry Kane when Serge Aurier drove a deflected shot into the bottom corner, seemingly giving the visitors a 2-0 lead at King Power Stadium.

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However, after a lengthy stoppage as the video assistant referee took a forensic look at whether Son Heung-min was offside by millimetres in the build-up, the goal was ruled out.

In Leicester's next attack, Ricardo Pereira scored with a deflected finish to make it 1-1 in the 69th minute and James Maddison completed the home team's comeback by scoring from outside the area in the 85th.

Leicester moved up to third, two points behind Manchester City.

- AP