Hat-trick for Sergio Aguero as Manchester City hit Watford for six
Sergio Aguero's hat-trick sent Manchester City top of the Premier League as Pep Guardiola's men thrashed Watford 6-0 at Vicarage Road.
Aguero spearheaded this rampant triumph, laying on a goal for Gabriel Jesus and inching ever closer to City's all-time goalscoring record.
Prolific Argentinian Aguero took his City tally to 175 goals, now just three shy of breaking Eric Brook's club record of 177 that has stood since 1939.
City host point-less and goalless Crystal Palace in their next Premier League encounter - in this form Aguero could easily claim another treble and break Brook's record at the next available opportunity.
The 29-year-old remains so confident in his scoring touch even as to eschew the late spot-kick here, letting Sterling step up and strike home the sixth goal instead.
Watford started the day with hopes of reaching the top-flight's summit for the first time since September 1982, but they ended it having leaked 11 goals without reply in their last two home league meetings with City.
The Hornets closed last term with a 5-0 home defeat at City's hands, and not even new boss Marco Silva's growing influence could do anything to stop a quickfire repeat of that May 21 humbling.
De Bruyne could have had four assists and a goal inside half an hour. Instead the peerless Belgian had to be content with laying on the opener.
The former Chelsea playmaker ran the early show at Vicarage Road, twice playing in Sterling and once more Aguero at the top of the contest.
The 26-year-old flicked wide from 18 yards in a rare miscue too - but then made no mistake whatsoever when teeing up Ageruo's opener.
The sheer speed of De Bruyne's teasing, whipped free-kick neutered Watford's defenders and goalkeeper alike, and Aguero's deft header did the rest.
The sense of a mismatch was growing just three minutes later when Jesus cantered down the left and slid through to David Silva, who served up Aguero's second strike on a platter.
Aguero completed the simplest of tasks with a gleeful tap-in, that floored Watford on the half-hour.
The irresistible visitors twisted the knife still further when Aguero turned provider for strike partner Jesus.
The Brazil forward's savvy run and finish did justice to Aguero's fine through-ball, leaving City coasting to the top of the table.
Watford at least forced their manful attempt to create a contest just past the hour. Sadly for the hosts though, as soon as City stopped napping they added to their goal glut.
De Bruyne's accurate corner picked Watford's defensive alignment apart again, and Otamendi powered home the header.
Aguero had no intention of cutting short Watford's horror-show either, scything through the static defence before delicately rolling home his hat-trick goal.
When Sterling was felled in the Watford box late on, the former Liverpool forward convinced both Aguero and Guardiola to let him take the spot-kick.
Not even that largesse backfired, as Sterling lashed home the penalty to complete City's remarkable afternoon.