Manchester City returned to second in the table with a thunderous first-half display during which they scored five goals inside 18 minutes to thrash Watford 8-0 at the Etihad and chalk up a club-record winning margin in the Premier League.
The champions opened the scoring in less than a minute, with Sergio Aguero adding a second from the spot on seven minutes, before Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva and Nicolas Otamendi contributed to City's tally during a whirlwind start which blew Watford apart.
City took their foot off the gas soon after the 25th minute but nonetheless continued to rip Watford apart in merciless fashion, adding their sixth on 48 minutes before Bernardo, seemingly out of nowhere, netted City's seventh to complete his hat-trick and set up a final 30 minutes which took the form of a training session, ending in Kevin De Bruyne adding an eighth with a stunning finish.
The result leaves a traumatised Watford at the bottom of the table, while City can claim to have responded in perfect fashion to last weekend's 3-2 defeat to Norwich City.
The home side only needed 52 seconds to register their first goal of the game - the fastest in the Premier League so far this season - as De Bruyne supplied an excellent cross for David Silva to score from close range.
City continued to stream forward with bewildering regularity, with Mahrez bursting down the right and drawing a slight foul from goalkeeper Ben Foster after six minutes to win a penalty which, following a VAR check, was comfortably tucked home by Aguero - his seventh goal of the season and his 11th in eight games against the Hornets.
The carnage was only just beginning, however, and with just 10 minutes gone Watford's body language reeked of dejection and fear - something which was clear by the way their left-hand side allowed for Mahrez, once again, to find space in the box and score his 50th Premier League goal via a slight deflection.
If the defending for the third was substandard, the way Watford unfolded for the fourth was cataclysmic, with Otamendi, totally unmarked, heading the ball into the path of Bernardo, also unmarked, to add City's fourth goal after less than 15 minutes.
By this point, you almost felt sorry for this Watford team, the 6-0 loss to City at Wembley in May fresh in their minds, as the Citizens streamed forward with a kind of zip and frequency which left the visitors looking as if they were being swallowed by quicksand.
A fifth goal felt inevitable, and it came before the 18th minute from another piece of poor Watford defending combined with quick thinking from City: an unnecessary foul, a quickly taken free kick from the effervescent Aguero, and an easy finish for Otamendi, adding to his assist from three minutes earlier.
By 25 minutes, it felt in some way as if the game was already over. Watford, now in damage limitation mode, put everyone behind the ball, while City dropped several gears, their thirst for goals somewhat satiated and the three points already in the bag.
Even so, the chances continued to come, with Aguero narrowly sending a chipped shot wide following another excellent De Bruyne ball after 26 minutes and then hitting the post two minutes later, a moment which preceded a 10 minute lull before Aguero nearly scored again, only to be denied by Foster before Bernardo sent the rebound just wide.
It was a half in which City - and this is no exaggeration - could have scored 10 goals, five of which for Aguero, if their finishing had been sharper at times. By 15 minutes, many were asking whether Manchester United's 9-0 win over Ipswich Town, a Premier League record, could be beaten.
After half-time, Pep Guardiola took off Benjamin Mendy, making his first start since April, for new signing Angelino, completing a successful return for the much-adored Frenchman, who they would not have wanted to lose to injury in such a dead result.
Three minutes into the second period and City were on the scoresheet again - a precise, cleverly disguised pass from Silva finding Bernardo, who took the ball delicately in his stride and slid past Foster, equalling the 6-0 scoreline suffered by Watford in the FA Cup final four months ago.
Another brief lull followed, with City controlling the ball as if they were going through a training exercise rather than a Premier League game, and it only took a sudden burst of energy for City to get in behind again, the omnipresent De Bruyne laying on yet another assist for Bernardo, who completed his hat-trick at the second time of asking after his initial strike was smothered.
It was fitting that the final say of the game would come from De Bruyne, without doubt the star of the afternoon, who thundered home from just inside the box into the top left-hand corner to give City their eighth and, in the process, their biggest ever win in Premier League history.
For Watford, this was a game without any redeeming qualities, and one which was - just like the FA Cup final - defined by one of their players missing an early chance before the team ultimately capitulated and found themselves on the receiving end of a truly humiliating scoreline.
MANCHESTER CITY (4-3-3): Ederson, Walker (Cancelo 54'), Otamendi, Fernandinho (Garcia 63'), Mendy (Angelino 45'), De Bruyne, Rodri, Silva, Bernardo, Mahrez, Aguero
WATFORD (4-4-1-1): Foster, Femenia, Dawson, Mariappa, Holebas, Foulquier (Pereyra 33'), Capoue, Doucoure, Hughes (Sarr 59'), Cleverley, Deulofeu (Gray 77')body check tags ::