MANCHESTER, England – The return of David Silva to the Manchester City line-up played a big role on Tuesday in the Premier League leaders’ 3-1 win over Watford.
The Spaniard, missing from the squad since Dec. 23 for personal reasons, assisted on the first two goals as City bounced back after being held 0-0 by Crystal Palace on Sunday.
The hosts jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first minute on a play that began with Silva’s ball to Leroy Sane and ended with Raheem Sterling’s 18th goal of the campaign.
Silva delivered a cross to Kevin de Bruyne just before the 15-minute mark and the Belgian international’s shot deflected off Watford’s Christian Kabasele into the net.
Sergio Agüero made it 3-0 for City in the second half before Andre Gray pulled one back for visiting Watford, which suffered its seventh loss in nine matches and occupies the 10th spot in the league table.
City is now 15 points ahead of second-place Manchester United.
Defending champion Chelsea is in third, just a point ahead of Liverpool, though the Blues have a game in hand. Fifth place belongs to Tottenham Hotspur, which beat Swansea 2-0 on Tuesday on a rain-soaked pitch in South Wales.
Fernando Llorente, a former Swan making his first Premier League start for Spurs, put the visitors up 1-0 with a goal in the 12th minute, but the outcome remained in doubt until Dele Alli got a second for Tottenham in the 89th.
Crystal Palace climbed out of the drop zone with a 2-1 away victory over Southampton, whose winless streak stretched to nine matches. Shane Long ended a long scoring drought to put the Saints ahead 1-0 in the 17th minute, but James McArthur and Luka Milivojevic scored for the London club in the second half.
Another struggling capital side, West Ham United, also came from behind in a 2-1 win against West Bromwich Albion.
Andy Carroll had both goals – including the winner in stoppage time – to lead the Hammers out of the relegation zone.