The best pictures from City's crucial Premier League clash at home to Watford...

Raheem Sterling fired Manchester City four points clear at the top of the Premier League thanks to a stunning second half hat-trick as the Blues beat Watford 3-1 at the Etihad.

The England winger netted three times in just 13 minutes at the start of the second period to help overcome some dogged resistance from the Hornets.

Despite dominating, City had been frustrated in the first half.

But after breaking the deadlock with a hotly contested opener – which was only allowed after lengthy consultations between referee Paul Tierney and his assistant after the goal was initially flagged for offside – Sterling went to town.

Within two minutes he had scored again via some superb play from David Silva and Riyad Mahrez. And he then sealed the treble with a wonderful individual piece of skill.

Though substitute Gerard Deulofeu narrowed the deficit, City were deserved winners to maintain pole position in the race to be crowned champions.

Here’s a selection of the best pictures…