The Etihad Arena
29th August 2015, Kick-Off: 1500 BST
Dominant Manchester City look to solidify their first place, against new boys Watford. Having held Southampton, Watford will look to prove a thorn in City’s side, though the sky blues seem unstoppable on current form.
Manchester City equalled a fifty-year old club record last weekend, by winning their ninth successive Premier League game. A win against Watford would make this run the best in the Citizen’s history. Manager Manuel Pellegrini however, has distanced himself from statistics, choosing to concentrate on only the next task at hand.
Against Southampton, Quique Sanchez Flores’ men kept another clean sheet, showing small but steady signs of progress in the Premier League. Having being dumped out of the Capital One Cup by Preston North End on Wednesday night, Watford will look to bounce back. They will face a gargantuan up-hill task in order to do this, but Watford, like City, are undefeated thus far.
Manuel Pellegrini is oddly spoiled for choice, with Pablo Zabaleta the only absentee in his squad. The Argentine is not likely to change much as his starting 11 has remained largely unchanged, scoring 8 and conceding none thus far.
Joe Hart will start as City’s man between the posts, though Willy Caballero might be given a chance in the Capital One Cup.
Ahead of the England International, Pellegrini is likely to stick with the back four of Sagna, Kompany, Mangala and Kolarov, with new boy Nicolas Otamendi having to content himself with a spot on the bench. City’s back four will have to be organised, as Watford’s attack has managed to craft many goalscoring chances, despite lacking a killer finish.
City’s effective double pivot of Fernandinho and Yaya Toure, is certain to start at the heart of the midfield.
After an impressive showing, capped-off match winning goal, against Everton, Samir Nasri is likely to start on the right attacking midfield position, ahead of the uni-dimensional Jesus Navas. David Silva and Raheem Sterling are likely to retain their spots in the centre and left of City’s attack. Watford’s stingy defence will have their hands full with the constant movement and interchangeability between Sterling and Silva. Coupled with Sagna and Kolarov’s run down the wings, City will push Watford onto the back foot for large spells of the game.
At City’s apex is Sergio Aguero ,who when fit, is nearly guaranteed to start. Rendering peripheral by John Stones and Jagielka, the mercurial Argentine will be itching to be amongst the goals again. He will however meet a dogged defensive opposition in Watford, who have conceded only twice in three games so far.
Possible Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Hart, Sagna, Kompany, Mangala, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Yaya Toure, Nasri, Silva, Sterling, Aguero.
Quique Sanchez Flores’ Hornets are unlikely to change their basic 4-2-3-1 against Manchester City, lining up a tight defence, with a lively front-line.
Former Tottenham No.1 Heurelho Gomes will start between the sticks.
In front of Gomes, Watford’s back is likely to remain unchanged, with Holebas and Nyom starting as left and right-backs respectively, whilst Cathcart and former Bremen defender Pr dl start at the heart of the defence. All four members of Hornets’ defense will have their work cut out for them. The fullbacks will have to negate both wingers and full-backs while the centre-backs will have to stick together to prevent the lethal due of Silva and Aguero.
Former Tottenham starlet Etienne Capoue and Swiss international Valon Behrami will start at the heart of Watford’s midfield. Ahead of the double pivot, Anya is likely to start in the centre of the attacking triad. Jurado will likely hold his position on the left, while Miguel Layun might start on the right to give Watford an element of creativity on the right.
Up ahead the 27 year old, Troy Deeney is Watford’s only option up-front. Having managed to draw all three of their games thus far, the onus will be on the defence to try and nullify City’s manic attack.
Possible Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Gomes, Nyom, Prodl, Cathcart, Holebas, Capoue, Behrami, Layun, Jurado, Anya, Deeney.
- Manchester City can extend their winning run to a club record of 10 games, with a victory over Watford
- Watford are the only promoted side to have not lost a game in the Premier League yet.
Player to Watch
With a goal, and three assists to his name, David Silva has contributed the most to Manchester City’s final product. The silky spaniard has been at the heart of everything good that Manchester City have managed up the field. Reaching the pinnacle of his abilities, the former Valencia man is near irreplaceable for the Citizens, as his dribbling, vision and off-the-ball movement, make him near impossible to predict.
By buying Sterling, Pellegrini has bought a player in a mould similar to Silva, who will ply exclusively on the left, with Silva given the freedom to wreck havoc in the centre of City’s attack.
Considering the fact that Watford haven’t conceded a goal in over 200 minutes, City will look to Silva to provide the breakthrough against an organised Watford defence.
After successfully negating Everton, Manchester City will look to fire on all fronts, as they seek to re-establish their dominance at the helm of the Premier League. 3-1 to Manchester City.
Blast from the past