Pep Guardiola’s side must avoid defeat against Watford on Sunday if they’re to secure a UEFA Champions League spot for next season.
Manchester City are currently in the third spot ahead of the final weekend of this season, with Liverpool and Arsenal behind them. City have a better chance of finishing in the top four, and if they win against Watford, they will be guaranteed a Champions League spot.
Even a draw will ensure City participate in the coveted league, but it could mean they drop down to the fouth spot if Liverpool manage to beat Middlesbrough at home by three goals.
Watford, meanwhile, will have to bid goodbye to manager Walter Mazzarri after Sunday’s game, after the club confirmed that the Italian will leave once the season ends. They are safe from relegation, but will be looking to put up a strong show at Vicarage Road.
Team News and Tactics
City have enjoyed three successive wins and Guardiola is expected to not make too many changes to his starting lineup. The only decision he might have to make is between choosing Kompany or Stones.
Pablo Zabaleta is likely to remain on the bench after what was his farewell appearance at the Etihad Stadium, which means Fernandinho will play at right-back.
Both Jesus and Aguero are expected to man the front line, while Raheem Sterling will hope to be selected ahead of Leroy Sane.
Watford haven’t been strong defensively, and Guardiola will be able to take advantage of that. The attacking prowess of his team has been strong throughout the season, and on Sunday, Gabriel Jesus will look to continue with his fiery start at Manchester City
Meanwhile, Sergio Aguero will also be looking to score the double which will take him to 20 top-flight goals this season.
Guardiola still faces issues with his defence, which was evident when they failed to maintain a clean sheet against West Brom even as only three minutes remained on the clock. However, Kompany’s return has made them look more solid in that area.
Probable lineup: Caballero, Fernandinho, Stones, Otamendi, Kolarov, Toure, De Bruyne, Silva, Sane, Jesus, Aguero
Mazzarri’s squad will be without Sebastian Prodl after his late sending off in the game against Chelsea. Watford may need to change their formation for that very reason if Christian Kabasele is unable recover in time from a hamstring problem.
Furthermore, Stefano Okaka could start in this game after coming off the bench to score at Stamford Bridge.
Irrespective of how they fare over the weekend, Watford will still fall short of their points from last season. They also played poorly in the FA Cup and EFL Cup, but considering its their manager’s last game on Sunday, they are likely to put up a strong performance.
Watford will play to retain the 12th spot in the standings, and can cause a nasty upset for Manchester City if they can manage to put up a strong defence. City are known for their pacey, attacking style of football which can still be retrained by a good defence.
Probable lineup: Gomes; Janmaat, Mariappa, Holebas, Zuniga, Cleverley, Doucoure, Capoue, Amrabat, Niang, Okaka
- Manchester City have never lost to Watford in the Premier League (W3, D2).
- The last victory for the Hornets against Manchester City was 1-0 in Division Two in 1989.
- Watford have lost five consecutive Premier League games, making it their worst run since the 2008-2009 season.
- The Hornets have lost all seven matches this season against teams in the current top four, conceding a total of 23 goals in the process.
- However, Watford have never lost on the final day of a Premier League season (W1, D2).
Player to watch out for: Gabriel Jesus
Gabriel Jesus has easily been one of the brightest and most exciting young talents of the Premier League season. The 20-year-old has only made seven Premier League appearances but has six goals and three assists to his name.
The youngster has managed to make a massive impact at the Etihad stadium, and even managed to jeopardise the position of a seasoned Manchester City striker like Sergio Aguero.
A combination of Jesus, Sane and Aguero might just be too much for Watford to handle, and it will be interesting to see how Jesus plays after returning from an injury.
The likely outcome will be a 3-1 victory for Manchester City.
Watford’s dismal form and Manchester City’s blistering attack are too contrasting to even consider otherwise. The Hornets did show some strength against Chelsea as they lost 4-3, but against a strong attacking line, there’s little Watford’s defence can do to restrict it.
This should be an easy one for Pep Guardiola’s men, and they will be looking to net some early goals. Watford will play this game after five successive defeats, and Manchester City is likely to make it six back-to-back losses.