Manchester City will look to continue their unbeaten run, despite their setback against Crystal Palace to end their record-breaking winning streak.
Manchester City have a steady lead over the chasing pack, stretching to 12 points. After a run of 18 consecutive wins in the Premier League, Pep Guardiola’s men finally dropped points against a resurgent Crystal Palace side, who could have inflicted more pain had they not missed a stoppage-time penalty.
The Citizens will now be looking to get back to winning ways against a struggling Watford side. The Hornets, meanwhile, have lost their last three away games on the trot. Earlier in the season, they were primed to be contenders for a top half finish, but it has all gone pear-shaped in recent weeks.
The reverse fixture resulted in Watford being thrashed 6-0 by Manchester City, as Sergio Aguero grabbed a hat-trick. Ahead of their latest meeting on Tuesday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Manchester City will be missing the key duo of Gabriel Jesus and Kevin de Bruyne, both of whom suffered injuries in the stalemate against Crystal Palace. David Silva and long-term absentee Benjamin Mendy also remain out.
But, captain Vincent Kompany, Fabian Delph and John Stones have all trained and could yet return to the side. The absence of David Silva and De Bruyne are a bit of a concern though, and the duo could be replaced by Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan.
Manchester City’s squad depth means, they still have the personnel to replace key injured players and yet focus on all four fronts. Guardiola has been rotating his squad during the busy festive period, which should also see the return of Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling back to the starting 11 when they host Watford.
Meanwhile, despite the absence of some key players, the intensity is unlikely to be let up in midfield, with Gundogan and Bernardo Silva capable enough to step up. Aguero would be eager to get back to goalscoring ways against a side who did not enjoy the Argentine’s exploit much last time out.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Otamendi, Mangala, Delph; Bernardo Silva, Fernandinho, Gundogan; Sterling, Aguero, Sane
Watford have several players sidelined for this clash through injuries and suspensions. Captain Troy Deeney is one notable absentee, who serves the last of his four-match ban for the red card he received against Huddersfield.
Will Hughes, Kiko Femenia, Younes Kaboul, Miguel Britos, Craig Cathcart, Nathaniel Chalobah and Isaac Success are other players still out injured and unavailable, providing a major selection headache to Marco Silva, who would have preferred rotating his side instead.
Meanwhile, the Hornets are likely to play to their strengths instead of concentrating on defence, meaning the onus will be on Abdoulaye Doucoure and Richarlison to provide the zing in attack, while Stefano Okaka will look to add to his tally.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1): Gomes; Janmaat, Wague, Kabasele, Zeegelaar; Doucoure, Watson; Carrillo, Cleverley, Richarlison; Okaka
- Watford have lost their last three away games in the Premier League, netting just one goal in the process. The Hornets last endured a longer losing away run in the competition between February and May 2017 (seven).
- Watford have lost 16 points from winning positions this season in the Premier League, more than any other team.
- Five of Watford’s Premier League games this season have seen a 90+ minute winning goal – two in their favour and three against (most recently against Swansea last time out).
- Watford have lost each of their last seven top-flight matches against sides starting that day in the top spot.
- Sergio Aguero – who has six goals in four Premier League games against the Hornets – could become the second player to score a Premier League hat-trick against the same club twice in a season, after Emmanuel Adebayor against Derby County in 2007-08.
1. Watford Asian Handicap +2.5 @ 1.700
2. Manchester City Clean Sheet – NO vs Watford @ 1.83
1. Manchester City vs Watford – Full Time Result – Draw or Watford @ 5.00
Player To Watch
If there is one player who has improved tremendously under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, it is undoubtedly Raheem Sterling. Over the course of this season, Sterling has proved his worth with goals, assists and match winners, and his form at home has been especially exceptional (eight goals in eight games).
The game against Watford will now be a chance for him to step up and take additional responsibilities in the absence of star performer Kevin de Bruyne. The Watford game is another chance for Sterling to show the manager and club why they made the perfect decision to not sell him the previous summer.
Manchester City 4-0 Watford
One winning run may have ended, but another could start on Tuesday when Manchester City host a struggling Watford side. The Hornets have been consistent performers and entertainers, but not winners.
They have lost several games they could – and should – have won this season and at this rate, they could soon be looking over their shoulders in the relegation battle. City, despite their recent injuries, will have no problem dispatching off Marco Silva’s men considering their position in the league and their rich vein of form.