Manchester City take on Watford knowing they can put further pressure on second-placed Liverpool by opening up a four-point lead at the top of the table.

Manchester City’s form in recent weeks has been solid enough for them to move past a faltering Liverpool side. Last weekend, City registered a narrow win over Bournemouth, and with Liverpool failing to breakdown a resilient Everton, City opened up a one-point lead over the Reds in the Premier League table.

That win over the Cherries also extended City’s winning run to eight games in all competitions since their shock loss to Newcastle United in the league. Pep Guardiola’s men hold the title destiny in their own hands compared to January when they risked falling ten points off the pace to the Reds, and a win over Watford will add to their points tally and apply more pressure on Liverpool.

Watford have had a solid season till date, but have shown signs of inconsistency every now and then. The memory of the last away trip in the league would be fresh as Liverpool thrashed the Hornets 5-0. Last weekend, Javi Gracia’s men were fortunate enough to earn all three points right at the death as Andre Gray’s goal was enough to down Leicester City 2-1.

While City are hoping to cruise at the top and retain their league title, Watford are well on course to challenging Wolves for the coveted 7th spot and get a place in Europe for next season.

Team News & Tactics

Manchester City

Pep Guardiola’s men have, at times faced difficult periods this season as some key players were out injured. Even in the current period defender Aymeric Laporte and midfielder Fernandinho are on the sidelines, and despite those absentees, there seems no stopping the side from winning. In the latest news, Kevin De Bruyne, who has himself endured a difficult season, is yet again out with a problem.

John Stones is also yet to recover from his problem and joins the players mentioned before on the sidelines. On the other hand, full-back Benjamin Mendy is still out and is joined by back-up left-back Fabian Delph. Those injuries will certainly be pleasing news for Oleksandr Zinchenko as Guardiola is set to stick with him to play left-back.

Riyad Mahrez’s match-winning goal against Bournemouth may well earn him a start against Watford, but the decision is more inclined towards protecting key stars before City’s knockout games with Schalke and Swansea. Sergio Aguero will start up front and hope to build on his impressive tally of 10 goals in six appearances against Watford including two hat-tricks.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Otamendi, Zinchenko; Bernardo Silva, Gundogan, David Silva; Mahrez, Aguero, Sane

Watford

Javi Gracia’s side has been turning the tide with some impressive goal-scoring displays in 2019. Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu, in particular, have been putting in impressive shifts. The Watford captain has been directly involved in 8 goals this year, while only Sergio Aguero has been involved in more goals (10).

Gracia does not have any new injury concerns or suspensions to his side and may be tempted to retain the same starting lineup for the City game that he fielded against Leicester. Andre Gray, despite helping his team earn all three points with his match-winning goal from the bench against the Foxes, is unlikely to start again.

Probable Lineup (4-2-2-2): Foster; Janmaat, Mariappa, Cathcart, Holebas; Doucoure, Capoue; Hughes, Pereyra; Deulofeu, Deeney

Key Stats

  • Manchester City have never lost a Premier League game against Watford (W7 D2), winning the last seven in a row by an aggregate score of 22-3.
  • In all competitions, Watford have lost their last nine meetings with Manchester City.
  • Watford have lost 10 of their 11 away league matches against the reigning top-flight champions, drawing the other in December 2015 against Chelsea.
  • Sergio Aguero has scored 96 Premier League goals for Manchester City at the Etihad.
  • Only Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero (10) has been directly involved in more Premier League goals in 2019 than Watford’s Troy Deeney (5 goals, 3 assists).

Player To Watch

Sergio Aguero

Leading the PL Golden Boot race (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Leading the PL Golden Boot race (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

The Argentine marksman has been in rampant form this season, leading the Premier League goalscoring charts and appears well on course to leading his side to another title triumph.

Against Watford, he faces another one of those familiar sides that have had to bear the brunt of is brilliance in the past. Aguero has scored 10 goals in six appearances against the Hornets, and there could be no doubt he’d want to add more when he walks out onto the pitch on Saturday.

Manchester City do have two good forwards with Gabriel Jesus being the other, but it is the Argentine who is the real leader up front and their main hope to retain the Premier League title.

Prediction

Manchester City 3-1 Watford

The prediction is not to say that Watford are not capable enough to put up a fight against City, but considering the form of Pep Guardiola’s men, there seems no stopping them now. Watford are also in the hunt for a European place in the table, but City will be too much to handle while the Manchester side guns for the title.

Watford do have the firepower to score goals, as they have shown in recent games, but there is no doubting what Manchester City are capable of on that front. Expect Pep Guardiola’s side to cruise to victory and add more pressure on Liverpool in the title race.

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