Manchester City will be looking to bounce back after a huge upset at the hands of Norwich City last week, as they host a resurgent Watford side coming off the back of a brilliant comeback against Arsenal.
City trail leaders Liverpool by five points, which could already be a pivotal lead baring in mind the quality of both teams.
Under new (old) management, the Hornets staged a thrilling come back against Arsenal to claim a 2-2 draw, and will be high on confidence going to the Etihad.
Despite that, they will need a miracle to come away with even one point, but knowing City are looking short defensively, they will most certainly give it a go.
Here is 90min’s preview of the game.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Saturday 21 September|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||15:00 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||Etihad Stadium|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||N/A|
Manchester City are in the midst of a major defensive crisis. After Aymeric Laporte was ruled out until at least January, John Stones has now suffered a muscle injury, meaning he will be sidelined for five weeks.
This means Nicolas Otamendi is the only fit senior centre back at the club, leaving Pep Guardiola with a major headache. Fernandinho is likely to be drafted in next to the Argentine.
On a positive note, Benjamin Mendy is set to return for City in the coming weeks.
There is no major injury news in regards to any Watford player, but Troy Deeney continues to be sidelined after suffering a knee surgery.
Roberto Pereyra is likely to come back into the team after making a goal scoring cameo from the bench against Arsenal after being eased back from injury.
|Manchester City||Ederson; Walker, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Zinchenko; Rodri, de Bruyne, D. Silva; B.Silva, Aguero, Sterling.|
|West Ham||Foster; Femenia, Cathcart, Dawson, Holebas; Doucoure, Capoue; Hughes, Pereyra, Deulofeu; Gray.|
Head to Head Record
Manchester City have taken on the Hornets just the 29 times, with City predictably leading the head to head with 18 wins to Watford’s six.
Incredibly, City have won their last 11 games in all competitions against their opposition, and really, Watford haven’t come close to beating them. Some of the results include: 6-0, 6-0, 5-0. 3-0, 4-2, 3-1 and 3-1. It’s been one of the more one sided fixtures in recent memory.
Watford have failed to even beat City in their last 16 attempts, going all the way back to 1989.
Their last meeting was in last season’s FA Cup final, which was a demolition job: 6-0 to City.
City were going nicely – 10 points from 12 – before they were shockingly beaten at Carrow Road. A big bump in the road for a team that were looking unbeatable.
Watford have been struggling. It’s as simple as that. As a result, Javi Gracia was sacked and replaced by Quique Sanchez Flores.
Despite not winning a game this season, an improved performance against the Gunners will give Hornets fans some optimism for the forthcoming season.
|Manchester City||West Ham|
|Shakhtar Donetsk 0-3 Man City (18/9)||Watford 2-2 Arsenal (15/9)|
|Norwich 3-2 Man City (14/9)||Newcastle 1-1 Watford (31/8)|
|Man City 4-0 Brighton (31/8)||Watford 3-1 Coventry (27/8)|
|Bournemouth 1-3 Man City (25/8)||Watford 1-3 West Ham (24/8)|
|Man City 2-2 Spurs (17/8)||Everton 1-0 Watford (17/8)|
Despite City being stricken in the defensive compartment, you’d have to be a very brave man to say that Watford will be leaving Manchester with anything at all.
Even with an improved performance, the Hornets should be on the receiving end of a heavy defeat – especially with Guardiola’s men resembling a wounded animal.
Don’t rule out a Watford goal though, especially if their forward players counter attack in the fashion they did against Arsenal.
Prediction: Manchester City 4-1 Watford