Thursday, September 21, 2017

Prediction: Watford vs Manchester City

Verdict: Manchester City win and BTTS

Best Odds: 13/8

Bookmaker: Bet 365

It’s the last round of Premier League fixtures, and Manchester City will be hoping for at least a draw that will guarantee them Champions League qualification when they play Watford at Vicarage Road.

Watford

Sunday afternoon’s game will be manager Walter Mazzarri’s last in charge of Watford after it was announced in midweek he would be leaving the club at the end of the season. It will come as no real surprise to Hornet fans and was an outcome most of them probably wanted after the Italian’s failure to grasp the English language, as well as his constant beliefs that they were losing games because they were simply unlucky. Watford have been slowly drifting towards relegation for a number of weeks now, but they can take some optimism from their 4-3 defeat to champions Chelsea on Monday. Even though the Blues played a much-changed side, the attacking freedom showed by Mazzerri’s men was something that had been missing for most of the season. Still though, it is now five defeats on the bounce for the Hornets, with their only goals in that period coming at Stamford Bridge. Fans will be hoping for a good send-off at least for their boss but it will be tough against a strong Manchester City side.

Team News

Captain Troy Deeney is likely to miss the game with a hip injury. Adrian Mariappa could also sit out after picking up a knock while training.

Sebastian Prodl is suspended, while Younes Kaboul (hamstring), Craig Cathcart (knee), Miguel Britos (calf) and Christian Kabasele (hamstring) are all struggling for fitness.

Manchester City

Pep Guardiola’s men have one foot in the Champions League next season, but will be hoping a small miracle doesn’t happen that will see them miss out on Europe’s elite competition. For that to incur, Manchester City would have to lose by a couple of goals, Arsenal would have to beat Everton emphatically, and Liverpool would have to win against Middlesbrough. However, stranger things have happened in the Premier League. Most certainly though, it still has to be seen as a season of disappointment for Guardiola, who will be trophy-less in his first year at a club for the only time in his career. The pressure will be on the Spaniard to get the best out his team next campaign, but they have already shown slight signs of improvement with 10 goals scored in their last three games. In truth, their attacking displays have never been questioned, but their defensive frailties have been exposed, and maybe if captain Vincent Kompany can stay fit next season, they will have a better chance of silverware.

Team News

Defender John Stones could return after missing the last six games due to a groin problem.

Fabian Delph (leg), Ilkay Gundogan (knee) and Claudio Bravo (calf) all remain out.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Watford haven’t beaten Manchester City in their last seven league fixtures (D2 L5)
  • City have scored two-plus goals in six of the last nine meetings between the two sides
  • The Hornets are unbeaten in their three Premier League final day games (W1 D2)
  • The Citizens have only lost one of their last eight games on the final day of the season (W5 D2)
  • Watford have lost their last five matches and failed to score in four of those

Conclusion

Manchester City will be determined to get the victory that will guarantee them Champions League football next season, but they will face a Watford side with extra confidence after their 4-3 loss the Chelsea on Monday. City should get the victory but it could be a close game, with the Hornets scoring at least one goal.

Verdict: Manchester City win and BTTS

Best Odds: 13/8

Bookmaker: Bet 365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashley Randall


Ash is a freelance football writer who lives, breathes and dreams the beautiful game. A lifelong Wolverhampton Wanderers season ticket holder, if he isn't at Molineux then he will be watching any game on television that he can set his eyes on. Producing work for various football websites and publications, Ash has also written for regional newspapers and global magazines.

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