Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Prediction: Manchester City vs Watford

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 20 Sep 2019

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Verdict: Total goals over 3.5

Best odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: 888sport

Manchester City are set to welcome Watford to the Etihad on Saturday afternoon, as the Premier League season rumbles on to round six. Given what the previous round rolled out, the contest could prove somewhat more interesting than many would believe.

Manchester City

After the opening five rounds, the defending champions have fallen five points behind Champions League holders Liverpool as they failed to take advantage of the great overall performance against Tottenham Hotspur and suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of Norwich City a week ago. Their confidence, usually very resistant to pressure, may be a little dented at the moment. It will, however, have been restored up to a point due to a successful start to their campaign in UEFA’s elite competition – a 0-3 win away to Shakhtar Donetsk.

Manager Pep Guardiola has was looking for a long-term successor to the ever-important 34-year-old figure of Fernandinho in the market for a very long time. Having missed out on the likes of Fred and Jorginho, he believes he has finally found one in the form of the 23-year-old Rodri, a midfielder whom City have acquired from Atletico Madrid this summer for a hefty sum of €70 million.

Team News

Apart from a few disappointing results so early in the season, manager Pep Guardiola has serious problems with team selection due to numerous injuries to his squad.

Speaking ahead of the match, the Catalan has confirmed that Aymeric Laporte will be out for five or six months. John Stones will be out for a month or more, and winger Leroy Sane won’t be back any time soon either. On the other hand, Benjamin Mendy, who hasn’t appeared in a competitive game since April, had a brief cameo against Shakhtar, while midfielder Phil Foden has recovered from a virus which prevented him from travelling to Ukraine.

Striker Sergio Aguero was rested in midweek and should be in the starting XI on Saturday.

Watford

Watford started the season in a very disappointing fashion, resulting in manager Javi Gracia losing his job which has now been taken by the returning Quique Sanchez Flores. The 54-year-old’s first game back in charge saw the team produce a magnificent comeback against Arsenal at the Vicarage last week as they charged down a two-goal lead the Gunners had obtained, and it was a mere lack of luck that prevented them from sealing all three points late on.

Before that, the Hornets struggled seriously under Gracia. They were beaten comprehensively at home by Brighton and Hove Albion in the opening round, and Everton and West Ham piled on the misery in the following two games. Their first point was won away to Newcastle, but it wasn’t enough for Gracia to keep his job. They remain stuck at the bottom  of the table, and need to get a move on if they plan on avoiding a fierce relegation struggle this term.

Team News

The newly re-appointed boss will still be without captain Troy Deeney who is absent with a knee problem. Fellow forward Isaac Success is also out, as is defender Craig Cathcart, who is suffering from a thigh injury.

Conclusion

There can be very little doubt that the champions will be looking to avoid dropping further behind Liverpool in the title race, and even look to take advantage of any potential slip-up by the league leaders who lost away to Napoli on Tuesday play away to Chelsea on Sunday to shorten the gap. City always play as the dominant team from the first whistle and this time it’ll be no different, perhaps even more so, given the context.

Though the second half against Arsenal combined with the Norwich surprise may give the Hornets some self-belief when they travel to the Etihad, City are strong favorites to win, and win by several goals.

Verdict: Total goals over 3.5

Best odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on four different football blogs.

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