Saturday, December 15, 2018

Prediction: Watford vs Manchester City

Verdict: Manchester City win to nil

Best Odds: 6/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

Looking to carry on their stellar record in the capital, Pep Guardiola’s defending champions will travel to Vicarage Road on Tuesday night.

Watford

Starting with Javi Garcia’s side, after signing a contract extension at Vicarage Road last week, Watford’s Spanish boss will know that he must improve on the Hornets recent run of form. Coming off the back of a 2-0 loss away to Leicester on Saturday, the Yellows have now failed to win any of their last four Premier League outings. Despite their bright start to the season, a run that saw them win their opening four matchups, they have now managed to record just two wins in their last 10. Another defeat for Watford on Tuesday would also be the first time that they have lost three connective matches during Garcia’s tenure. On the verge of slipping out of the top half of the table, Watford will know they must improve on their form in the final third if they are to get their season back on track. Averaging under a goal a game, they have also found the net just once in their last 360 minuets of Premier League football.

Team News

Watford midfielder Tom Cleverley may feature for the first time since January on Tuesday night.

Sebastian Prodl and Daryl Janmaat are also fit again but Etienne Capoue is banned following Saturday’s red card, subject to the outcome of an appeal.

Manchester City

As for the defending Premier League champions, while Liverpool’s last gasp winner on Sunday may have kept them in the chase, Manchester City still hold a two-point advantage at the top of the table and many have them tipped to be the leading contender to defend their crown. Coming off the back of a 3-1 win over Bournemouth over the weekend, the Sky Blues are yet to taste defeat domestically this season and have registered six successive league wins and are unbeaten in 20 top-flight games (W17, D3). Along with once again holding the best attacking record in the Premier League with 43 goals in their 14 league matches, it will be their defensive record most impressing Pep Guardiola. City have now gone four away matches without conceding a single goal in return, surpassing a club record that had previously stood for over a decade. The only away league goal conceded by City this season was scored by Wolves’ Willy Boly with the aid of his hand in August.

Team News

Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero is a major doubt, with Pep Guardiola saying the forward could be out for a month if he aggravates a muscle problem.

Oleksandr Zinchenko has a nose injury and will be assessed.

Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is not yet fit to return from damaged knee ligaments.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Manchester City are on an eight-match winning streak against Watford in all competitions.
  • The Hornets have failed to win this fixture in 13 attempts since a second-tier victory at home in March 1989 (D2, L11).
  • Raheem Sterling has four goals in his last four Premier League matches.
  • In the last four meetings between the two sides, Manchester City have scored 16 goals, conceding just one in return.
  • Watford won their first four Premier League games this season but have only claimed two victories in their subsequent 10 league fixtures (D2, L6).

Conclusion

On paper, it is incredibly hard to see anything other than another convincing win for the defending champions. Given that Guardiola’s side have boosted an incredible defensive record, particularly away from the Etihad, coupled with Watford’s recent struggles in the final third, we’re backing Manchester City to come away with both the win and a clean sheet on Tuesday night.

Verdict: Manchester City win to nil

Best Odds: 6/5

Bookmaker: Bet365

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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