Watford vs Manchester City Preview: Classic Encounter, Form, Team News & More

Friday September 15th, 2017

When it comes to Premier League bogey teams, Manchester City appear to be one for Watford, with Portuguese boss Marco Silva hoping his side can overturn those bad fortunes this weekend.

For City, four of their last six encounters with the Hornets have gone their way, including a 5-0 drubbing on the final day of last season, with only two draws between the teams since the Premier League's inception.

But Silva's team can take confidence and momentum into the tie, having made their first ever unbeaten start to a top flight campaign, sitting only two places behind City in fourth spot.

With Silva's astute tactics up against a marauding Guardiola side, it will prove to be an interesting contest, despite City being strong favourites at Vicarage Road. 


Classic Encounter


Watford, without a win against City since March 1989, came very close in early 2016, only for a late double to seal yet another defeat for the Hornets.

Ben Watson gave the home side an early second half lead after his corner took a deflection off Aleksandar Kolarov and went past Joe Hart.

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The Hornets held out until the last 10 minutes, when Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero struck within two minutes of each other to seal another miserable defeat for Watford against City.


Form


Both sides have made undefeated starts to the season, with City's record edging out Watford by two points, picking up one more win. City's record is three wins and a draw, while the Hornets have two wins and two draws.

Despite Watford's league failings against City over the last 28 years, Marco Silva has instilled great confidence and solidity upon taking the reigns from Walter Mazzarri.

The Portuguese pulled off an incredible display against Liverpool in a crazy 3-3 draw to start the season, with last weekend's long-range efforts from Abdoulaye Doucoure and Daryl Janmaat against Southampton bringing their fans another three points to cheer.

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City have notched up three more goals than the Hornets thus far and the forward partnership of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus is proving fruitful early on. 

Watford currently sit in a Champions League qualification spot, and while it is early in the season you never know what could happen, should the side continue its impressive streak.


Team news


Watford will be without a host of defenders once more, giving boss Silva a selection headache ahead of the encounter.

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Centre-backs Younes Kaboul, Sebastian Prodl and Craig Cathcart are all out with knocks, while Miguel Britos continues to serve his suspension, leaving the Hornets somewhat bare at the back.

For City, Raheem Sterling will make his return from the suspension he picked up against Bournemouth, while captain Vincent Kompany will face a late fitness test to see whether the Belgian can battle against his minor calf strain, having missed out on the thumping of Liverpool.

Potential Watford Starting Lineup: Gomes, Feminia, Mariappa, Kabasele, Holebas, Doucoure, Cleverley, Chalobah, Carillo, Richarlison, Gray


Potential Manchester City Starting Lineup: Ederson, Kompany, Otamendi, Stones, Walker, Fernandinho, Mendy, de Bruyne, Silva, Aguero, Jesus


Prediction

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With Watford yet to best their Premier League superiors since the division's inception in the early nineties, a win for Silva's side seems unlikely this weekend, with such a strong attacking force at City's disposal.

They clearly go into the match as favourites, but what is football if not great matches and upsets, and if there was a time for the Hornets to upset the City apple-cart then it would be now, carrying momentum and all-important confidence under Silva's guidance so far this year.

Prediction: Watford 1-3 Manchester City 

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