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Phil Foden to Start in Front Three, Aymeric Laporte to Replace Nathan Ake - Predicted Team: Watford vs Man City (Premier League)

Manchester City travel to Watford on Saturday afternoon, in a bid to finally overtake Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table.

After a successful trip to Villa Park on Wednesday night, Pep Guardiola's side are venturing further south in search of an equally vital three points, this time at Vicarage Road.

Manchester City's opponents sit precariously above the relegation zone, having lost four out of their last five games in the top-flight.

Their one win, however, came against a different Manchester team at home - in a 4-1 triumph over Manchester United two weeks ago, managed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer prior to his sacking.

Goals from Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva were just about enough to seal a 2-1 win in City's last game, against Aston Villa, so here's hoping that this weekend's opponents don't test the Blues too much.

Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea also won 2-1 on Wednesday night, while travelling to Watford themselves.

Ahead of the game, here's how we predict Pep Guardiola will structure his team.


Team News

Ferran Torres, who remains strongly linked with a move to Barcelona during the upcoming January transfer window, remains sidelined with a foot problem and probably won't return to action until the new year at the very earliest.

Despite missing Kevin de Bruyne, John Stones, Kyle Walker, and Ilkay Gundogan in the last game, Pep Guardiola confirmed on Friday afternoon that every one of those is ready to travel to Watford tomorrow.


Predicted Team

Ederson will start in goal for Manchester City, hoping to move past Chelsea's Edouard Mendy and Liverpool's Alisson in the clean sheets race - with all three goalkeepers tied on seven for the season.

While he missed the trip to Villa Park in midweek, Kyle Walker will most likely return to the starting XI this weekend, while João Cancelo on the opposite side is, for me and a lot of other Manchester City fans, undroppable.

Oleksandr Zinchenko played excellently against a challenging Aston Villa side in midweek, but Pep Guardiola will want his full-back pairing back to full strength for the visit to Watford.

Despite John Stones returning to full fitness in recent days, I think Aymeric Laporte will return to the Manchester City starting XI after missing the Villa game through suspension.

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Similarly, despite Nathan Ake playing well at Villa Park, Ruben Dias should retain his place in the Manchester City starting line-up, paired alongside the aforementioned Spanish international.


Moving into midfield and Rodri, having played 90 minutes in all but two Premier League games this season, is almost definitely going to be in the starting line-up this weekend.

Pep Guardiola commented on the Spaniard's quality and consistency during his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon, and he should play another 90 minutes at Vicarage Road this weekend.

Bernardo Silva, too, has played in all but one Premier League game for Manchester City so far this season and should line-up in the more advanced of the midfield roles. The Portuguese international has been phenomenal in recent weeks and has scored three goals in his last four games to top it off, including a beautiful volley in midweek. 

Alongside him, I imagine Ilkay Gundogan will return to the team after the Germany international missed Wednesday's game. He scored last weekend, as City beat West Ham 2-1 at the Etihad, and will be hoping to get on the scoresheet once again.

Kevin de Bruyne will not have trained as much as the other available midfielders, so I'm predicting the Belgian will instead come off the bench to earn some minutes, rather than starting the game.


In attack, I'm expecting Raheem Sterling to play once again, probably on the right-hand side to make room for Phil Foden - who has missed the last two games through injury.

I'd expect the youngster to play on the left, where he was particularly useful against Manchester United and Liverpool earlier in the season.

Leading the line, Gabriel Jesus will probably play as a centre-forward after moving back into a central role in recent weeks despite starting the season on the right-hand side.

The Brazilian assisted goals against both West Ham and Aston Villa, and I wouldn't bet against him going one better on Saturday evening and getting on the scoresheet against Claudio Ranieri's side.


Predicted XI: Ederson; Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte, João Cancelo; Rodri, Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan; Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden, Gabriel Jesus.

Substitutes: Zack Steffen, John Stones, Nathan Ake, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Kevin de Bruyne, Jack Grealish, Riyad Mahrez, Cole Palmer.


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