Manchester City vs Watford
England Premier League.
Date: Wednesday, 14th December 2016,
Kick-off at 19:45 UK.
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester.
Man City: Did Guardiola play three at the back at the Leicester Disaster because he didn't have Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi, and he just didn't trust anyone to form a back four with Sagna, Stones and Kolarov? We'll never really know, but if Otamendi returns from suspension right into the starting lineup in a back four, we'll have a pretty big hint.
What Pep is looking for is consistency. He is a rotation coach, but he also likes to have a spine, a group of players who rarely rotate out of the starting lineup. It's safe to say Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne are part of that, but the Brazilian is out and the Belgian is in poor form at the moment, and... that's it for the spine. Perhaps having three or four more players to form that undroppable group is the answer to some of the problems, and that's especially the case at the back.
Can Otamendi and Stones finally settle as the CB partnership without Kompany and with Nico's cards wiped out? Can Kolarov and Clichy be at least decent? Can Sagna stay healthy and provide smart defense and passing? Can Zabaleta show some of his old self going forward? If all the pieces come together, then the City defense will be fine until January comes around.
The attack is just fine — actually, it's awesome —, and if the defense can provide some support and security, then Pep's offense can hit Watford's questionable (at best) back four with ease. Playing at home helps, City have played well at home in almost every game this season, and the opportunity is right there for the taking. Just gotta take it.
Watford: Walter Mazzarri has had a quite decent start to his Watford career, leading the Hornets to 21 points in 15 matches. Just like City, the defense is Watford's biggest concern, which is surprising for a team coached by an Italian. Their form has been inconsistent lately, with three wins and three losses in their last six games, and on their day they could be a fantastic team like they were in the win against Everton at the weekend, but they could also turn into a team that conceded 6 goals to Liverpool a few weeks back.
You just never know with Watford. And that's why they're dangerous. Watch for Troy Deeney and the in-form Stefano Okaka up front, as well as the returning Roberto Pereyra. Watford's center-backs are not good defenders but are awesome headers of the ball, and set pieces are already a concern for City before the game even starts.
Manchester City vs Watford: Head-to-head stats
Manchester City are unbeaten in the last 8 matches against Watford in all competitions.
City won both Premier League fixtures versus Watford in the 2015/16 season – 2-0 at home and 2-1 away.
Watford haven’t scored in 4 of their last 5 visits to the Etihad Stadium. They lost 4 matches during the period, with a draw to their name.
Manchester City vs Watford: Prediction
Pep Guardiola is finally feeling the pressure of Premier League football as his side is struggling in all fronts. Even their home form in all competitions return a poor stats of 1 win from last 6. Watford is not a big threat in away games, however we seriously doubt the credentials of Manchester City after watching them closely in the past few weeks.
If teams like Celtic and Middlesbrough can come to the Etihad and return with draws, they why not Watford. They are expected to struggle for goals, especially when Sergio Aguero is out with suspension. A better option for this match is to back Watford to avoid a heavy defeat, so we opt for an Asian Handicap with +1.5, +2.0 goals to start with.
Manchester City vs Watford: Bet Tips
Watford +1.5, 2.0 at the odds of 2.000.
Both Teams to Score at 1.80 (4/5).