Manchester City lock horns with one of their favourite opponents in relegation-threatened Watford on Tuesday evening. City, in a dispirited mood after losing to Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final less than 72 hours before this meeting, will look to put that loss behind them and add three more points to their kitty.
Watford, on the other hand, are in troubled waters having suffered a 3-1 defeat away to West Ham in their previous Premier League outing. That loss leaves them just 3 points outside the relegation zone, meaning that a visit from their nemesis Manchester City couldn't have come at a worse time. Moreover, manager Nigel Pearson was relieved of his duties just over 24 hours before the game in question kicks off.
A loss to City coupled with a Bournemouth and/or Aston Villa victory would mean that Watford will head into the final day of the 2019-20 Premier League season in the relegation zone, and requiring potentially multiple favors from other clubs.
Watford v Manchester City head-to-head
This is by no means a promising fixture for the Hornets, who have lost 12 straight matches against the Mancunians in all competitions. The reverse fixture this season was by far the worst of the lot, with City putting 8 past Ben Foster with no reply.
In fact, Watford haven't beaten City in over 30 years, with their last victory coming way back in March 1989 in the second-division. Moreover, the Blues have been particularly harsh against Watford since the arrival of Pep Guardiola, beating the Hornets with an aggregate score of 35-3!
The home side have also gone 8 league games without keeping a clean-sheet, which is a worrying sign for their supporters. Perhaps, they can draw inspiration from the last time they did so - an emphatic 3-0 win against champions Liverpool - and hope to emulate something similar.
Watford form guide: L-L-W-W-L
Manchester City form guide: W-L-W-W-W
Watford v Manchester City team news
Hayden Mullins, appointed as the interim coach in the aftermath of the Pearson sacking, has a monumental task in his very first game. Etienne Capoue, who was dropped for Tom Cleverley in the Hornets' previous match, is expected to be back in the middle of the park.
Moreover, both Troy Deeney and Adam Masina hobbled off the pitch against West Ham, but the former is much better suited to be back in the starting line-up than the Moroccan.
Injuries : Gerard Deulofeu, Daryl Janmaat
Doubtful : Adam Masina
Suspensions : None
Pep Guardiola is known for changing his starting line-ups drastically quite frequently, and given the high octane match they just endured against Arsenal, many changes can be expected to be made. While some like Kevin de Bruyne might be rested, others like Riyad Mahrez may be dropped for delivering a poor performance.
Claudio Bravo, who has been failing to make the Manchester City bench for a while now, may miss yet another match-day squad.
Injuries : Sergio Aguero
Doubtful : Claudio Bravo
Suspensions : None
Watford v Manchester City predicted XI
Watford predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Ben Foster; Kiko Femenia; Christian Kabasele; Craig Dawson; Adrian Mariappa; Will Hughes; Etienne Capoue; Abdoulaye Doucoure; Danny Welbeck; Ismaila Sarr; Troy Deeney.
Manchester City predicted XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Joao Cancelo; Nicolas Otamendi; John Stones; Oleksandr Zinchenko; Rodri; Fernandinho; Bernardo Silva; Riyad Mahrez; Raheem Sterling; Gabriel Jesus.
Watford v Manchester City prediction
It is tough to picture City not avenging their painful defeat against Arsenal heading into this fixture. Guardiola will have a point of prove and there is no better way to regain the feel-good factor around the club than to win comprehensively.
On the other hand, Watford are in all sorts of mess after having sacked their manager at just about the worst time possible. There is obviously not enough time for the caretaker manager to get his thoughts and ideas across to the the entire squad, and he will likely bank on the players putting in the shift of their lifetimes if they are to get something from this game.
That, however, is wishful thinking to say the least, and everything points towards a comfortable Manchester City victory.
Final Verdict: Watford 1-4 Manchester City.Published 20 Jul 2020, 02:33 IST