Watford vs Manchester City: Preview, Live stream and TV channel info, Team News, Prediction, Betting odds
Will Odion Ighalo be able to score in 7 successive games?
Manchester City will hope to close the gap on Leicester City and Arsenal in the Premier League when they make the trip to an impressive Watford on Saturday night. The visitors go into the match in third place in the table, three points off leaders Arsenal and second-placed Leicester City. Watford, meanwhile, lost at home to Tottenham Hotspur last time out, but a solid first half to the campaign has left them in ninth spot and just two points off fifth place.
Kickoff and Live Telecast
Channel: Star Sports 4 and Star Sports HD4
Live Stream: starsports.com
Date and Time: Saturday, 2 January 2016 – 17:30 GMT (23:00 IST)
Venue: Vicarage Road
Watford will be without on-loan Chelsea full-back Nathan Ake, who was sent off against Spurs in the last game. That should open up a spot in the team for experienced Greek international Jose Holebas. Midfielder Valon Behrami is also pushing for a start after Quique Sanchez Flores talked up the midfielder's importance during his pre-match press conference.
Elsewhere there are not expected to be too many changes as Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney continue their partnership in the final third. Ighalo is in brilliant form and is expected to lead the Hornets’ attack with Deeney just behind him. Tommie Hoban and Joel Ekstrand remain long-term injury concerns.
Manchester City should have Sergio Aguero back in the starting XI following their goalless draw to Leicester City. Manuel Pellegrini has revealed that Gael Clichy will miss out with a slight problem and the full-back will join Vincent Kompany and Samir Nasri on the sidelines.
The former champions otherwise have a fully-fit squad and the manager must decide whether to go with Aguero or Wilfried Bony up front. French international Bacary Sagna is once again expected to keep his place in the team ahead of Pablo Zabaleta.
Watford (4-2-3-1): Gomes; Anya, Cathcart, Britos, Holebas; Jurado, Capoue, Behrami, Abdi; Deeney, Ighalo
Manchester City (4-2-3-1): Hart; Sagna, Otamendi, Mangala, Kolarov; Toure, Fernandinho; De Bruyne, Silva, Sterling; Aguero
Watford have the momentum going into the game having won three of their last five games. The Hornets were on a run of four consecutive wins until the draw, followed by the 2-1 loss against Tottenham Hotspur, but played brilliantly and lost only to a disputed Son goal in the latter stages of the game.
The impressive run of form before the draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge lifted Flores and his men up to ninth in the Premier League table, and they will certainly hope to kick on in 2016 and not only ensure their safety in the top flight but to possibly secure a top half of the table finish.
Last 5 matches: W-W-W-D-L (Last Match: Watford 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur)
Manchester City slipped up last time out as they were held to a draw in a top-of-the-table clash with Leicester City, and so they will naturally be desperate to get back to winning ways as soon as possible in order to keep the pressure on their rivals. They have had a mixed run in the last five games, having won three, losing one and playing a goalless draw to the Foxes.
Pellegrini was under pressure after having lost to title rivals, Arsenal, and came out on top with a 4-1 thrashing of Sunderland. But another slip-up might see them create a gap of six points.
Last 5 matches: W-W-L-W-D (Last Match: Leicester City 0-0 Manchester City)
- Odion Ighalo has scored 30 goals in the league in 2015 – more than any other player in England’s top four leagues
- City have managed to score just once in their last five away games in the Premier League this season
- Watford and Man City have met on 13 occasions in the league and both sides have recorded five wins
- The visitors are unbeaten in their last eight against the Hornets, including three straight wins
- The last time that the two teams met at Watford was in April 2007 when the points were shared in a 1-1 draw
Kevin De Bruyne vs Etienne Capoue
There is little doubt Kevin De Bruyne is one of the best playmakers in the Premier League and when he gets going there is very little opponents can do to stop him. De Bruyne notched up his 8th assist of the season against Sunderland and is expected to start against Watford. The Belgian star has already scored five goals in the league this season, and his partnership with Yaya Toure and Raheem Sterling is likely to trouble the Watford defence.
De Bruyne is also not shy when it comes to taking his chances from long distance and Capoue must stay alert not to give him any room outside the penalty box. He is also good at dribbling past defenders and creating goal scoring chances for his teammates.
Odion Ighalo vs Nicolas Otamendi
Nigerian striker Ighalo has surprised many this season with his goal scoring form. The 26-year-old has been in sublime form recently, scoring in each of Watford’s last six games, and his ability to score could be the difference between the two sides. He has also formed a commendable partnership with Deeney and they can cause some trouble for the City defence.
Meanwhile, Otamendi has been inconsistent and Ighalo will be hoping to get the better of him. The Argentine will need to be at his best to stop the in-form Watford striker from scoring again.
Manchester City have had an up-and-down season but they will see off the threat of Watford comfortably with the quality they have in the squad. Even though the visitors have not been great away from home, this win should boost their confidence at the start of the year. The hosts do not have the quality to match City and will eventually struggle.
Predicted score: Watford 1-3 Manchester City
Betting Odds (bet365)
Watford – 4/1
Draw – 3/1
Manchester City – 8/11