Watford, the surprise package of the early weeks of the season, have entered a run of very shaky form recently. They could do without a showdown against the Premier League’s best side right now, but that’s what they face this Tuesday night as Manchester City bring their six-game Premier League winning streak to Vicarage Road. Javi Gracia’s side have scored just once in their last four games – and that was against Southampton – and a weekend defeat at Leicester has left them in tenth place.
City, meanwhile, continue to look like the only smart bet for the title. Although they sit just two points above Liverpool in advance of this game, Pep Guardiola’s charges are scoring at a rate that suggests they’ve found the kind of groove which won’t easily be disturbed. They’ll certainly come into this game full of confidence and ready to extend their +37 goal difference – a frightening statistic after just 14 games of the season.
Watford vs Manchester City Prediction: Watford 0-3 Manchester City
City shuffled their pack at the weekend, leaving David Silva and Kyle Walker on the bench and giving Sergio Aguero the afternoon off, and still won with something to spare against Bournemouth. That means they come into this game with form intact and some well-rested stars to come back into the line-up. Watford for their part were fortunate not to lose more heavily at the King Power, and will not be thrilled to have to follow that game with one as tough as this. Although it’s close to impossible to maintain a scoring run like the one City are on, it’s also hard to see them being kept below three in this game.
Our recommended tip: BTTS – No
It’s not hard to see what we’re getting at with this tip. Manchester City score in pretty much every game, usually in plentiful number, and will surely find the net again here. As for Watford, Jose Holebas’ late equaliser at St Mary’s does little to mask the fact that they’ve stayed goalless against Newcastle, Liverpool and Leicester recently. In the circumstances, Paddy Power’s offer of Evens (2.00) on there being a “nil” in the scoreline seems fairly generous. While it’s not out of the question for the Hornets to grab a goal, it feels less than likely against this opposition.
This will be the third time Pep Guardiola has brought a City side to face Watford, and the previous occasions have ended well for the visitors. Four months apart – in May and September of 2017 – the Hornets were swatted 5-0 and then 6-0. An Aguero hat-trick did most of the damage on the second occasion, with Sterling, Otamendi and Gabriel Jesus also netting.
More recently, City rolled out a more restrained 3-1 win at the Etihad Stadium in January. Sterling was again on the scoresheet, notching in the first minute, while a Christian Kabasele own goal and a finish from Aguero widened the margin before Andre Gray’s late consolation.
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Players to watch: Nathaniel Chalobah & Gabriel Jesus
A graduate of Chelsea’s youth system, Chalobah has played professionally for six different clubs thanks to the Blues’ prodigious use of the loan system. Unable to break into the first team at Stamford Bridge, he moved permanently to the Hornets last season, and has looked like a very canny signing. A central midfielder with an excellent all-around game, Chalobah is the player who needs to fire if they are to have any chance of getting a result against elite opposition, but he’ll need better support than he’s had recently.
The Manchester City career of Gabriel Jesus has had its ups and downs. Earmarked for the starting centre-forward spot by Guardiola, he’s found his progress in that position stymied by the continuing form and reliability of Aguero. With his time in Manchester also affected by a metatarsal injury, he’s still managed to play 50 games for the Citizens, scoring 21 goals in that time and breaking into the Brazilian national side. At just 21, he’s acclimatised to English football better than anyone had a right to expect of him.