Defending champions, Manchester City suffered a shock defeat over the weekend against newly-promoted Norwich City.
As a result of the loss, Pep Guardiola now finds his side at the second spot, with Liverpool getting a five-point cushion at the top. City will now be wanting to resume their campaign with a comprehensive win as they host Watford at the Etihad.
Date- Saturday, September 21
Time of-Kick-Off- 7:30 PM (IST)
Venue- Etihad Stadium
From the Dugout
City’s defeat to Norwich was their first-ever Premier League defeat since January and made the headlines all around the football world.
However, more than the defeat, it’s Manchester City’s defensive weakness which came under the radar this time around.
Aymeric Laporte’s long term absenteeism due to a knee injury displayed how City struggled to play the ball from the backline.
The partnership John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi were catastrophic, as two elementary blunders led to two goals for Norwich.
John Stones has recently picked up an injury as well, which leaves Guardiola with just Otamendi.
Fernandinho could be involved at central defence as a result of Stones missing out. The Brazillian was guarding the backline against Shaktar Donetsk in the Champions League fixture which saw his cruise to a comfortable 3-0 win.
Phil Foden’s muscular injury leaves him out of contention for a month, while Leroy Sane is expected to be back by January.
The Hornets have had a forgettable start to the season as they reside at the bottom of the Premier League table with just two points in five games.
However, their resolute display against a quality Arsenal saw them come back to draw the game from 2-0 to 2-2. Many football fans believe that Arsenal was lucky to gain a point at the end as Watford had struck 31 shots, out of which 27 of them were in the second half itself.
Quique Sanchez Flores reappointment as the manager after the international break in place of Javi Garcia has indeed shown signs of improvement for Watford in terms of purpose and performance in the field.
Watford’s main man in front of goal and captain, Troy Deeney is out of the squad for two months after undergoing knee surgery in August.
Craig Cathcart will also be on the sidelines as he sustained a thigh injury during the international break.
Manchester City- Ederson; Cancelo, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Mendy; Rodri, De Bruyne, B Silva, D Silva, Sterling, Aguero
Watford- Foster; Janmaat, Dawson, Kabasele, Femenia, Doucoure, Capoue, Hughes, Cleverley, Deulofeu, Pereyra
Manchester City has dominated Watford in the previous 11 encounters by winning each and every game.
Watford has conceded two or more goals against City in the last 11 games.
The deadly trio of Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, and Kevin De Bruyne have been instrumental this season as well.
De Bruyne has five assists and a goal in four appearances, while Raheem Sterling has scored five in five. Sergio Aguero carries on being prolific for Manchester City and is leading the charts along with Tamy Abraham with seven goals under his belt.
For Watford, Gerard Deaulofeu and Will Hughes will be the central figures of attack.
Prediction: The defeat against Norwich didn’t bog down Manchester City but it just pushed them, even more, to let that memory pass by as they thumped Shakhtar. That being said, City would be likely to restart their campaign with a hefty win against Watford.
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