Vicarage Road is eagerly anticipating the visit of Manchester City in Saturday’s evening Premier League kickoff, as once again Paddy Power come up trumnps by offering football fans and punters Manchester City at a bumper price of 6/1.
The match promises to be an exciting encounter between over-performing Watford and an underwhelming Manchester City side who have not lived up to their potential so far this year. Embattled City boss Manuel Pellegrini will be hoping that 2016 proves to be a clean slate for his team, particularly away from home in the Premier League.
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He couldn’t have hoped for a tougher start, however, as Watford have been consistently impressive this year and will be hoping to claim a big scalp during City’s visit.
The Hornets will be missing defender Nathan Ake, who is serving a three game ban for disciplinary problems. Other than Ake, there are no new absentees for Watford, but the home team will still have to cope with the long-term groin and knee problems suffered by Tommie Hoban and Joel Ekstrand respectively. Odion Ighalo, Watford’s impressive Nigerian striker, will be hoping to add more goals to his tally against City.
His chances of scoring are boosted by the lack of Vincent Kompany for the visitors, who remains unavailable. Tottenham’s recent 2-1 win at Vicarage Road have showed that Watford are far from unbeatable. However, Hornets fans will be hoping the Spurs game was merely a blip, due to the congested fixture list, and Watford will return to their winning ways against City.
City’s chances of picking up some points away from home have been boosted by the welcome news that Fabian Delph and Gael Clichy will be available for selection once more. Both players missed the recent 0-0 away draw at Leicester due to slight knocks.
A more significant return is Fernando. The player had missed five contests due to hamstring troubles, but could make his return to the matchday team against Watford. City’s away form in the Premier League has been poor, with losses to Stoke and Arsenal in December before the recent stalemate at Leicester. Getting the first away win for a long period of time will be a tricky test at Vicarage Road.
An away win has been predicted as the most likely outcome, but a lot of Hornets fans will dispute that. Man City are a very beatable side, especially so away from home, and without Vincent Kompany. Watford are likely to look to attack early and force the visitors to chase the game.
Unsettling Man City and forcing them to play on the backfoot would be an effective tactic which could well see the visitors drop points on Saturday evening.