Manchester City have the opportunity to put clear water between them and Liverpool on Saturday night against Watford, a chance Paul Higham fully expects them to take.
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Man City v Watford (1730 GMT - BT Sport 1)
Every game from here on in is a big one for Manchester City, but Saturday night could be start of their final title push as they have the chance to go four points clear of Liverpool if they can beat Watford.
With the Reds having been held up by rivals Man Utd and Everton, City have managed to regain control of the title race, and playing first this weekend they can test Liverpool's resolve as they can now strike the front by opening up clear water between the two.
Watford are battling with Wolves for the 'best of the rest' title but they've lost their last 12 away games against the top six, conceding three goals per game on average, and were stuffed 5-0 by Liverpool on their last road trip.
That record, and in particular that defeat, should mean Javi Graci's side will arrive at the Etihad with a renewed resolve not to be embarrassed again, but although they do provide some threat on the break, City look like they've got the eye of the tiger of late and have been grinding out results over a busy period.
Ironically, Watford's best form of defence is to attack, as City have only conceded more than a single goal three times in the league this season - and have lost all three games - but getting enough of the ball to get these goal scoring chances is the main problem.
Having injuries to Stones, Laporte, De Bruyne and Fernandinho does give Guardiola a few selection problems, but when you can bring in Kompany, either of the Silvas or Gundogan then you understand the depth of talent in this City squad.
Prediction: Man City 2-0 Watford (Sky Bet odds: 13/2)
Newport are the only British team to score against City in their last six games, and while Watford offer a threat, their away record against big sides is woeful, and they'll know that. Much will depend on how they go about their task but even if they try to tighten things up City have proved recently they can do just enough to get the three points.
Best bet: Man City to win to nil at 11/10
As mentioned above, Watford will most likely try to sit, limiting their attacking abilities, and if so it will be a familiar story of City dominating and probing to look for openings - and they usually find the,
Goals: Raheem Sterling to score anytime at 21/20
OK, the odds aren't great but Sterling has often got the key to unlock defences, and he's odds-on to score in some places for a reason, so when you can get odds against it's certainly worth a look.
Manchester City v Watford - Opta stats
- Man City have never lost a Premier League game against Watford (W7 D2), winning the last seven in a row by an aggregate score of 22-3.
- In all competitions, Watford have lost their last nine meetings with Manchester City. They’ve only ever lost more consecutively against an opponent vs Man Utd (11 between 1987 and 2016).
- Watford have lost 10 of their 11 away league matches against the reigning top-flight champions, drawing the other in December 2015 against Chelsea.
- Manchester City have won nine of their last 10 Premier League games (L1), and are on the longest current winning run in the competition (5 games).
- Man City have won 42 of the 45 points available to them in home games this season (W14 D0 L1), losing only against Crystal Palace in December.
- Watford have won three of their last four Premier League games (L1), as many as they had in their previous 15 (W3 D6 L6).
- Watford have lost all nine of their Premier League games against sides starting the day top, scoring eight goals and conceding 26.
- Man City striker Sergio Aguero has scored 10 goals in six appearances against Watford in all competitions, including netting two hat-tricks against the Hornets.
- Sergio Aguero has scored 96 Premier League goals for Man City at the Etihad. One more will see him level Alan Shearer in third for most goals at a specific venue in the competition (97 at St James’ Park). Only Thierry Henry (114 at Highbury) and Wayne Rooney (101 at Old Trafford) have scored more.
- Only Man City’s Sergio Aguero (10) has been directly involved in more Premier League goals in 2019 than Watford’s Troy Deeney (5 goals, 3 assists). The Hornets captain has been involved in as many Premier League goals in nine games this calendar year as he was in 33 games in 2018 (6 goals, 2 assists).