MX23RW : Thursday, May 23 13:43:05| >> :600:63298675:63298675:
May 21, 2017 at 3pm UK at ​Vicarage Road
Attendance: 20,829
Man CityManchester City
FT(HT: 0-4)
Kompany (5'), Aguero (23', 36'), Fernandinho (42'), Jesus (58')

Preview: Watford vs. Manchester City

Sports Mole previews the Premier League contest between Watford and Manchester City.

Watford head into their final fixture of the season having already announced that boss Walter Mazzarri will be leaving Vicarage Road at the end of the season.

While the Hornets have little to play for, Manchester City still require a point to ensure that they finish in the top four of the Premier League table.


Walter Mazzarri watches on during the Premier League game between Manchester City and Watford on December 14, 2016© SilverHub

After weeks of speculation, it was confirmed on Wednesday that Watford would be parting company with Mazzarri at the end of the season, with his farewell game taking place this weekend.

It remains to be seen whether announcing his exit will be detrimental to his team but after five defeats in a row, the Hornets hierarchy may feel as though clarity over the situation will be more beneficial than a poor atmosphere for their last game of the campaign at Vicarage Road.

Mazzarri will look back on his time at the club with the satisfaction of having ensured that they were never involved in a relegation battle, but he has failed to build on the impact Quique Flores made during his one and only year at the helm.

Regardless of the result this weekend, Watford will fall short of their points total from last season, while their early exits in both the FA Cup and EFL Cup mean that they will go back to the drawing board in the summer with plenty of incomings and outgoings expected before August.

The main focus will surround the future of Troy Deeney, who has not always featured under Mazzarri, but the supporters will be optimistic that he will now remain as captain of Watford should he be favoured by Mazzarri's replacement.

On the pitch, they still have something to play for with 12th position still possible - albeit unlikely - but in the grand scheme of things, Sunday's fixture is simply an opportunity for their players to showcase their talents against opposition who will be motivated to end the season with Champions League football.

Recent form: WLLLLL

Manchester City

Pep Guardiola watches on during the Premier League game between Southampton and Manchester City on April 15, 2017`© SilverHub

Unless there is a surprise set of results on Sunday, City will be playing Champions League football regardless of their result at Watford but that will not stop Pep Guardiola going all out for three points.

The Spaniard would have hoped for victory over West Bromwich Albion by a wider margin, but it would require a defeat and a four-goal swing to prevent them from taking their place among European football's elite next season.

The success over the Baggies on Tuesday night extended their unbeaten record in the top flight to seven matches, and although their run of form came too late to mount any sort of a title challenge, they at least have momentum ahead of the upcoming campaign which starts in August.

Given the disarray at the Hornets, Guardiola will be confident that his array of attacking talent can cash in with a number of goals, with Gabriel Jesus looking to continue his excellent start to life at the club and Sergio Aguero aiming for the double which would take him to 20 top-flight goals this season.

Guardiola will still have issues with his defence, who were prevented from keeping a clean sheet against West Brom with just three minutes left on the clock, but in general, they have looked more solid since the return of Vincent Kompany.

The Belgian may be rested at the weekend if Guardiola decides to reintroduce John Stones into the team after a spell out injured but with Kompany having proved his fitness in recent weeks, he represents a bonus ahead of the club's efforts in the transfer market this summer.

Recent form: WDDWWW
Recent form (all competitions): LDDWWW

Team News

John Stones in action for Manchester City on October 15, 2016© SilverHub

After three successive wins, Guardiola is unlikely to make too many alterations to his starting lineup, with the selection of either Kompany or Stones seemingly his biggest dilemma.

Pablo Zabaleta is expected to remain on the bench after his farewell appearance at the Etihad Stadium, and that should lead to Fernandinho staying at right-back.

Both Jesus and Aguero are expected to get the nod in attack, but Raheem Sterling will be hopeful of a recall in place of Leroy Sane.

Mazzarri will be without Sebastian Prodl after his late sending-off in the game at Chelsea, meaning that the Italian may be forced to change formation if Christian Kabasele is unable to shake off a hamstring problem.

Further forward, Stefano Okaka could be rewarded with a start after coming off the bench to score at Stamford Bridge.

Watford possible starting lineup:
Gomes; Janmaat, Mariappa, Holebas Zuniga, Cleverley, Doucoure, Capoue, Amrabat, Niang, Okaka

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Caballero, Fernandinho, Stones, Otamendi, Kolarov, Toure, De Bruyne, Silva, Sane, Jesus, Aguero

Head To Head

Sunday's fixture will represent just the 24th time in which these two clubs have faced each other in a competitive match, with City claiming 12 wins compared to just the six victories for Watford.

However, the most recent record is more lopsided in City's favour, with the North-West outfit prevailing in eight of the last 10 contests between the two sides.

Watford's last triumph over City came back in 1989 when they were able to claim a 1-0 victory in front of their own supporters.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Watford 0-3 Manchester City

After five successive defeats and Mazzarri's impending departure, we cannot see how Watford can raise their game in order to trouble City on Sunday afternoon. Guardiola is likely to use both Jesus and Aguero and if they can help their side net an early goal, it could turn into a long afternoon for Watford.

Who will win Sunday's Premier League clash between Watford and Manchester City?

Manchester City
Manchester City
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Kelechi Iheanacho in action during the Champions League game between Manchester City and Celtic on December 6, 2016
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