Entering Saturday, Manchester City come in atop the League table riding nine consecutive victories. Venturing into Etihad Stadium are the newly promoted Watford, a team who have yet to take off offensively, but have also been solid in the defensive third. Watford has drawn in their three matches in the new campaign, and with plenty of news from the week, Manchester City look to focus on the pitch after plenty of action off of it.
Of course, from a City perspective, these are just the type of matches that the Blues have seen themselves fail in over the years. A smaller, less threatening side who is just hungry enough to beat the squad who often look disinterested and out of focus. Something tells us that this outcome will be different, however, as nearly every player is seeking to solidify their spot on the starting eleven and continue their sparkling form that has seen them blank a strong looking Everton side, and the ever dangerous Chelsea. The teams have faced each other quite recently, squaring up in the FA Cup and resulting in a 4-2 City victory, including a Sergio Aguero hat trick.
Pellegrini has stated that both Gael Clichy and fan favorite Pablo Zabaleta will both remain sidelined for the next 4 to 6 weeks, leaving the backline to rely on an in form Aleksander Kolarov and Bacary Sagna, who has been solid on the right. If a certain Belgian attacking midfielder signs with the club, look for him to take Jesus Navas' position on the right wing. Like the Watford players, this could leave Navas to either perform or have to play looking over his shoulder. Navas has not been terrible, but one could only expect for him to be yielding better results against a lower side like Watford. City look to set a new team record with ten wins against Watford, and they will do that as they continue to rely on the feet of David Silva and Yaya Toure, who have been astounding so far.
On the other end of things, Watford are seeking their first win the top flight, and their manager Quique Flores, has said that the squad is inflated, and due to FFP rules, will have to shed five international players before the Tuesday transfer deadline, this will either inspire the club or have players too nervous to be competitive. Of course, time will tell. Former Spur Etienne Capoue has been a rock in the holding midfield role, while Miguel Britos, who joined the team from Napoli will be missing out at center half, after facing a familiar three match ban. Watford do bring in Swiss International Valon Behrami, another import from Naples, who can perform in the midfield quite well, however as previously stated, the team have been lacking an offensive punch.
In his Friday presser, City manager Manuel Pellegrini announced that backup center forward Wilfried Bony would be out of action for the upcoming match after receiving a gash on his left leg. This leaves Sergio Aguero to continue his terrorizing of the Watford back line for what will likely be seventy five to eighty minutes, and perhaps if the lead is comfortable, we will see the introduction of youngster Kelechi Iheanacho to the field of play. This is a match that Manchester City should win, but of course, the game has to be played. With Champions League on the horizon, it's imperative for the Blues to remain in top form.