After winning a record eighteen consecutive Premier League games, Manchester City were stopped by Crystal Palace on a goalless draw at Selhurst Park on Sunday. The Blues were far from their best and did not take advantage of the few chances they created, and they’re actually lucky not to lose given Palace had a clear opportunity from open play and a penalty, but Ederson made sure City are still unbeaten in the season.
Just two days after a tough game in London, the Blues are back home for another game. It’s the last one for a while in the league, so City will want to finish the first “half” of the season on a high. With a win against Watford FC on Tuesday night City could be 14 or even 15 points clear at the top of the table if Chelsea can’t win at Arsenal, and with only 16 league games left after Tuesday it’s safe to stay City will be very close to the title.
It won’t be easy for a few reasons: the squad is exhausted from the busy period at the end of 2017, Watford are a good team, and there’s always the potential of taking a while to win again after a big winning streak is over. Hopefully the Blues have the energy for one more push.
When City destroyed the Hornets at Vicarage Road back in September, the team was fully healthy and Benjamin Mendy, Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus were simply outstanding that day. All three are out of this one due to injury, and the rest of that September side is absolutely exhausted from the insane number of games in December.
The good news for the Blues is that David Silva is back after missing the draw at Palace for personal reasons. The Spaniard trained normally on Monday and will probably start, which is great news since De Bruyne won’t be available and Ilkay Gundogan can’t run the midfield by himself.
In terms of the starting lineup, expect Pep Guardiola to rotate once again but still choose a strong side to face a difficult opponent.
Manchester City (4-3-3)
Ederson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Delph; Gundogan, Fernandinho, D.Silva; Sterling, Agüero, Sané
Gomes; Janmaat, Prödl, Kabasele, Holebas; Doucouré, Cleverley, Capoue; Pereyra, Gray, Richarlison
Looks a pretty dainty tie, but back this City team to bounce back and win again: 2-0 City.