Preview: Watford v Manchester City

A win for Manchester City in their final Premier League clash away to Watford on Sunday will secure their place in the Champions League for next season.

Premier League
21 May 2017
Matchday 38
Kickoff: 16:00
Venue: Vicarage Road

Referee: J. Moss
Assistants: C. Hatzidakis, A. Halliday
Fourth official: K. Friend

Head-to-head summary:

Watford 15 4 3 8
Manchester City 15 8 3 4

Previous encounter:

Manchester City 0-1 Watford (14/12/2016) Premier League

Manchester City scorers: P. Zabaleta (33), D. Silva (86)

Players to watch:

Despite an indifferent season, Etienne Capoue has been a standout performer for the Hornets. His contribution of seven goals as well as his all-round commanding midfield displays, makes him Watford’s most compelling player.

A fit Gabriel Jesus is a sight to behold, and having impressed every time he has stepped out onto the field, with six goals in just nine games, it is impossible to imagine just what damage this young Brazilian is capable of in a City team firing on all cylinders.

Team form and manager quotes:

Watford come into this game in 16th place, with their participation in next season’s Premier League secured, but with uncertainly about their manager after Walter Mazzarri announced his decision to step down at the end of the season.

They were lucky to have survived after a winless run of five games that included losses to Hull, Liverpool, Leicester, Everton, and Chelsea (3-4) last time out.

City are third heading into this game, with 75 points; two clear of Liverpool and three better off than Arsenal. While a draw will be good enough for Europe, the Citizens will no doubt want to sign off in style with a big victory.

After two draw, Pep Guardiola’s side have recently beaten Crystal Palace, Leicester and West Brom.

Mazzarri told his club’s official website: “I would love the fans to create a very good environment on Sunday, as they have with every game, that will allow my players that go on the pitch to run even more than Manchester City, so that we will do similar as when we played against Chelsea.

“By doing this we will try to lower the difference between us and Manchester City, who I think are one of the best teams.

“If we play similar to how we did recently against Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton, but with a bit more attention to the episodes, we can get a result which I think we deserve.”

Guardiola said: “It’s a crucial game for us, absolutely a final.

“It’s in our hands. Just look at we have to do, win the game against a team who at home over the season made a good result. So tomorrow we travel to London to do that.

“Every game is pressure, every game we play with everything.

“It’s in our hands. It depends not on Arsenal or Liverpool. We have to go there and win the game.”

Intensity! ? #vincentkompany #kompany #mcfc #mancity #manchestercity

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Team news:

Adrian Mariappa (knee) and Miguel Britos (calf) will face late fitness tests for Watford, who are without Sebastian Prödl (suspended), Christian Kabasele (thigh), Younès Kaboul (hamstring) and Troy Deeney (hip). Roberto Pereyra (knee) and Mauro Zárate (knee) are long-term absentees.

City have no new injuries, with Claudio Bravo, Fabian Delph and Ilkay Gundogan all long-term injury absentees.