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Manchester City vs Watford at Etihad Stadium

FT
Etihad Stadium Referee : Paul Tierney
9th March 2019 5:30 PM (GMT)
  • 3 Manchester City

    • ‘46' Raheem Sterling
    • ‘50' Raheem Sterling
    • ‘59' Raheem Sterling
  • 1 Watford

    • ‘66' Gerard Deulofeu

#mancity

Commentary By Caroline Oatway

21:02

Super Saturday

Righto, Blues. That's all from me.

Another great - and crucial - win. Onto the next one...

For more post-match reaction, stay tuned to mancity.com. If player stats are your thing, check out the numbers from today's game right here.

See you again on Tuesday night.

Up the mighty Blues!

20:08

Pep Guardiola:

"It is the end part of the season so every game is important. For three months we wait to be top of the league and now we have to try and win our games. I am sorry if it (the first goal) is offside but we deserved to win.

"The opponent comes here -against Liverpool they tried to press but here they have 11 players in the box. Literally there is no spaces but we found it and we created a lot which is why we deserved to win.

"Today is not luck. We won because we were better, much better than the opponent. Here there are many people working to make last season’s level and if they can do that it will be down to hard work and not luck.

19:28

Raheem Sterling:

(On the opener): "I don’t know exactly what it was but i was praying they’d give it to us. Slightly fortunate but we deserved it."

(On personal form): "I just want to improve. This year’s no different. I don’t want to just score goals but important goals and help the team."

(On the title race): "We’re just taking it a game at a time. We know we’re strong - we’re contenders. We’re just doing our part. Now, we’ll recover and go again.

"We’re just focused on one game at a time. Today, it was really difficult and it will be a difficult run-in but we’re focused."

19:24

Analysis

A comfortable win in the end, clinched with a controversial moment but secured with two clinical moments.

City will be disappointed to have conceded, given Watford's defensive set-up, but the most important thing was three points and we got it.

Open
86'

Almost four!

Two chances in quick succession!

Firstly, Gabriel Jesus looks certain to score, rounding Foster - only to be denied by a stunning Kabasele block.

The corner finds Otamendi, who heads just wide.

Open
79'

Great chances!

City guilty of being a little wasteful there, as Mahrez plays Bernardo trough, The Portugal star opts to chip Foster rather than slip Aguero through but it doesn't come off!

The ball falls to Sane but he drills into the side-netting!

77'

Stung

That Watford goal seems to have riled City up, particularly Aguero, who looks hungry and determined to get himself on the scoresheet, chasing down everything and driving at the Hornets defence at every opportunity.

Watford meanwhile, have also been spurred on and look far more threatening on the counter.

Open
68'

Goal for Watford. 3-1.

Talk about an instant impact!

Both substitutes combine - Deeney heading down Foster's kick into Deulofeu's path and he pokes past Ederson.

Wow.

59'

Wow, wow, wow!

Another lovely goal. Silva weaves the magic, sliding into Sterling's path and the forward drives towards the penalty spot before firing past Foster for an incredible quick-fire treble!
Open
53'

Woah!

Sterling has the chance for a rapid hat-trick, collecting Gundogan's lofted ball. The flag is raised... but it looked the wrong decision!

52'

Nothing controversial about this one!

A bueaitfully-crafted goal, this one, as Silva plays Mahrez through with a gorgeous nutmegged poke, and the Algerian coolly slides across for Sterling to bag his second from a matter of yards out.

SUPERB.

48'

Controversial... but we don't care!

The goal will go down as Sterling's but my, what a bizarre few moments,

It looked to be offside, as the ball bounced in after Sterling had touched Aguero's knock-down... but replays show that the ball had ricocheted in off Sterling from Janmaat's attempted clearance!

HT

A familiar story

So, no goals but no cause for alarm just yet. We've certainly been here before...

City completely dominated the opening 45, while Watford didn't register a single shot.

Facing a packed defensive backline is always tough but encouragingly, we're creating plenty of chances.

Just lacked that quality with the end product.

46'

Frustration creeping in

The atmosphere is a little tense now - not helped by that refereering mistake and the fact he's intercepted two of Otamendi's attempted passes in quick succession in recent minutes.

38'

Great tackle

A nervy moment as Otamendi sticks a foot out in the City penalty area, pressuring Cleverley from behind. He times it perfectly though to clear the danger.

Open
32'

Another great chance!

Sterling finds himself through on goal, chesting down Bernardo's punt well. He tries for the far post but Janmaat produces a fine sliding challenge to block.

Open
29'

Argh!

What a chance for City!

Another sumptuous delivery - this one from Bernardo - reaches Aguero at the backpost. He heads goalward but once again, just the wrong side of the post!

Unlike him.

27'

'Anywhere will do'

City are really piling the pressure on now, drilling in crosses to the danger area at every opportunity.

Watford are defending for their lives, hoofing away every loose ball.

City need to be patient and not try to force it...

Open
23'

Oooh

Zinchenko tries a daisy-cutter, which Aguero almost gets on the end of at the backpost.

It takes a slight deflection and goes wide.

From the corner, Otamendi leaps to meet the cross but heads off-target.

15'

Backs to the wall

Watford have every single player back defending, making it difficult for City to carve openings.

We're used to it of course, but facing a packed backline ensures our task is much tougher. Quality at key moments essential if we are to unlock the defence.

11'

'Seen them given!'

Aguero looked to have been pulled back there, as Silva delivered a corner.

Didn't go to ground but was definitely man-handled.

One of those which depends on the referee's leniency. Paul Tierney was unmoved.

Open
8'

Agonising!

Inches wide!

Mahrez whips in a delightful ball right onto Silva's head but the Spaniard doesn't get enough contact to direct it past Foster and the ball bounces just the wrong side of the far post. More a glancing header than a bullet, unfortunately.

Open
6'

Clumsy

Poor challenge from Walker to stop Success in his tracks just inside the City half. He slid in, floored the Watford man and is rightfully booked.

Open
4'

Unlucky

Sterling also has an early sight of goal, as the ball is clipped through to him, but the forward can't quite connect in the way he'd intended - lofting the ball over Foster on the volley - and the Watford keeper jumps to claim the miscued strike.

2'

Saturday night fever

City in control from the off, passing the ball around coolly but with purpose, seeking an early advantage.

The Champions of course, in our traditional sky blue and white with navy shorts; Watford sporting a dark green.

17:26

Here we go...

Out they come!

Kick-off is five minutes away and two teams enter to an excited Etihad Stadium.

Handshakes now under way; then, we'll be ready to rumble!

17:05

Premier League results:

Crystal Palace 1-2 Brighton

Cardiff 2-0 West Ham

Huddersfield 0-2 Bournemouth

Leicester 3-1 Fulham

Newcastle 3-2 Everton

Southampton 2-1 Tottenham

Some impressive comebacks in those fixtures, as Newcastle came from 2-0 down at half-time and Southampton scored twice late on.

16:44

Fab-ruary

Sergio Aguero scored seven Premier League goals during February 2019 - the most by a player in a calendar month since December 2017 when Harry Kane scored eight. 

16:32

Team news and tactics

Club journalist, David Clayton: "Aymeric Laporte has recovered from a muscle injury and is on the bench after a two-game absence.

"Pep Guardiola makes two enforced changes to his starting XI this afternoon with Vincent Kompany and Mahrez deputising for injured duo John Stones and Kevin De Bruyne.

"No tactical upheavals are expected this afternoon.

"Ilkay Gundogan will continue to fill in for the injured Fernandinho while Mahrez and Sterling will provide wing support for Sergio Aguero."

16:05

Stinging the Hornets (you knew that was coming!)

February's Premier League Player of the Month Sergio Aguero has bagged 96 league goals for City at Etihad Stadium.

One more will take him level in third with Alan Shearer's 97 at St James' Park for the most goals at one venue in the competition. Only Thierry Henry (114 at Highbury) and Wayne Rooney (101 at Old Trafford) have scored more.

Only Aguero, with 10, has been directly involved in more Premier League goals in 2019 than Watford’s Troy Deeney, who has scored five times and provided three assists.

16:01

Not to tempt fate(!) but did you know...?

City have never lost a Premier League match against Watford and have won the last seven in a row by an aggregate score of 22-3.

15:55
15:54

Team news

This evening's City line-up will be revealed at 4:30pm UK time...

We know that Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Aymeric Laporte and John Stones all remain unavailable.

So, who makes your starting XI?

15:40

What a season, that was.

I remember it well.

A ten-year-old Caroline Oatway, starry-eyed, mesmerised by the flair and finesse of Eyal Berkovic, Ali Benarbia, Shaun Wright-Phillips et al.

As we lifted the Division One trophy aloft, I recall turning to my dad and uttering: "I'm going to savour every moment of this. I'll probably never see City win a trophy again..."

Oh, how wrong I was...

15:32

Greetings!

A very good afternoon from the Etihad Stadium.

We've two hours to go until this evening's huge Premier League clash against Watford.

How are you feeling, Blues? Confident? Nervous?

One thing is for certain: three points are a must.

10:13

Prediction time...

From the BBC's Mark Lawrenson:

"I only see this game going one way. Manchester City have squeezed past West Ham and Bournemouth in their past two games, winning 1-0 on both occasions, but I am not sure Watford will go for a shut-out in the same way.

"Even if they do, I don't think they are good enough defensively to pull it off.

"Prediction: 3-0"

I'd settle for that now!

10:01

More from Pep...

β€œWe have the Premier League where everything is so close with Liverpool. Hopefully our defence can help us. It is tough. It is incredibly important this week.

β€œLet's do it and this week, from Saturday is important. How you approach the situation is going to happen."

09:59

Pep's thoughts...

"We need to be strong and accept the toughest moment in every situation.

"We have been incredible the last two months, especially the last two or three weeks and we would like to continue that way."

09:53

Leading lights

We will step out this evening holding a slender but vital one-point lead at the top of the Premier League table following last weekend's results.

And with second-placed Liverpool not in action until tomorrow, a victory over the Hornets would take the Blues four points clear at the top... for 18 hours at least.

No lack of incentive for Pep and his players then...

09:49

Good morning Blues...

It's matchday!

Saturday greetings, Blues. Ready for another huge game?

After the relative luxury of a week without a game, we're back in Premier League action as we play host to Watford in a tea-time assignment at the Etihad, kick-off 5.30pm.

And, as always, we'll have all the build-up, live coverage and post-match reaction right here so stay tuned!

Other games that day

  • Newcastle United3
    Everton2
    FT
  • Huddersfield Town0
    Bournemouth2
    FT
  • Leicester City3
    Fulham1
    FT
  • Southampton2
    Tottenham Hotspur1
    FT
  • Cardiff City2
    West Ham United0
    FT
  • Crystal Palace1
    Brighton and Hove Albion2
    FT

As it stood

P GD Pts
2 Liverpool 29 +49 70
3 Tottenham Hotspur 30 +25 61
4 Manchester United 29 +20 58
5 Arsenal 29 +22 57
6 Chelsea 28 +19 56
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 29 +2 43
8 Watford 30 -2 43
9 West Ham United 30 -6 39
10 Leicester City 30 -4 38
11 Everton 30 -1 37
12 Bournemouth 30 -13 37
13 Newcastle United 30 -9 34
14 Crystal Palace 30 -5 33
15 Brighton and Hove Albion 29 -10 33
16 Southampton 30 -16 30
17 Burnley 29 -21 30
18 Cardiff City 30 -30 28
19 Fulham 30 -40 17
20 Huddersfield Town 30 -38 14
Link To Full Table