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Jul 21, 2020 at 6pm UK
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Preview: Watford vs. Manchester City - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Watford vs. Manchester City - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Tuesday's Premier League clash between Watford and Manchester City, including team news and predicted lineups.

Manchester City will be looking to make a quick response following their FA Cup exit at the weekend when they take on managerless Watford in their penultimate Premier League match on Tuesday.

The Citizens are assured of second place and all focus is now on next month's Champions League restart, while Watford have plenty to play for as they attempt to avoid the drop.

Match preview

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's clinical double at Wembley Stadium on Saturday killed off City's treble hopes, with Arsenal producing an impressive defensive display to advance.

That loss only increases the pressure on Pep Guardiola's men to overcome Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16, a tie they lead 2-1 after February's first leg.

The EFL Cup alone, which City won with victory over Aston Villa in March, will not cut it if 2019-20 is to be anything other than a hugely underwhelming campaign for the Citizens.

Before resuming their European campaign there are two more league games to tick off, with this trip to Watford quickly followed by a home match against bottom side Norwich City.

City's form in the top flight since last month's restart has been pretty impressive, winning eight out of 10 matches with an aggregate scoreline of 24-1 in those victories.

The defeats to Chelsea and in particular Southampton, though, plus the two-goal reverse against Arsenal, highlights that the dethroned champions have regressed from last season.

This is a good fixture for City in their bid to quickly hit back, having won 8-0 in September's reverse fixture - Bernardo Silva helping himself to a hat-trick in that one.

Watford had been far more solid since Nigel Pearson arrived in December as their third manager of the campaign and they are on course to avoid the drop, although they took the decision to part company with the Englishman on Sunday.

After winning back-to-back matches to give themselves some breathing space, the Hornets fell to a 3-1 loss at West Ham United on Friday and still have work to do, perhaps explaining the decision to replace Pearson.

Pearson hit out at his side on the back of that match, in which his side trailed 3-0 inside 36 minutes, but their fate is ultimately in their own hands.

However, with games against City and Arsenal to see out the season, the managerless Hornets may well require a helping hand from elsewhere - unless they can pull off a shock win on Tuesday.

Watford's Premier League form: LLLWWL

Manchester City's Premier League form: LWLWWW
Manchester City's form (all competitions): WLWWWL

Team News

Guardiola has been heavily rotating his side between games, with five more changes made for Saturday's defeat to Arsenal.

Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling were among those to return to the XI, but they are expected to be given a breather in midweek.

Sergio Aguero is City's only confirmed absentee, while back-up goalkeeper Claudio Bravo remains doubtful.

Given a lack of other options up top, Gabriel Jesus may continue to lead the line for City, who have won the last 30 league games in which the Brazilian has scored.

As for Watford, Gerard Deulofeu is still recovering from a ruptured cruciate ligament injury, while other long-term absentee Daryl Janmaat will also miss out.

Etienne Capoue dropped out against West Ham, with Tom Cleverley taking his place, but he should return fitness depending on Tuesday.

Skipper Troy Deeney hobbled off with a knee injury in that same game but will be given every chance of being fit, while Adam Masina was hauled off and faces a battle winning back his place.

Watford possible starting lineup:
Foster; Femenia, Kabasele, Dawson, Mariappa; Hughes, Doucoure; Sarr, Capoue, Welbeck; Deeney

Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Otamendi, Zinchenko; Fernandinho, Rodrigo, Doyle; Mahrez, Jesus, Bernardo

We say: Watford 0-3 Manchester City

Regardless of what team Guardiola fields, City will be desperate to put Saturday's cup exit behind them as they look to rebuild some momentum ahead of the Champions League restart. Watford may need three more points to avoid relegation, but they have lost their last 12 games against City in all competitions and that run looks set to continue here.

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