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Watford v Manchester City - 3pm Sat 16th Sept - Premier League Match Preview and MDT
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15 September 2017 07:17 Post ID: #605922
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Preview

Fresh from a wonderfully composed and professional performance in Europe and after demolishing Liverpool last weekend City are once more back on the road in the Premier League where they travel to Vicarage Road to face Marco Silva’s high flying Watford.

Aside from the rags and City, Watford are the only other undefeated team in the league this season and sit in fourth place on 8 points. A decent start from their new Portuguese manager who after a single year in charge opted not to accompany Hull City to the Championship after their relegation last season. This should perhaps not be a surprise - he only stayed at his 2 previous clubs (Olympiacos and Sporting Clubs de Portugal) for single seasons.

As City revisit the scene of their previous 5-0 win in the Premier League on the last day of the 2016/17 season they perhaps need to take care not to read too much into that victory. This time around it is early in the season, players are fresh, they have a new manager and all to play for. Watford will present a different test this time around I suspect especially after having put three past Liverpool on the opening day and most recently despatched Southampton 0-2 at St Mary’s last weekend.

Their transfer activity over the summer have seen the arrival of the Brazilian winger Richarlson from Fluminense, the talented Will Hughes from Derby, Chalobah from Chelsea (yes, he’s the one who shoved Aguero over in the debacle at the Etihad last season & faced no sanction) as well as Andre Grey from Burnley. Oh yes, and journeyman ex-rag Tom Cleverley from Everton.

Averaging less than 50% possession in the league so far (46.7% to be precise) Pep’s men can expect to see a lot of the ball and, should Pep retain three centre halves, perhaps expect from their opponents similar tactics to those employed by Koeman - hit the ball long into the space behind City’s advanced wing backs. The other theme that seems to be emerging is the targeting of Otamendi with through passes into the space on the left side of our back three. A bit isolated by the progressive nature of Benjamin Mendy outside him, the Argentine defender has been left a little exposed at times encouraging a resumption of his tendency to get drawn into challenges. Liverpool exploited this a few times at the weekend and he swiftly ended up on a yellow card and subsequently might well have seen City reduced to ten men for the third successive match had not the dynamic of the game been altered by the removal instead of Said Mané.

That decision has been the subject of significant debate and for some odd reason appears to be divisive amongst football supporters and pundits alike for reasons which pass understanding. I have been utterly bemused by the whole ‘debate’ - the player left the ground with both feet at pace; he was in mid-flight & therefore not in control when the studs of his boot caught an opponent on the side of the face, leaving him requiring treatment for nearly eight minutes and eight stitches for the resulting wound. How is it not dangerous?

Oh and absolute shame on those Liverpool ‘fans’ at the ground who actually booed the injured player whilst he was being placed onto a stretcher as the medical staff assessed what, at the time, they clearly felt might have been a more serious head injury including concussion and possible facial bone fractures. Just add this to the evidence folder of their lack of class alongside their disgraceful treatment of Raheem Sterling.

Not that it is relevant but Mané never touched the ball. Had he made a tackle like that elsewhere on the field and caught an opponent on the thigh whilst sliding in both feet off the ground making zero contact with the ball it would have been a red card. For some bizarre reason the fact that his foot was at head height and the opponent was a goalkeeper seems to have generated a plethora of irrelevant and contradictory excuses for his action and reasons why he should have stayed on the pitch: -

"He was only looking at the ball" - irrelevant. As irrelevant as saying "But I got the ball!” after breaking someone's leg in the tackle.

"He didn't see the keeper coming" - illogical. If he didn't know the keeper was there he would have let the ball drop and wouldn't have needed to launch himself into mid-air to try and reach it.

"He was looking to tip it away from the keeper" - Specious & contradicts the one above. If he didn't see the keeper coming then how could have been 'trying to tip it away from him’?

"He has to go for that. The reward is so great if he beats the keeper to the ball, he just has to go for it" - Specious. No he doesn't if it endangers his opponent. The 'reward' (as mooted by Gary Neville on Sky’s commentary) is irrelevant.

Let’s try this Gary. Let’s play the ‘Imagine Game’………Close your eyes and imagine that it is your 9 year old son or daughter that is playing in goal and has come out to head the ball and they are the one getting kicked in the head……….would you have thought it a ‘fair tackle’ then?

I don’t think you would somehow.

But enough of this and the specious arguments of the vague-minded dippers or ‘pundits’…..

With the rags getting an extra day off (they don’t play until Sunday having played at home on Tuesday) to recover from their exertions at home against those giants of European football, FC Basel, City have the chance to move to the top of the table on Saturday and build on the marker laid down last weekend. Their record against the Hornets in the last six meetings (4 league, 2 FA Cup) bodes well having won all those matches scoring 18 goals and conceding only thrice. The key to this game as it probably will be all season is securing an early goal - it opens at the doors and helps to create the space where the talents of Silva and De Bruyne can come to the fore.

Danilo impressed with his versatility against Liverpool and Mendy was outstanding - his early crossing from the left is a forward’s dream. Coming off the bench and netting twice last Saturday Sané has clearly risen to the challenge and made a case for inclusion in the starting XI but I think Pep will stick with his flying wings backs to start with and use Sané’s pace against tiring legs. His finish for his first goal was sublime by the way. Kevin De Bruyne seems to have found his mojo and is purring like a Rolls Royce in the City engine room.

One would hope that the media myth of ‘can Jesus and Aguero play together?’ would finally be put to bed after the latter set up his team mate to score when he could easily have opted to take the ball around Mignolet for a second time early in the second half against Liverpool. They combined well and clearly can form a deadly partnership for the Blues - something which was once again demonstrated in the Champions League on Wednesday evening. The hacks will continue to cling onto this ‘myth’ for a while yet but will increasingly find it hard to justify. David Silva remains the maestro, quietly pulling the strings. But above all there are ominous signs that Pep really is starting to make the squad his own and weave his magic behind the scenes, bolstering player’s confidence both individually and collectively as they increasingly deliver the connected joined-up performances that he seeks.

The mark of champions is measured in many ways - showing resilience and getting back into games when behind; keeping going until the very end; securing points when the going gets tough; winning games against other title contenders…….and managing to deal with the pressure of mid-week European football whilst maintaining your league momentum.

This weekend City face the latest of these tests - maintaining consistency. Time to follow up last weekend’s emphatic thrashing of Liverpool and the composed professional performance in Europe with another solid league result.

Come on City!!!

Our opponents


Match Officials

Referee - Anthony ‘Altrincham’ Taylor
Assistants - Gary Beswick; Adam Nunn
Fourth Official - Neil Swarbrick

Stats** comparison:-

Watford (Premier League)

Goals per game - 1.8
Avg Possession - 46.7%
Pass Accuracy - 73.2%
Shots per game - 12
Discipline - 3Y, 1R

City (Premier League)

Goals per game - 2.3
Avg Possession - 64.6%
Pass Accuracy - 87.7%
Shots per game - 16.3
Discipline - 9Y, 2R

**Stats courtesy of Whoscored.com

Team News

Watford will be without Kaboul, Cathcart & Hoban. Doubts exist over Femenia, Prodl & Pereyra. They will also be without the suspended Britos after his sending off for a challenge where he left the ground with both feet and clattered an opponent which was deemed dangerous. Oh - there was NO massive outcry about an injustice being done.

City await news from Pep on the condition their captain Vincent Kompany. Injured whilst on International duty one has to feel that Pep’s patience may well be running a bit thin.

Potential starting XI, subs & formation

Ederson

Danilo, Stones, Otamendi

Walker, De Bruyne, Fernandinho, Silva D, Mendy

G Jesus, Aguero

Subs:-

Bravo, Mangala, Silva B, Gundogan, Sane, Sterling, Diaz
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15 September 2017 07:39 Post ID: #605925 - in reply to #605922
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Skoorb
Watford have shown already they are no pushovers but I expect a comfortable away win providing we are not complacent and 'keep at it' for the whole 90 mins.

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15 September 2017 11:02 Post ID: #605926 - in reply to #605925
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Unlike Pep to go with the same line-up, so expecting changes.

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15 September 2017 13:00 Post ID: #605927 - in reply to #605922
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Entirely possible. Perhaps a start for Sane or Sterling might be one option and going with one up front leading ot outcry's or "Aguero dropped"!, "Where now for the Argentinian ace"? or "Has Pep fallen out with Jesus"?
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15 September 2017 13:26 Post ID: #605929 - in reply to #605922
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Good preview - even if a large part of it is used to drag out the 'challenge' by Mane on Ederson, time for everyone (including the media if they haven't already) to move on?

Was thinking that in this formation F25 has become the fulcrum of the team - more vital than the attacking full backs, more necessary than the two upfront, more important than the fancy dans playing in front of him in the midfield - F25 is the player that is allowing everyone else to play.

And Otomandi needs to up his game.

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15 September 2017 13:50 Post ID: #605930 - in reply to #605922
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Yeah, being an integral part of the best defence in the league just isn't good enough
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15 September 2017 14:59 Post ID: #605931 - in reply to #605922
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The preview is the opportunity i use to discuss issues conerning City and cover events from our perspective - it is published on the front page and hopefully receives a wider reaadership than solely thiose visiting the discussion board. My time is limited and in some cases preparation for these previews has to be undertaken when I have the time and in some cases if issues feel a bit 'stale' that is because I don't have the time to revise them sufficiently.

Sorry if you feel it is long winded and covers ground elsewhere but there are wider audiences which will not have seen our threads on the discusson board.
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15 September 2017 15:47 Post ID: #605934 - in reply to #605922
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Expecting a win but also a battle, i think we will win by two goals.
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15 September 2017 17:05 Post ID: #605940 - in reply to #605931
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Skoorb - 15/9/2017 14:59

The preview is the opportunity i use to discuss issues conerning City and cover events from our perspective - it is published on the front page and hopefully receives a wider reaadership than solely thiose visiting the discussion board. My time is limited and in some cases preparation for these previews has to be undertaken when I have the time and in some cases if issues feel a bit 'stale' that is because I don't have the time to revise them sufficiently.

Sorry if you feel it is long winded and covers ground elsewhere but there are wider audiences which will not have seen our threads on the discusson board.

Ah, so it's your personal soapbox? Perhaps change the name of the thread to something like the Skoorb report, add machine to your name and refer to yourself in the 3rd person?
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15 September 2017 20:24 Post ID: #605942 - in reply to #605922
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15 September 2017 21:23 Post ID: #605947 - in reply to #605940
Chief Forum Editor
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citizhun - 15/9/2017 17:05

Skoorb - 15/9/2017 14:59

The preview is the opportunity i use to discuss issues conerning City and cover events from our perspective - it is published on the front page and hopefully receives a wider reaadership than solely thiose visiting the discussion board. My time is limited and in some cases preparation for these previews has to be undertaken when I have the time and in some cases if issues feel a bit 'stale' that is because I don't have the time to revise them sufficiently.

Sorry if you feel it is long winded and covers ground elsewhere but there are wider audiences which will not have seen our threads on the discusson board.

Ah, so it's your personal soapbox? Perhaps change the name of the thread to something like the Skoorb report, add machine to your name and refer to yourself in the 3rd person? :008:


Do you want to have a go at the previews Citizhun? They are hard work and Skoorb works tirelessly at putting these reports together for every game, week in week out twice a week on some occasions, I enjoy these reviews and the effort that Skoorb puts in to his reports and i for one thank him for doing this task.

I am sure that if you want to step in and do the reviews for games yourself, getting together all the stats plus including your thoughts on the coming games, which in itself is time consuming and is purely voluntary Skoorb will gladly step aside for you.

Please PM Tudor when you wish to start.

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15 September 2017 21:25 Post ID: #605948 - in reply to #605922
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I have never thought of it as my 'personal soapbox' but I am not a trained journalist just a City fan who gives up his spare time to try and contribute.
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15 September 2017 21:32 Post ID: #605950 - in reply to #605947
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Buzz Lightyear - 15/9/2017 21:23

citizhun - 15/9/2017 17:05

Skoorb - 15/9/2017 14:59

The preview is the opportunity i use to discuss issues conerning City and cover events from our perspective - it is published on the front page and hopefully receives a wider reaadership than solely thiose visiting the discussion board. My time is limited and in some cases preparation for these previews has to be undertaken when I have the time and in some cases if issues feel a bit 'stale' that is because I don't have the time to revise them sufficiently.

Sorry if you feel it is long winded and covers ground elsewhere but there are wider audiences which will not have seen our threads on the discusson board.

Ah, so it's your personal soapbox? Perhaps change the name of the thread to something like the Skoorb report, add machine to your name and refer to yourself in the 3rd person? :008:


Do you want to have a go at the previews Citizhun? They are hard work and Skoorb works tirelessly at putting these reports together for every game, week in week out twice a week on some occasions, I enjoy these reviews and the effort that Skoorb puts in to his reports and i for one thank him for doing this task.

I am sure that if you want to step in and do the reviews for games yourself, getting together all the stats plus including your thoughts on the coming games, which in itself is time consuming and is purely voluntary Skoorb will gladly step aside for you.

Please PM Tudor when you wish to start.



Well said and seconded, with bells on.

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16 September 2017 00:50 Post ID: #605954 - in reply to #605922
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My 17 for this game is the same as Skoorb's, except for Delph on the bench for Diaz.

The cup in midweek will be interesting, but let's play this one first.
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16 September 2017 01:55 Post ID: #605955 - in reply to #605931
Commander in Chief
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Skoorb - 15/9/2017 14:59

The preview is the opportunity i use to discuss issues conerning City and cover events from our perspective - it is published on the front page and hopefully receives a wider reaadership than solely thiose visiting the discussion board. My time is limited and in some cases preparation for these previews has to be undertaken when I have the time and in some cases if issues feel a bit 'stale' that is because I don't have the time to revise them sufficiently.

Sorry if you feel it is long winded and covers ground elsewhere but there are wider audiences which will not have seen our threads on the discusson board.

No need to justify Mr. Skoorb, your previews are generally excellent
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16 September 2017 02:00 Post ID: #605956 - in reply to #605922
Commander in Chief
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Well for sure the starting 11 will be changed, it's in Peps DNA. We have never lost to the Hornets I think, so we should be able to put them away and sit on top for a day at least. Plenty of away goals could keep us on top where we belong, always.
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16 September 2017 06:01 Post ID: #605957 - in reply to #605956
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I know we have today's match to get through, but i do hope that he does not underestimate the opposition.
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