Watford 1-2 Manchester City: Late City rally stuns spirited hosts
By Jack Wilkinson
Last Updated: 02/01/16 11:54pm
Manchester City kept pace at the top of the Premier League as two goals in the final eight minutes saw them snatch a 2-1 victory at Watford on Saturday Night Football.
Goals from Yaya Toure (82) and Sergio Aguero (84) overcame a spirited Watford side who looked on course for victory when Aleksandar Kolarov deflected Ben Watson's corner beyond the stricken Joe Hart on 55 minutes.
The result - City's first away win since September - moves Manuel Pellegrini's side up to third in the table, three points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal
Watford, meanwhile, remain ninth in the table having slipped to a second consecutive defeat for the first time since November.
Pellegrini named an unchanged side for the first time since August as City travelled to Hertfordshire looking to keep pace at the top of the Premier League.
Arsenal's victory over Newcastle earlier on Saturday meant City started the game six points adrift of the leaders, but that did little to inspire the visitors as Watford's prolific strike force tormented a tentative City defence.
Troy Deeney pounced on an error by Eliaquim Mangala to put Odion Ighalo through on goal on 10 minutes, only for Nicholas Otamendi to save his defensive partner with a last-gasp block.
Ighalo then created a chance on his own three minutes later, leaving Otamendi for dead in the area with a sublime piece of skill, but Hart was on hand to thwart the Nigerian's shot.
City struggled to penetrate Watford's well-drilled defensive unit, with the visitors limited to long-range efforts as Kevin de Bruyne's dipping shot drew Heurelho Gomes into an awkward save on 19 minutes.
Mangala continued to struggle with Ighalo as the Watford striker toyed with the Frenchman. But, for all their defensive difficulties, City began to grow into the game, with Raheem Sterling missing a glaring opportunity to break the deadlock on 29 minutes with the goal gaping.
Allan Nyom was booked for simulation after theatrically going to ground in the area under after Fernandinho's challenge as the first half ended in timid fashion.
But Watford sprung out of the traps after the break, with Watson drawing Hart into a low save with just two minutes on the clock, before Fernandinho spurned another great chance for the visitors, sending a free header over the bar on 54 minutes.
And that miss proved to be costly as Watford opened the scoring within a minute. Mangala was forced to concede a corner and Watson's wicked near-post delivery forced Kolarov to glance the ball beyond Hart, who was committed to a punched clearance.
Watford could have wrapped up the points when Etienne Capoue, having bundled his way into the City area, scooped the ball over the target on 79 minutes.
And that missed, coupled with a tactical gamble from Pellegrini, swung the game dramatically in City's favour.
The introduction of Wilfried Bony, on for Mangala, gave City added presence up front and it paid off and Toure was left with enough space to beat his marker to volley Kolarov's corner home eight minutes from time.
The turnaround was completed just two minutes and 36 seconds later as Bacary Sagna's exquisite cross from the right was expertly headed beyond Gomes by Aguero, sealing the win as City maintained their quest for a third Premier League title.
Watford: Gomes (7), Nyom (7), Cathcart (7), Britos (7), Holebas (8), Abdi (6), Capoue (7), Watson (8), Jurado (7), Ighalo (7), Deeney (7).
Used subs: Guedioura (5).
Man City: Hart (7), Sagna (7), Otamendi (6), Mangala (5), Kolarov (6), Fernandinho (6), Toure (8), De Bruyne (7), Silva (6), Sterling (6), Aguero (8).
Used subs: Bony (5), Jesus Navas (5), Demichelis (5)
Man of the Match: Jose Holebas.