Man City v Watford preview: Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne absent for league leaders
Last Updated: 02/01/18 3:43pm
Manchester City will aim to return to winning ways against Watford without Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne (kick-off 8pm).
Both players were injured in the draw with Crystal Palace on Sunday, much to Pep Guardiola's frustration. The Brazil international is expected to be out for up to two months, while City are waiting to ascertain the damage to De Bruyne.
Watford come into the game off the back of a 2-1 defeat to strugglers Swansea, which is not the perfect platform ahead of facing a team who beat them 6-0 earlier in the season.
"It was a bad afternoon for us," Hornets defender Christian Kabasele told the club's website.
"We need to be more focused at the end of the game.
"Now we have a tough game on Tuesday, we need to rest and to learn from our mistakes.
"We can't get this point back so we need to analyse what went wrong and go to Manchester City to try and compete with them."
City will be without Jesus and De Bruyne is a doubt, and manager Guardiola also does not expect David Silva to return after being absent for personal reasons.
Defenders Vincent Kompany, Fabian Delph and John Stones could yet return but left-back Benjamin Mendy (knee) and midfielder Phil Foden (ankle) are still out.
Watford will have an unchanged squad for the trip to the Etihad.
Captain Troy Deeney serves the last instalment of a four-match suspension following his red card against Huddersfield before Christmas.
Kiko Femenia, Will Hughes (both hamstring), Younes Kaboul (foot), Miguel Britos (ankle), Craig Cathcart, Nathaniel Chalobah and Isaac Success (all knee) are all still out injured.
City have won their last seven meetings with Watford in all competitions, by an aggregate score of 24-3.
Watford have failed to score in their last four league visits to Manchester City, stretching back to 2001. Should they fail to score here, it would be their joint-longest league run without finding the net at a specific opponent (five vs Bournemouth between 1962-1967 and five vs Cardiff between 1971-2003).
Manchester City are unbeaten in their last 22 Premier League games at the Etihad Stadium (W17 D5) - their longest such run in the competition since a 37-game streak ending in December 2012.
Watford have lost their last three away games in the Premier League, netting just one goal in the process. The Hornets last endured a longer losing away run in the competition between February and May 2017 (seven).
Watford have lost 16 points from winning positions this season in the Premier League, more than any other team.
Five of Watford's Premier League games this season have seen a 90+ minute winning goal - two in their favour and three against (most recently against Swansea last time out).
Watford have lost each of their last seven top-flight matches against sides starting that day in top spot - they've only won once, a 2-1 win over Liverpool in May 1983 with goals from Martin Patching and Luther Blissett.
Sergio Aguero - who has six goals in four Premier League games against the Hornets - could become the second player to score a Premier League hat-trick against the same club twice in a season, after Emmanuel Adebayor against Derby County in 2007-08.
Raheem Sterling has scored eight goals in eight Premier League home games this season, as well as providing three more assists.
Watford look as though they have gone. If they didn't beat Leicester when they went 1-0 down then they would be one of the favourites to get relegated at the moment. That was a big result for them. But then if they had beaten Swansea they would probably be safe and would have needed just a few more wins for the rest of the season. Now all of a sudden they haven't had really hard games and they are in trouble.
They have good players but they are so inconsistent. As a manager you can watch them one week and they will be nine out of 10 and then a week later they could be four out of 10 for no reason. That's just the way it is. They lost 4-2 to Chelsea and they could have won 4-2. The problem the managers have with teams like this is inconsistency. One week they can put in a performance like they did against Leicester, which was a big performance from 1-0 down, but then they are 1-0 up against Swansea with 10 minutes to go and they lose the game! It's not through not trying it's just inconsistency. City should win this comfortably.
PAUL PREDICTS: 4-0 (9/1 with Sky Bet)