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Manchester City vs Watford. Premier League.

Etihad StadiumAttendance51,527.

Manchester City 2

  • P Zabaleta (33rd minute)
  • D Silva (86th minute)

Watford 0

    Man City 2-0 Watford: Pressure eases on Pep Guardiola

    Simeon Gholam

    Wednesday 14 December 2016 23:04, UK

    Man City 2-0 Watford

    Manchester City eased the pressure on Pep Guardiola with a 2-0 victory over Watford in the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium.

    City had won just four of their previous 15 games in all competitions, but goals from Pablo Zabaleta and David Silva either side of half-time ensured a relatively comfortable three points on Wednesday night.

    There was a real blow for City, however, who could be without Ilkay Gundogan for several months after he was forced off in the first half with suspected knee ligament damage. 

    Despite that, City stay fourth in the Premier League, staving off the threat of Tottenham and Manchester United behind them, but they also remain seven points off Chelsea at the top of the table.

    Goals, Goals, Goals!

    Goals, Goals, Goals!

    Watch goals from all midweek PL games with the Sky Sports Football Score Centre app

    It was a disappointing night for Watford and Walter Mazzarri, meanwhile, who failed to build on their win over Everton at the weekend and drop out of the top half into 11th. 

    Guardiola made five changes in response to his team's 4-2 defeat at Leicester on Saturday, but it was two of the men who started at the King Power Stadium that combined for the opener.

    Kevin De Bruyne had been City's most threatening player in the first half, and he got down the left after 33 minutes before picking out Zabaleta at the far post. It had been more than two years since the right-back had found the net for City, but he showed no rustiness in front of goal, slotting home with his first touch.

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     Odion Ighalo of Watford and Yaya Toure of Manchester City compete for the ball
    Image: Odion Ighalo of Watford and Yaya Toure of Manchester City compete for the ball

    Aside from the goal there was little action in a first half dominated by City. But there was a blow to both sides as Watford lost Roberto Pereyra - making his return from suspension - to injury just before City struck, while the home side then lost Gundogan late in the half.

    City continued to dominate in the second half but they created very few chances as Watford defended resiliently. Raheem Sterling was looking lively down the right, and he came closest to a second after 57 minutes when he cut inside and drove to the edge of the area before seeing his shot clip the top of the bar and go over.

    Watford finally started to grow into the game as they pushed for an equaliser, and finally created a few opportunities late on. 

    Pep Guardiola praises Zabaleta after his opener

    After 76 minutes Etienne Capoue forced a fine save out of Claudio Bravo with a low drive after a free-kick had fallen to him at the far post, then Odion Ighalo missed a great opportunity five minutes later, steering the ball over the bar after being picked out perfectly in the box by Nordin Amrabat.

    And the Hornets would come to rue that missed opportunity four minutes from time. Capitalising on some space in behind, Silva and Sterling countered well into the box, exchanging passes before the Spaniard slotted home calmly from close range to kill the game off.

    Pablo Zabaleta gives Man City the lead
    Image: Zabaleta gives Man City the lead

    Player ratings

    Man City: Bravo (6), Zabaleta (8), Otamendi (7), Kolarov (7), Clichy (7), Gundogan (6), Toure (6), De Bruyne (7), Sterling (8), Silva (8), Nolito (6)

    Subs: Fernando (6), Navas (n/a), Sane (n/a) 

    Watford: Gomes (6), Janmaat (5), Prodl (5), Britos (5), Holebas (4), Pereyra (5), Guedioura (5), Capoue (6), Amrabat (6), Ighalo (4), Sinclair (4)

    Subs: Zuniga (5), Success (6), Deeney (5) 

    Man of the match: David Silva

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