The Hornets are buzzing around the European places, and have often produced a sting from their tails this season. Although they only have a point to show for two battling performances against Chelsea and Spurs, Watford’s irrepressible hunger kept them in the fight. They were unlucky in a bruising contest with Tottenham last time out—Ighalo and Deeney gave the visitors problems all game. Manchester City arrive needing a win to get their title challenge back on track, having been held to an absorbing 0-0 with Leicester. With Kompany out again, Deeney and Ighalo will be confident of finding the net—this will be a tough contest.
The former Arsenal defender has become a mainstay in this City side, making 18 appearances in the league for Pellegrini. Although the result wasn’t ideal, Sagna was one of City’s better performers against Leicester—he made Christian Fuchs’ life difficult on that right hand side. Watford’s goals primarily come from the Deeney/Ighalo partnership in the centre, so Sagna may be given licence to get forward and join in the attack. The Frenchman has just 2 assists and will be hopeful of adding to them before the season is over.
Kevin De Bruyne
At times this season De Bruyne has looked like the only City player capable of conjuring something—against Arsenal in particular he was out on his own. What were Chelsea thinking, selling him for such a low fee? The Belgian oozes class, and his backheel to play in David Silva against Leicester was sublime. That move deserved a goal.
There isn’t much left to say about Ighalo, but odds are he will be the subject of interest in the January window. Having achieved 30 goals in a calendar year and confirming himself as English football’s highest goalscorer of 2015, Watford will find it difficult to hold on to him for long. Ighalo might consider himself lucky not to have been sent off in his last game, bloodying Tom Carroll’s nose and then screaming in the linesman’s face. If those two incidents had happened separately instead of together you imagine he would have been given his marching orders. Ighalo will be under scrutiny from the referee in this match, and will need to keep his cool if things don’t go Watford’s way.
A charming bromance has flourished in Watford – Ighalo and Deeney warmly appreciating the other’s efforts—Ighalo in particular was quick to thank Deeney for his assists over the last year. In many ways they have become a natural double act, the Englishman always looking to bring his strike partner into the game. The loss to Spurs clearly left a sour taste for Deeney, who was vocal during and after the game concerning Aké’s red card. He will be doubly determined to get a win against Manchester City.