News Live Scores

Watford v Manchester City Live Commentary, 04/12/2021

FT
1 - 3
WAT
MCI
J. Hernández (74)
R. Sterling (4)
Bernardo Silva (31)
Bernardo Silva (63)
Vicarage Road

Commentary

That's all from Vicarage Road today, so thank you for joining us and goodbye!
A total of 26 shots - with half finding the target and several being repelled by Watford's inspired goalkeeper - demonstrates City's supremacy today, and they can now rest some weary legs for a Champions League tie which is a dead rubber from their point view. Ranieri's Hornets, meanwhile, next face a basement battle with faltering Brentford on Friday.
There may have only been a two-goal gap between them in the final analysis, but Manchester City were always on top against a hesitant Watford side and should have scored more at Vicarage Road. Nonetheless, the champions return to the summit of the Premier League table with a richly deserved win, which was inspired by their star man of recent weeks, Bernardo Silva.
90' + 4' FULL-TIME: WATFORD 1-3 MANCHESTER CITY
90' + 2' Not for the first time, Hernandez causes some consternation in the Manchester City area, with his run earning Watford a corner on the right. From a second successive corner kick, Ngakia then shoots wide of the target.
90' Having scored twice and created four chances today, Silva has now netted six goals in his last eight Premier League appearances for Manchester City - surpassing his total for all of last season.
88' CLOSE! A powerful side-footed effort from the brink of the box flies just over the bar from the boot of De Bruyne, who seemed set to power home City's fourth goal. 
87' Jesus is back on the field and is moving freely once again.
85' After his brutal encounter with Cathcart in the centre of the pitch, Jesus lies prone on the turf and takes some time before he can finally limp away from the scene of the crime.
C. Cathcart
Yellow Card
Watford
84' For a blatant trip on the accelerating Jesus, Cathcart goes into the referee's notebook with a yellow card.
81' Sterling has a shot from the left side of the box blocked following more good work from Silva, who will be keen to secure his hat-trick in the closing minutes.
79' On course for a 10th today, Manchester City's manager has won all nine of his previous meetings with Watford, and Guardiola's aggregate advantage against the Hornets now sits at a total of 42-4!
77' Once again to the fore, Hernandez finds King in a yard of space, but the Watford striker's shot is steered wide. The hosts are steadily improving, but it is surely all too late. 
Gabriel Jesus
P. Foden
Manchester City
75' After a fine display, Foden's work is done, and Jesus is on in his place for the final 15 minutes.
J. Hernández
Goal
Watford
74' WATFORD GET ONE BACK! Half-time substitute Hernandez does brilliantly to cut back inside from the right and drill a low shot into the bottom corner of the City net, helping his side pull back within two goals of the champions. Surely it's too late for an improbable comeback? Watford 1-3 Man City.
73' A rare opportunity for Watford sees Kucka have a shot saved comfortably by Ederson. The Brazilian goalkeeper will have been glad of the work on a quiet shift so far.
J. Ngakia
D. Rose
Watford
71' Rose has suffered a difficult day at the office, so will perhaps be relieved to come off for Ngakia.
70' Bachmann makes yet another save - his seventh so far - as Laporte is denied from close range.
R. Mahrez
J. Grealish
Manchester City
68' Having missed a hatful of chances, Grealish is withdrawn for Mahrez to take his place up front.
K. De Bruyne
İ. Gündoğan
Manchester City
67' The fans serenade De Bruyne as he arrives from the bench, offering Gundogan a well-earned rest.
66' OFF THE BAR! A typical Grealish run past a series of tired Watford challenges ends in the forward firing in an effort which loops up onto the crossbar and over, following a heavy deflection. It just hasn't been his day!
K. Walker
Assist
Manchester City
63' Walker was in an advanced position to lay the ball out wide to Silva, who still had a lot of work to do before curling in his latest wonder strike.
Bernardo Silva
Goal
Manchester City
63' WHAT A STRIKE! Silva receives the ball on the right side of the area, skins Rose - who has struggled to handle both the Portuguese playmaker and Sterling all game - and effortlessly curls the ball into the top left corner with a wondrous left-footed strike. Another excellent goal to follow his strike at Villa Park, and City now lead 3-0!
61' On the break, Sterling chases down the right and lays the ball into Gundogan's path, but the midfielder's shot on the turn from 20 yards spirals over the bar.
59' OFF THE POST! Foden drifts in dangerously from the left, and Bachmann is down quickly to get a finger on a near-post shot which then strikes the base of the post! The England star would deserve a goal today for his positive contributions in the final third.
57' Perhaps unwisely, Sissoko decides to shoot from around 25 yards, and the ball goes scudding well wide of Ederson's right-hand post.
55' Dennis seems to have taken a painful kick on the knee, and throws himself theatrically to the turf. After a brief spell on the ground, he is back in action, and any claims for a penalty are dismissed by the referee.
53' Watford's changes have had little effect in terms of reversing the general direction of the game, but Ranieri surely felt as though he had to act. City continue to plough forward regardless.
51' BACHMANN BACK IN ACTION! Watford's goalkeeper keeps his gloves warm by diving to stop Sterling's close-range shot. Another chance for City's third goes by, but some of the plaudits must go to the Hornets' stopper.
49' Sterling takes on a difficult volley as the ball drops from the sky, but Cathcart gets enough on it to deflect his effort wide for a corner. From the set-piece, Bachmann takes charge and claims the ball. 
47' Laporte has to get out quickly to block a Joao Pedro shot, and Watford then win a corner. However, Dennis heads the ball well over the crossbar from the edge of the six-yard box.
J. Kucka
T. Cleverley
Watford
46' Cleverley also comes off, to be replaced by the experienced Kucka.
J. Hernández
I. Louza
Watford
46' Louza has been withdrawn at the interval, and Hernandez replaces him for the second half.
46' We are back under way at Vicarage Road, and the home side have made some changes in midfield.
With a Champions League trip to Germany coming in midweek, to be followed by Wolves' visit next Saturday, City may opt to dial down their efforts towards the end of the second half, while Watford will be merely aiming to cling on and keep the score down. 
There are rarely such one-sided games at the elite level, but Manchester City strode effortlessly into a two-goal lead before the break, with Watford barely laying a glove on them throughout. Indeed, the visitors should be at least four goals to the good already, as only the combination of Bachmann's sharpness and Grealish's profilgacy have prevented the scoreline growing further in the champions' favour.
45' + 2' HALF-TIME: WATFORD 0-2 MANCHESTER CITY
45' Vicarage Road has an eerily silent feel as half-time approaches, and the home fans can only fear the second 45.
43' Surpassing even their own lofty standards, Manchester City have managed to utterly dominate the ball today, as their possession stats sit near 80 per cent and they have a remarkable 95 per cent passing accuracy rate so far.
41' Cathcart concedes a corner under pressure, following more good work from Silva on the right.
39' All 11 Watford men are back inside their defensive third, as City continue to probe patiently from side to side.
37' The pace has dropped significantly since the second goal, almost as if both sides have acknowledged that the game's competitive element is already over.
35' Already well on their way to a 14th success today, Manchester City are on a 13-match winning streak versus Watford since a 1-1 draw back in 2007.
33' Troost-Ekong makes a mess of a defensive header, but his blushes are spared when Foden then turns quickly and shoots over from inside the Watford area.
D. Rose
Yellow Card
Watford
31' Rose is now shown the yellow card for a late challenge, as his day goes from bad to worse.
Bernardo Silva
Goal
Manchester City
31' CITY DOUBLE UP! Just as the Watford fans were gaining a slight sliver of encouragement, City go two ahead, as another Bachmann save eventually runs into other path of Bernardo Silva, who fires clinically into the net from the right side of the area. The champions go 2-0 up and give Watford a mountain to climb!
29' From a free-kick, the lively Dennis has his shot blocked, and moments later Watford skipper Sissoko fires over the crossbar.
27' Manchester City will go top of the league with a victory following Chelsea's loss to West Ham earlier today, and will fancy their chances of seeing out the win here, as they have lost just two of their last 21 Premier League away games - winning 17.
25' Tracking back impressively, Dennis disposseses Sterling in a dangerous position. However, Watford quickly lose the ball, and Cancelo tries an ambitious 25-yarder which scuds well wide of the right post.
23' Another Grealish chance is spurned, as the City forward leans back on a close-range shot and it spirals harmlessly over the bar. He could feasibly have had a hat-trick already, but will surely get further opportunities.
22' Manchester City have often been at their ruthless best in this fixture, as they won both Premier League matches with Watford by an aggregate score of 12-0 in the 2019-20 campaign.
20' A heavy deflection almost catches out Bachmann, who does well to quickly shift his weight and keep out a low Grealish effort from the edge of the area.
18' Gundogan's early ball from the left just evades Sterling in the area, and Bachmann collects the loose ball. City are still on top, but Watford have started to grow into the game.
16' GOOD SAVE! Dennis is again involved, as he strides into acres of space down the right and opts against a more conventional crossing opportunity to wander into the box and drive a near-post shot at goal. Ederson gets down well to save, though, and clutches onto the ball.  
14' Breaking forward down the right for Watford, a Dennis cross is headed clear and then another ball from the left is nodded out by Laporte. 
12' Following his early goal, Sterling has now been directly involved in 13 goals in just nine appearances against Watford in all competitions (11 goals, 2 assists).
10' SHARP STOP! The chances keep coming for the visitors, as Bachmann is out quickly to block Grealish, who is clear through on goal following a low Foden cross from the left. The playmaker, featuring as a 'false nine' today, should really have scored!
9' SAVE! Once again Bachmann is called upon to intervene, as Grealish gets free to head towards goal from the corner and is only denied by the Austrian goalkeeper. City are certainly in the mood today!
8' CLOSE! Under very little pressure, Sterling drifts in from the right and fires in a shot at goal from just inside the area, forcing Bachmann into a save. Watford are all over the place so far.
J. King
Yellow Card
Watford
7' A crunching challenge by King on Laporte sees the Watford striker go into the referee's notebook, as he receives the game's first yellow card.
P. Foden
Assist
Manchester City
4' Offered space and time, Foden whipped in a perfectly paced ball for Sterling to convert.
R. Sterling
Goal
Manchester City
4' CITY GO IN FRONT! Foden receives the ball from Gundogan on the left flank, and he takes his time before crossing precisely to an unmarked Sterling, who applies the finishing touch from close range! Too easy for the champions, as Watford sat off passively and invited them to score: 1-0 to City!
2' CLOSE! Cathcart concedes the first corner of the game, and from the resulting corner, Laporte has a close-range header nodded off the line by Joao Pedro! That was a close escape for the home side.
1' Manchester City get us under way! 
The players are out on the pitch at Vicarage Road, with kick-off just moments away!
City, meanwhile, make five changes to the team that kicked off their win at Aston Villa, as ex-Villan Jack Grealish makes his first club start since early November, after sustaining an injury on international duty. His England colleagues Phil Foden and Kyle Walker both return to the side too, while Aymeric Laporte and Ilkay Gundogan are also brought back into the first XI by Guardiola.
After an impressive showing in the loss to Chelsea in midweek, Watford make just one change to their starting side today, as Danny Rose comes in for the injured Adam Masina at left-back. Therefore, Imran Louza starts again in a defensive midfield role, with Emmanuel Dennis and Brazilian starlet Joao Pedro starting out wide in support of lone striker Josh King.
SUBS: Scott Carson, Zack Steffen, Riyad Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Nathan Ake, Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne, Oleksandr Zinchenko, John Stones.
MANCHESTER CITY (4-3-3): Ederson; Kyle Walker, Aymeric Laporte, Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo; Bernardo Silva, Rodrigo, Ilkay Gundogan; Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling.
SUBS: Robert Elliot, Dan Gosling, Juan Hernandez, James Morris, Ozan Tufan, Christian Kabasele, Jeremy Ngakia, Juraj Kucka, Ashley Fletcher.
WATFORD (4-1-4-1): Daniel Bachmann; Kiko Femenia, Craig Cathcart, William Troost-Ekong, Danny Rose; Imran Louza; Emmanuel Dennis, Tom Cleverley, Moussa Sissoko, Joao Pedro; Joshua King.
Meanwhile, Manchester City left Villa Park with the points on Wednesday, as Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva both struck in the first half and Pep Guardiola's men ultimately held on for a 2-1 win. Victory in the Midlands represented City's sixth consecutive success in all competitions, during which time they have scored at least twice in every game. Indeed, the Premier League title holders have now taken 16 points from the last possible 18 on the road ahead of today's away game.
After a midweek defeat to his former club Chelsea, recently appointed Watford coach Claudio Ranieri has seen his side stay just above the relegation zone, but they now face their second title contender in a matter of days. Yet to keep a clean sheet in the 2021-22 Premier League season, the Hornets welcome the champions to Vicarage Road having leaked 14 goals at home already.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of today's Premier League clash between Watford and reigning champions Manchester City!