• Karel L.

City beats Watford and now leads the Premier League

After a comfortable win for Manchester City against Watford, the Citizens now lead the Premier League with 35 points.

The analysis

From the start, when the line-ups were announced, it seemed that we had the advantage in some way, and despite the fact that this league can be very competitive and many surprises can happen, the XI players that City had on the pitch were already showing an indescribable solidity.

An example of this is that Rodri returned to his position as a defensive midfielder and Laporte returned to central defense after being suspended for a game.

In addition to the previously mentioned, something that caught my attention and made me very happy was the fact that Raheem was being given continuity and confidence, because although it is true that Gabriel has also played some very good games, today we need the English winger to regain his self-confidence, which he seems to have been doing little by little.

To be honest, at this point it is perhaps a bit tiring to read about the approach of opposing teams because they all seem to do the same thing, and in this case, Watford was no exception.

The home side put Sissoko in midfield along with Cleverley to have good recovery (or at least try to) and also to send long balls forward for their strikers.

Now, talking about the match, something that I liked a lot and that I think characterizes our team very well is the ability of the strikers to occupy any position without any problem.

Jack started as a false 9 while Phil was moving on both sides, and the fact is that by rotating the defenders do not know very well who to defend, proof of this is that Sterling appeared to score the goal without anyone in his way.

In addition to this, I would also like to highlight that this is the first time we have seen serious work in the corner kicks, there were many movements and so many spaces were generated that gave the opportunity to several players (as was the case of Laporte on 2 or 3 occasions) to appear completely alone.

It is also fair to talk about Cancelo because the Portuguese defender does not lose a single hand to hand, anyone who tries to win on counterattack is going to find himself in front of him and the reality is that the chances of beating him are very low.

In addition to this, Rodri is living his best moment since he arrived in Manchester, he feels comfortable in that position and knows he is superior all the time because of the security that having Rúben and Laporte at the back and Gundogan helping up front gives him.

It's also time to talk a bit about how well Grealish did. Let's remember that this has not been an easy season for him and yet today he showed a lot of security, he was calm, he always asked for the ball and was not afraid to shoot from long distances, which against this kind of teams that accumulate a lot of people in their own box is a very good option.

Moving on to another subject, it is impressive how this team has the ability to always find an available teammate. The opposing team, for many moments, did not even see where the ball was, in fact, it looked like we were playing with one more player for most of the game.

At a certain point, the home side adjusted their approach and in order not to concede more goals they started to isolate Foden and keep a closer eye on Jack, which somehow made City not have the same intensity they had during the first half.

Now, I think it's fair to mention that despite the win and the lead, not everything is rosy, there are also some negative points that need to be discussed.

One of the main problems with this team is that at times we played so well that we relaxed, and in games like against Villa that had us tense for the last few minutes, then in this game, we gave Watford the opportunity to get close and grow in confidence.

Key moments

This match was marked by 3 key moments that determined the course of the game.

- 4 ' Sterling's goal: From my point of view this was fundamental because opening the score so early, especially against this kind of opponents, is very important. By scoring a goal in the 4th minute we forced them to break their strategy of holding on as long as possible and that helped more goals to come.

- 63' Bernardo's second goal: This moment was crucial not only for the quality of the goal but also for the moment in which it arrived. During these minutes Watford regained their confidence, so going down 0-3 ended up sinking them for a few minutes.

- 78’ King's missed chance: At this point in the game, when the score was 1-3, conceding a second goal would have been very dangerous, so King's miss when he anticipated everyone in defense was a huge relief.

Players of the Match

From my point of view, this was another game where Sterling stood out from the rest of the team, I say this because he gave a lot of continuity and fluidity to City's play, he also kept moving on the sides, creating chances and shooting at goal.