Premier League

Manchester City-Watford Preview

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insisted his side "must be careful" when they travel to Watford as he hailed Claudio Ranieri's work in football.

City are just a point behind leaders Chelsea, who edged out the champions' next opponents in their last game on Wednesday.

Guardiola's side recorded a 2-1 win over Aston Villa, but – despite a six-game winning streak across all competitions – the Spaniard called for caution ahead of the trip to Vicarage Road.

"I know what (Watford) want to do, and what they do, they do really well," Guardiola told reporters at Friday's pre-match news conference. "Against United they played well, against Chelsea they did a really good game. They are close results. Against Leicester they lost but had more chances. Every game is there. We have to be careful tomorrow and do another good performance."

"Football has to be grateful to still live with important people like Claudio Ranieri," he added. "What he has done in his career is amazing, Leicester is the benchmark. "(He's worked) in Spain, Italy, France – I admire this type of person. What they have done, have the passion, energy to go there."

Watford are only three points above the relegation zone, though Ranieri assured he was not thinking about the January transfer window yet.

"It is too early to speak about it now," Ranieri said. "In December there are a lot of matches and we started with Chelsea - there are another six matches and if I need something more, I can ask the chairman.

"I don't want to buy a player just to bring someone in, if somebody comes it's because they can help my group. My team is not panicking. They know what good they can do, they work hard to achieve what we deserve."

Watford – Emmanuel Dennis

Dennis has scored in each of his last three Premier League appearances – the only Hornets players to score in four in a row in the competition are Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney, who both did so across November and December 2015.

Manchester City – Bernardo Silva

Silva has scored four goals in his last seven Premier League appearances for Manchester City - as many as in his previous 55 games in the competition.

Man City have lost just two of their last 21 Premier League away games (W17 D2), going unbeaten in each of their last six on the road (W5 D1). Since Pep Guardiola's first season in charge (2016-17), Man City have won more away games (72) and away points (227) than any other side in the Premier League.

Man City boss Pep Guardiola has won all nine of his meetings with Watford in all competitions, by an aggregate score of 39-3. Against no side does the Spaniard have a better 100% win rate in his managerial career (also 9/9 vs Bournemouth).

Man City's Raheem Sterling has been directly involved in 12 goals in just eight appearances against Watford in all competitions (10 goals, 2 assists). Only against Bournemouth (11) has Sterling scored more goals in his senior club career than he has against the Hornets.

Watford have lost 19 of their 26 league games against reigning top-flight champions (73% - W4 D3), the highest loss rate of any side to have played at least 20 such games in English top-flight history.

Having already beaten Manchester United, Watford are looking to defeat both Manchester United and Manchester City in a single league season for the first time since 1986-87 in the top-flight.

Updated December 3, 2021

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