Troy Deeney

Premier League Preview: Man City v. Watford

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  • Manchester City looking to bounce back after stunning loss to Norwich City
  • Watford enjoyed thrilling comeback draw last weekend v. Arsenal
  • Manchester City have won their last 11 meetings with Watford in all competitions, scoring at least twice in each match and 38 times in total. 
  • This will be the fourth managerial meeting between Pep Guardiola and Sanchez Flores but the first in England. Sanchez Flores won the first match as Atletico Madrid manager in February 2010 against Guardiola’s Barcelona.

Coming off the club’s first Premier League in 19 matches last weekend, Manchester City returns home to the friendly confines of the Etihad Stadium to face a team they’re quite familiar with in Watford. (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

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Man City of course obliterated Watford, 6-0, in the FA Cup final last May, but it’s a new Watford with Quique Sanchez Flores in charge. Watford as well looked the best it had all season in the second half of last Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal, though that very easily could have just been because Arsenal’s midfield was non-existent in that half.

In any case, it all shapes up to be an exciting match, especially if new Watford signing Ismalia Sarr can get a start and run at Man City’s makeshift backline. Then again, if Raheem Sterling is back to his usual clinical self, it could be a long afternoon again for the Hornets.

Injuries/suspensions

Manchester City: OUT – Aymeric Laporte (knee), John Stones (thigh), Leroy Sane (knee); QUESTIONABLE – Phil Foden (illness)

Watford: OUT – Craig Cathcart (muscle), Isaac Success (groin), Troy Deeney (knee)


Projected lineups

Manchester City: Ederson – Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Zinchenko – Gundogan, Rodri, Silva – Sterling – Aguero, De Bruyne

Watford: Foster – Femenia, Dawson, Kabasele, Holebas – Capoue, Cleverly, Dacoure – Pereyra, Sarr, Deulofeu

What they’re saying

Pep Guardiola, on striker Gabriel Jesus after his goal in mid-week v. Shakhtar Donetsk: “It’s difficult to find anywhere in the world a striker like Gabriel. The number nine for Brazil, his behaviour in training is outstanding and he has to fight with one of the best strikers I have ever seen in my life in Aguero [for a place in the side]. I will not find a player like Gabriel. To sub Sergio you have to have a top player. I am so delighted with the strikers. When Gabriel plays, he does absolutely everything. Like he did in Ukraine, not just for the goal, he fights and plays.”

Quique Sanchez Flores, on last week’s comeback v. Arsenal: “We have good feelings. We need to make sure we don’t go too much about this match as the next one is completely different. It is not a time to talk about how many shots or how many attempts we had. It is time to be realistic. We still need to change the dynamic – this is the first step and then change for the next opponent.”


Prediction

Manchester City will be ultra focused this weekend to get back to winning ways, and even with a makeshift centerback duo, there’s still more than enough attacking firepower to demolish Watford. The Hornets looked better last week after making the coaching change during the international break, but this will be a step back for Watford.

Man City 3-0 Watford

PL Sunday Preview: Bournemouth hosts Everton; Arsenal visits Watford

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The Premier League’s Matchweek 5 is going to keep on giving, with two matches lined up for Sunday.

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Bournemouth v. Everton — 9 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Following a sluggish start, an up-to-speed Everton, powered by Richarlison, Alex Iwobi and Moise Keane, look to continue on the same path, with similar speed. 

In their first league starts, Keane and Iwobi contributed positively in the Toffees’ three-goal performance against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Couple Marco Silva‘s new arrivals with Richarlison and Gyfi Sigurdson, and the side’s current attacking prowess is what the side desperately needed when the season first kicked off. It now seems like Everton’s lucrative investments on their attack is paying dividends.

With Bournemouth’s defensive struggles in mind, things can be worse than a trip to the southern tip of England for Everton.

Despite a win against Aston Villa earlier this season, injury-ravaged Bournemouth are struggling to stay afloat. In their last three league matches, the Cherries have allowed 18 shots on target, seven goals. The attack isn’t compensating for the lack of defensive stability either, scoring four goals in the team’s five competitive matches this season. 

There is a small silver lining for Eddie Howe and Co. ahead of Sunday, though. Midfielder Lewis Cook, 22, is slated to make his Dean Court return, following a lengthy injury.

INJURIES: Bournemouth —  OUT: David Brooks (ankle), Dan Gosling (hip), Charlie Daniels (knee), Arnaut Danjuma (foot), Junior Stanislas (hamstring); QUESTIONABLE: Simon Francis (knee), Lloyd Kelly (ankle) | Everton  — OUT: Jonas Lössl (calf), Jean-Philippe Gbamin (thigh); QUESTIONABLE: None


Watford v. Arsenal — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

For a second time at Vicarage Road, the Quique Sanchez Flores era is on. 

The 54-year-old’s official return to Watford comes after three years away in Spain and in China. This time, though, the stakes are much higher and the room for error is much slimmer. The table says it all.

With only a point to their name after four bouts, the Hornets are quickly morphing into the league’s bottom dwellers. Will the Spaniard be able to overturn a disastrous defense and a lackluster attack that has only produced two goals? Unlike other teams in the league, Watford’s manager has a nearly-healthy team, and is only a few weeks away from regaining captain Troy Deeney from a knee injury.

That said, there is a stack of work to be done, and taking on Arsenal and Manchester City back-to-back is probably not going to help Watford’s frail state.

Coming in, Arsenal aren’t as feeble as their counterparts, but their confidence (and standing on the table) can use some help, following a loss to Liverpool and a draw to Tottenham in their last two league matches.

The Gunners, who in three weeks will play seven matches, will be without Alexandre Lacazette, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang becomes the team’s lone center-forward option with experience. Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney, too, are not expected to dress on Sunday, although manager Unai Emery hinted that their returns are imminent (a defensive boost, in theory).

Given their far-from-ideal situation, improvement is not something Arsenal are going to shy away from on Sunday against a transitioning and vulnerable Watford.

INJURIES: Watford —  OUT: Troy Deeney (knee); QUESTIONABLE: Craig Cathcart (thigh) | Arsenal  — OUT: Hector Bellerín (knee), Kieran Tierney (groin), Alexandre Lacazette (ankle), Konstantinos Mavropanos (groin); QUESTIONABLE: None

Bernard leads Everton past Watford

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Everton beat Watford 1-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday, as Bernard‘s first half chance was enough to grab all three points for the Toffees.

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The Toffees had chances on the break to seal the deal but had Jordan Pickford to thank as Watford pushed hard for an equalizer.

Marco Silva‘s Everton have four points and two clean sheets from their first two games, while Watford have lost two out of two.


3 things we learned

1. Bernard reminds us of he’s quality: It was the moment which won Everton the game and it was that extra bit of quality we’ve come to expect from Bernard. We haven’t seen it enough over the past 12 months, but he has something Everton’s other attackers don’t have. Walcott, Richarlison and Kean have pace to burn but Bernard’s creativity is key to mixing things up.

2. Watford’s flat start a little concerning: Yes, they looked decent in the second half, but Javi Gracia‘s side just aren’t doing enough to force the issue in games. After getting hammered in the FA Cup final last summer and finishing the season poorly to finish outside of the top 10, Watford have maybe lost a little momentum. Danny Welbeck made his debut and should give them some extra firepower up top, while Sarr will be a good buy long-term.

3. Pickford saves Everton: A fine stop from Pickford in the second half kept Everton in this game and England’s goalkeeper came up big in a big moment. Pickford needs to do that consistently this season if the Toffees are going to finish in the top six. Defensively they’ve got better, but Pickford is key to all of that.

Man of the Match: Jordan Pickford – One fine stop and a calming influence at the back. Big performance from the Everton goalkeeper.


After a bright start Everton took the lead, as a long ball forward found Bernard and the Brazilian winger cut inside and curled home at the near post.

Watford finally woke up and former Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu was popping up to cause the Toffees defense problems. It looked like Yerry Mina took him down in the box but no penalty kick was given.

Etienne Capoue forced Jordan Pickford into a smart save at one end and Richarlison nodded over as Everton should have doubled their lead.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Pickford then denied Troy Deeney with a glorious save after rushing off his line bravely.

Richarlison missed another glorious chance in the second half against his former club as he nodded over, while Watford pushed forward late on for an equalizer.

Moise Kean, making his debut, surged clear but fired over as Everton looked to seal the win.

Abdoulaye Doucoure came close but Everton held on to stay unbeaten and they now have four points from their first two games of the season.

Watford break transfer record to sign Sarr

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Watford have smashed their transfer record to sign exciting Senegalese winger Ismaila Sarr, who has signed a five-year contract at Vicarage Road.

Watch our special Deadline Day show live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com from 11 a.m. ET, right here.

The Hornets are believed to have paid Ligue 1 club Rennes a whopping $35 million for Sarr. The 21-year-old led Rennes to French Cup glory and a deep run in the UEFA Europa League last season, and he stood out at the 2018 World Cup in Russia last summer.

Sarr is a tricky winger who is lethal in the final third and he will strengthen Watford’s attacking options further.

With Gerard Deulofeu and Roberto Pereyra out wide, plus Troy Deeney and Andre Gray up top, Watford boss Javi Gracia has bought in Danny Welbeck on a free transfer this summer and the arrival of Sarr is a huge statement of intent from the Hertfordshire club.

After reaching the FA Cup final last season and being in and around the top seven of the PL for most of the campaign, Watford will be looking to push for European qualification this season.

Sarr’s arrival underlines that ambition.

LIVE, FA Cup Final: Man City v. Watford

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The FA Cup final takes place on Saturday at Wembley Stadium as Manchester City and Watford do battle (kick off, 12 p.m. ET) for the final domestic trophy of the season in England.

[ LIVE: Follow the FA Cup final ]

If Man City and Pep Guardiola win they will secure a historic domestic treble of trophies, becoming the first team in the men’s game to win all three trophies available to English teams in the same season.

But Watford are more than capable of producing a shock win, with Javi Gracia‘s men possessing a solid defensive unit and the likes of Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu in attack who can cause City problems.

Below are the starting lineups from both teams, as Man City start Gabriel Jesus up front with Sergio Aguero on the bench. Watford start Pereyra, Deulofeu and Deeney in attack and Heurelho Gomes starts in goal in what could be his final game as a professional before retirement.

You can click on the link above to follow live updates from the final, while we will have reaction and analysis from Wembley.


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