History was only in part allowed to repeat itself this evening as Watford gave the reigning Premier League champions one of the best games that they have had all season.
Losing 2-1, the Hornets should be proud of their performance and the clear improvement that they have made since last year’s 6 nil thumping at home.
With an unbeaten run this season, it was no surprise that Manchester City were quickest out of the blocks in the first half.
However, it was Roberto Pereyra who created the first big chance of the game, firing just wide of the post in the eighth minute.
Man of the match Ben Foster was the stand-out performer tonight and if it were not for his heroics in goal, the Hornet’s would no doubt have lost by four or five.
Foster was called into action on numerous occasions and prevented a Leroy Sane effort on goal in the tenth minute, before making a triple save to keep City from scoring in the 18th and a wonder stop with his legs, keeping out Gabriel Jesus in the 30th minute.
Watford skipper Troy Deeney won’t want to see back his miss in the 31st minute, a shot that was destined for goal but intercepted by a wonderful Ederson save, stretching his leg to prevent the ball finding the net.
It wasn’t long before the break that Pep Guardiola’s side had what was a deserved opener, as Sane did what he does best in the 39th minute, pouncing whilst left unmarked, slotting the ball calmly through Fosters legs.
That lead doubled shortly after the break as ten minutes after the first, the team in light blue had a second. It was a fast and efficient counter led by Jesus, who found a composed Riyad Mahrez who eventually found the net for the visitors.
The goal didn’t sit well with Watford and an Andre Gray substitution with 15 minutes left was no doubt the turning point for Gracia’s side. A string of chances, and arguably some luck at the back with Jesus missing another one-on-one, led to Abdoulaye Doucouré firing home for Watford in the 84th minute.
It really was like a game of pinball in the build up to the Frenchman’s goal, the midfielder being the one to get the crucial touch.
A spell of pressure was displayed by Watford with ten minutes to go, however defensive changes and a strong City side meant that the Golden Boys had no way of finding an equaliser.
Picture courtesy of Watford FC