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Premier LEague

Man City vs Watford: Match Preview

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Manchester City welcome relegation-threatened Watford at home on Saturday afternoon, as the exciting Premier League action continues.

Manchester City were last in action in the midweek, as they emerged comfortable winners against Brighton and Hove Albion at home, winning 3-0. City were hardly troubled throughout the game, and 3 second-half goals from Riyad Mahrez, Phil Foden, and Bernardo Silva were enough to see them get a very deserved three points. That win sent the Citizens back to the top of the table, with Liverpool briefly occupying that spot thanks to their 4-0 demolition of Manchester United at Anfield on Tuesday evening. Their latest win means Man City have now gone six games unbeaten in the league since last losing to Tottenham Hotspurs back in mid-February. They have just lost one out of their last 12 games in all competitions, showing their immense talent and domination in domestic and European football. They have an outstanding record against Watford, and the blue half of Manchester will be hoping for a similarly comfortable win on Saturday.

Watford comes into this weekend on the back of three straight losses, and a very poor record of just 2 wins in the last 15 league games. Their last game against Brentford was a very thrilling and closely contested match, that most Watford fans will feel unlucky to have lost. A brilliant goal by Emmanuel Dennis from a tight angle levelled the score at Vicarage Road after the Bees had taken the lead. The Hornets had some very good chances to take the lead, Brentford keeper David Raya was forced into some brilliant stops, and the Bees were lucky with Imran Louza shooting wide with the goal at his mercy in the last few minutes. Brentford then went up the other end and scored a last-minute winner through Pontus Jansson as they left Vicarage Road with all three points. Manager Roy Hodgson will have been pleased with the performance, although less so with their failure to kill off the game. The Hornets remain in 19th place after that loss, with the possibility of a miraculous escape from the relegation zone seeming bleaker with every passing game.

WHEN AND WHERE?

Date: Saturday, 23rd April 2022.
Time: 3.00 pm BST
Venue: Etihad Stadium, Manchester.

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Kevin Friend.
Assistants: Adrian Holmes, Simon Beck.
Fourth official: Jonathan Moss.
VAR: Lee Mason.
Assistant VAR: Darren Cann.

TEAM NEWS

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Manchester City were without Kyle Walker against Brighton, making it the second game he has missed since his early substitution in the Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid. He is a slight doubt for Saturday but is expected to make the bench and be fit in time for the game. Ruben Dias returned to action for the first time since his time on the sidelines, as he replaced Nathan Ake at the break in the midweek. It remains to see if he is put straight back into the starting 11 by Pep Guardiola. There are no other injury concerns for the Citizens, and Guardiola will hope it stays that way at the end of the weekend, as they enter a very crucial period of their season.

Watford forward Cucho Hernandez was omitted from the squad against Brentford, with the Colombian picking up an injury against Leeds United, and was replaced by Emmanuel Dennis in the starting lineup. Reports suggest that the Colombian forward is set to be out until the final stages of the season. Samuel Kalu also missed out last weekend with a minor ankle injury along with William Trost-Ekong and Francisco Sierralta who are both nursing injuries. The trio is a doubt for the game and are unlikely to make the starting 11 against the defending Champions.

MATCH ANALYSIS

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Manchester City have dominated Watford in every game they have played against each other in recent times. The Hornets have had no answer to the quality and talent of the Citizens, with the score-line more often than not showing the vast gulf between the two sides. Watford have lost the last 14 games against Man City in all competitions, and Pep Guardiola and Co. will look to break a long-standing record of being the first English team in history to win 15 consecutive games against an opponent.

However, that record will not be the crowd-puller, with the Citizens currently locked in an edge-of-the-seat battle with Merseyside rivals Liverpool for the Premier League title. City are chasing their 7th Premier League title, while the Reds are chasing a record-equaling 20th league title. Watford could well play a huge role in that battle on Saturday, surprising the giants and getting a result that could tilt the league title towards Merseyside.

Watford have undoubtedly had a very poor season, and now faces the possibility of spending yet another year in the second tier of English football. They are 7 points from safety, and with just 6 games left to play, their fate has been almost sealed. Manager Roy Hodgson could take heart from the fact that the Hornets produced a battling performance in their last game, and Watford fans will be hoping to see some fight again in a game that no one expects the Hornets to win.

Manchester City, on the other hand, cannot afford to get complacent. Watford are an easy opponent, but in football and especially Premier League, even the smallest of teams have the ability to shock the biggest. Pep Guardiola will only be too well aware of the fact, and he will no doubt field a strong team. City attackers will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing such a weak defense, and the likes of Riyad Mahrez- who is in very good form at the moment- will be raring to go again.

KEY PLAYERS

Kevin de Bruyne

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The Belgian playmaker has not been at his very best as we have seen over the past few seasons, with injuries and coronavirus hampering his start to the Premier League season. However, de Bruyne has performed when it matters for City, scoring in big games against the top six clubs. KDB has scored twice against Liverpool, twice against United and once against Chelsea. He has been Pep Guardiola’s most reliable player in recent years, and with 11 goals and 4 assists, this season has proved he can be there for the team even when he’s not in his best form. He was on hand to provide an assist for Bernardo Silva’s goal in the midweek against Brighton in otherwise quiet performance. De Bruyne has a brilliant record against Watford, scoring 2 goals and providing 8 assists against them in 9 games so far. He will be the man to look out for again on Saturday.

Emmanuel Dennis

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Emmanuel Dennis was signed in the summer of 2021 from Club Brugge and has shown promise in his very first season with the Hornets in the top flight of English football. The Nigerian forward has scored 10 goals and provided 5 assists in 30 appearances in the league so far, top-scoring for Watford by some distance. He is also their joint-highest assist provider, which highlights his importance to the club. Still only 24, he has a very bright future ahead of him, and there is no doubt there will be a few clubs in for him in the summer if Watford are relegated. He scored a goal last weekend against Brentford, and he has certainly done enough to warrant another start on Saturday. A real menace on the break, City defenders will need to keep an eye out for him.

PREDICTED LINEUPS

Man City predicted XI: Ederson; Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, John Stones, Oleksandr Zinchenko; Kevin de Bruyne, Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan; Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva, Jack Grealish.

Watford predicted XI: Ben Foster; Kiko Femenia, Christian Kabasele, Samir, Hassane Kamara; Moussa Sissoko, Imran Louza, Tom Cleverley; Ismaila Sarr, Josh King, Emmanuel Dennis.

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Manchester City’s midfield pair that make them tick (and it’s not Kevin De Bruyne)












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Aurelien Tchouameni

Aurélien Tchouaméni agrees transfer terms with Liverpool but Reds face fight to seal deal

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Liverpool News: Aurélien Tchouaméni of France has agreed to terms with Liverpool after talks with the English club.

However, the highly-rated midfielder has claimed that he will take many days to finalise his decision after also agreeing in principle to the same deal with Real Madrid.

As a result, Liverpool is concerned about their chances of signing the Monaco midfielder. The club insiders feels that Real Madrid might be the preferred destination for the midfielder.

Liverpool appeared to be in control after a spirited pursuit of Tchouaméni. The midfielderhas eight caps for France and is regarded as a rising talent in his homeland.

Liverpool News: How is the saga unfolding?

Liverpool News: Aurélien Tchouaméni agrees transfer terms with Liverpool but Reds face fight to seal deal

READ MORE: Watch, Angel Di Maria gets emotional, receives a guard of honour in his last game for PSG

Following the collapse of their pursuit of PSG attacker Kylian Mbappe, Madrid have emerged as frontrunners. After being offered a lucrative new deal for over £1 million per week and a £100 million signing on fee, Mbappe chose to stay in Paris.

Madrid were unable to meet Mbappe’s expectations when they agreed to such a high price to bring him to the Bernabeu. However, that deal has fallen through now, they have the funds to dramatically enhance their offer.

After rejecting a rival offer from PSG, Tchouaméni is thought to be ‘almost certain’ to join the Spanish champions.

The midfielder is happy with Liverpool and its manager, Jurgen Klopp, and he wants to be a part of the club. According to sources in France, he has negotiated agreements with both teams and will decide between them by the end of the week.

After the Mbappe deal fell through, Madrid is now the frontrunner.

READ MORE: Watch, Pep Guardiola gets emotional at the touch line during the final whistle

Mbappe was the player that Real Madrid wanted badly. Los Blancos did everything in their power to bring the Frenchman but the deal fell through. This means that the Spanish giants now have the funds to go all out for signing the dynamic midfielder from Monaco.

Tchouaméni is said to be ‘nearly certain’ to join the Spanish champions after rejecting a rival offer from PSG.

The midfielder is happy with the Reds manager and the entire team. The midfielder is considering Liverpool as he sees the club as a great option. And sources in France stated that he had agreed terms with both clubs. He will inform them about his decision before the end of the week.

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Given Madrid’s increased interest, Liverpool is willing to look elsewhere. Klopp is looking to strengthen his defensive midfield alternatives.





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Premier LEague

Fulham looking to sign Neco Williams in a permanent deal

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Neco Williams have returned to Anfield, after spending a successful short loan spell at the Craven Cottage.

In the 4 months that he spent there, the Welsh right back grew popular among the fans, and the teammates alike. Although Silva’s men already had been blowing apart teams in the Championship, the Liverpool loanee just added to the firepower. How well he settled with his new teammates, it is something to gloat about if you are a Red yourself.

We have already seen the likes of Jurgen Klopp, raining praises for his 21-year-old “backup” fullback. But this time it was Silva who was mesmerized by the fullback’s ability to control the right channel- be it for nailing down the passes, or stopping the opposition’s runners to making forward moves.

Meanwhile, the young boy has done himself enough proud and deserves all the plaudits. In 14 games for the Cottagers, Williams has assisted 2 goals and has scored twice as well. He has been one of the key players for Silva’s side, in their Championship winning campaign.

What is being reported?

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According to the multiple reports, it is being reported that the West Londoners are impressed with the Welshman, and they want to lure the player for a move away from Anfield. There are a few main reasons surrounding the whole scenario.

Firstly, given how well Neco Williams has faired it will be a crime for him to be benched, or to be played as a second to Trent. But Liverpool, surely, have got their hands tied there- seeing Trent’s rise across the whole of Europe. Next reason is another one pushing Neco away, the Reds are targeting the Scottish wonder boy as a backup to Trent. Calvin Ramsay, from Aberdeen, has been heavily linked with the Reds over the past few weeks- making it ever so clear in the Neco William saga.

Verdict

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From Liverpool’s point of view, as well as from Neco’s perspective, it will be a good move. It will not be an easy goodbye, but one that will help both the parties going forward- given the Reds have also confirmed a move for Carvalho from the Cottagers.

Meanwhile Silva’s Fulham, in their bid to stay in the top flight, could strike a bargain for a player of Neco’s abilities and prowess. Last summer the Welshman was worth £10 million, according to the reports. So, the Whites would not have to overspend to make his move permanent.

Overall, it should be a good move – seeing Neco can finally get the game time, Fulham security in the form of a good right back, and Liverpool could get funds to lure players like Clavin Ramsay into the fore.












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Aston Villa

Boubacar Kamara completes Aston Villa transfer after snubbing interest from Premier League and La Liga clubs

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Premier League News: Aston Villa has signed Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara, beating out Premier League and La Liga clubs.

After stating he would not be signing an extension at the Stade Velodrome, the 22-year-old was available on a free transfer. United and Atletico Madrid had been connected with Kamara in the past. However, Steven Gerrard’s side have now confirmed that he has signed a five-year contract with Villa Park.

I am thrilled that we have been able to attract one of Europe’s most promising young talents,” Gerrard stated. We have a very clear plan to strengthen our squad, and Bouba is a key component of that.”

Kamara was just called up to the French national squad for the first time. He claimed that working with the renowned former Liverpool captain was an easy option.

Premier League News: What did Kamara say?

Premier League News: Boubacar Kamara completes Aston Villa transfer after snubbing interest from Premier League and La Liga clubs

READ MORE: Watch, Pep Guardiola gets emotional at the touch line during the final whistle

“I knew Aston Villa was for me after meeting with Steven, Christian, and Johan in my home. Their ambition and drive to succeed are similar to me. He told the club’s official website, “I can’t wait for pre-season to start.”

Kamara joins Philippe Coutinho, who has already signed for the ambitious Midlands club. The club is trying to challenge for European spots next season after flirting with relegation this season.

Any fears about sliding into the Championship were swiftly dispelled when Gerrard arrived. The former Rangers manager led them to a comfortable 14th place finish.

United need a Central Defensive Midfielder

READ MORE: Watch, Angel Di Maria gets emotional, receives a guard of honour in his last game for PSG

United’s need for a defensive centre midfielder is obvious, with the impending departures of Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba further depleting an already thin position.

Ralf Rangnick’s terrible spell as interim manager came to an end with a defeat at Crystal Palace on the penultimate day, and he told new manager Erik ten Hag that he will need to buy players to restore harmony at a fractured Old Trafford.

Ten Hag will be officially introduced as United’s new manager on Sunday, and Rangnick has instructed him exactly who he has to sign in his first window in charge.

What did Rangnick say?

“There is a problem with team spirit. “I believe this team might benefit from more cohesion and unity on the field,” the German explained.

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“It’s also critical that when we think about new players – when the board and the manager think about new players – that we make sure they’re not only guys with the ability to strengthen the squad, but also players who will invest in the team spirit.”





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