Manchester City re-established their five point advantage at the top of the Premier League despite a nervous ending to their 2-1 win over Watford at Vicarage road last night.
With the current champions controlling the game for long periods of time, scoring a goal either side of the break, they had to suffer an uneasy last few minutes as Watford scored a late equaliser and with Hornet’s goal keeper Ben Foster pushing up at every set piece as the home side looked for the equalising goal.
City boss Pep Guardiola made sweeping changes to his starting line up again as he looked to rotate his squad, with Sergio Aguero out injured he decided to bring in a completely new back four from the side that defeated Bournemouth at the weekend, with Captain Vincent Kompany starting alongside England internationals John stone and Kyle Walker. Also returning after being rested at the weekend was Mahrez and David Silva, while Raheem Sterling was given the day off!
The blues had the better of the first half, with only the outstanding foster keeping his side in the game as he twice produced outstanding saves to deny Riyad Mahrez (pictured) and Sane when they were one on one with him and the goal.
It was these two players that combined when City took the lead in the final minutes of the first half, Mahrez sending the ball into the box in the 40th minute for German International Leroy Sane to continue his recent run of form in the City side by hustling the ball over fifth goal in five starts.
With the visitors a goal up at the break, it wasn’t long after the restart when they doubled their lead, this time it was Mahrez on the end of a Gabriel Jesus cross to score at the back post, before Mahrez could have had a second, but another fine save from Foster denied the Algerian international from 20 yards out.
Although they had dominated throughout as the game wore on, City looked to hit cruise control and when Watford scored through Abdoulaye Doucoure with minutes remaining the City defence seemed to lose their confidence and looked unusually flustered as the Hornets pushed for an equaliser.
Speaking after the game City boss Guardiola praised his side’s performance, before suggesting they had lost the killer instinct, which allowed Watford their opportunity!
“We were much the better side – we deserved to win but you have to kill,” Guardiola said.
“It is never over at 2-0, you need the third goal. In the last few minutes they had chances. For five minutes they were better than us. You can never relax in the Premier League, that's why it is nice.”
Manchester City are now five points clear at the top although that could be reduced to two as second place Liverpool play Burnley tonight!