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Mahrez starts; Laporte on bench

REACTION: A word from Aymeric Laporte after City's 1-0 win over Spurs.

REACTION: A word from Aymeric Laporte after City's 1-0 win over Spurs.

Aymeric Laporte has recovered from a muscle injury and is on the bench after a two-game absence.

Pep Guardiola makes two enforced changes to his starting XI this afternoon with Vincent Kompany and Mahrez deputising for injured duo John Stones and Kevin De Bruyne.

City line-up:

Ederson, Walker, Kompany (c), Otamendi, Zinchenko, Gundogan, D Silva, Bernardo, Mahrez, Sterling, Aguero

Subs: Muric, G Jesus, Laporte, Foden, Danilo, Delph, Sane

READ: City v Watford: Talking Points

READ: When Watford tried to gatecrash the Keegan party

Formation: 4-3-3

No tactical upheavals are expected this afternoon.

Ilkay Gundogan will continue to fill in for the injured Fernandinho while Mahrez and Sterling will provide wing support for Sergio Aguero.


BLUE HEAVEN: Riyad Mahrez celebrates with his City team-mates after his crucial goal



Blues look to move clear

A win over Watford will move the Blues four points clear of Liverpool ahead of the Merseysiders clash with Burnley tomorrow afternoon.

The champions are well aware of the value of pressurising rivals and ensuring they go out knowing they have to win to keep on City’s shoulder.

That in itself can lead to added tension and lead to mistakes – the Blues can ill-afford to drop points against the Hornets as doing so risks handed the momentum back to Liverpool.


STRIKE ONE: Leroy Sane beats Ben Foster for our opener



Watford 1 City 2: Extended highlights

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Home comforts

Take away the Crystal Palace defeat and City’s home record is pretty impressive.

The Blues have won 14 of 15 home matches this season, scoring 50 goals at an average better than three goals per game.

With only four of the last nine games at the Etihad, it goes without saying that Pep Guardiola will expect maximum points on home turf from now until the final game of the campaign.

Do that and City will be at least halfway to retaining the title.


GAME-CHANGER: Bernardo won a penalty moments after coming on as a sub v West Ham


Stats and milestones

City have won the last seven meetings against Watford with an aggregate of 22-3.

The Hornets haven’t beaten the Blues in their last 14 meetings – a run stretching back to 1989.

City are on a fantastic run of form, winning 16 out of the last 17 matches, keeping 11 clean sheets in the process.

Aguero is the scourge of Watford having bagged 10 goals in his last six matches against them – two of which were hat-tricks.

Mahrez also has a fine record against Watford and has scored in his last six Premier League appearances against them

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