herald

Monday 16 January 2017

Guardiola's cloud has a Silva lining at Etihad

Manchester city 2 Watford 0

Manchester City's David Silva in action with Watford's Nordin Amrabat
Manchester City's David Silva in action with Watford's Nordin Amrabat

Pablo Zabaleta's first goal for two years and a late David Silva strike fired Manchester City to a much-needed - but unconvincing - 2-0 win over Watford.

Defender Zabaleta struck from close range after 33 minutes of a dull Premier League contest at the Etihad Stadium with Silva wrapping up victory four minutes from time.

Raheem Sterling also hit the bar but City lacked spark throughout and Silva's goal came just moments after Odion Ighalo spurned a good chance to equalise.

But after a disappointing run, the result earned City some relief. It was their first win in four games and their first at home in the league for almost three months.

Their clean sheet - a first in nine games - was also welcomed and came after manager Pep Guardiola left defender John Stones on the bench. That changed just after the half-hour as De Bruyne produced some nice touches on the left and then delivered a deep cross for the inrushing Zabaleta to turn home at the back post.

City might have then looked to move through the gears but their momentum was halted by an ankle injury to Ilkay Gundogan. The midfielder left the field visibly upset just before the interval.

By this time, Watford had also been forced into a change with Roberto Pereyra having hurt himself landing awkwardly and limped off moments later.

City finally wrapped up the points late on after Silva robbed Adlene Guedioura and released Sterling before taking a return pass and clipping home.

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