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Why Man City ending their away drought at Watford is no certainty

| 01.01.2016

It’s been over three months since Manchester City picked up three points on the road in the league, and as they head into 2016 in third place in the table, it would be dangerous to assume that it will definitely end on Saturday.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men head to Vicarage Road to take on a Watford side that find themselves just two points behind Crystal Palace and a Europa League spot, chalked up as 4/6 favourites.

At the start of the 2015-16 season, The Hornets found themselves a similar price (8/11) to face the drop come May to the 7/10 on offer that City would simply manage a top-two finish, but such has been the unpredictable nature of the Premier League, there is far less to choose between the two at this stage.

It has been the Citizens’ lacklustre form on the road can be attributed as one of the main reasons they are not currently occupying top-spot.

As well as failing to win in their last seven Premier League away outings, they have only found the back of the net once in their last five away from the sanctuary of the Etihad Stadium.

Scoring goals is not something that has been a problem for their hosts of late though, with Quique Sanchez Flores’ team netting nine in their last five matches in front of their own fans.

That is a stark contrast to the solitary strike netted in their opening five top-flight fixtures at Vicarage Road, with the duo of Odion Ighalo and Troy Deeney leading the line.

The former has now scored seven goals in his last six matches, with at least one in each of that sextet meaning he is the next man to get half-way to Jamie Vardy’s new-found record.

Strike partner Deeney took a little while longer to warm up but he himself has scored six goals in his last 10 matches, clarifying that it’s not all about one man in Hertfordshire.

The duo are 21/20 and 5/2 to bag anytime respectively, and it is likely that if the hosts are to get anything from the match, one of them will be on the scoresheet.

The duo of Ighalo and Deeney have been in stunning form lately

The duo of Ighalo and Deeney have been in stunning form lately

The Hornets have proved that they can mix it with some of the big boys on their own patch this season, securing a comprehensive victory over Liverpool and claiming a point against Chelsea.

Even their defeat to Tottenham on Monday had an air of bad luck about it, as Ben Watson’s corner was cleared off the line before Spurs went up the other end to nick the winner in the dying embers of the game.

Perform like they have done in the past month and the hosts are more than capable of giving the title contenders something to think about, especially when they are missing a vital cog in their machine.

Vincent Kompany spent less than 10 minutes on the pitch in City’s 4-1 victory over Sunderland and looks set for another lengthy spell on the sidelines.

The Belgian’s presence in the centre of defence has been vital for much of his side’s success this season, guiding them to victory in seven of the nine matches that he has featured this team.

Compare that with the four wins in the 10 matches that he has been absence and it is obvious the two-time Premier League winners miss their captain immensely.

If you are still convinced they will see off a high-flying Watford side in the manner that the odds suggest, it could pay to back Ladbrokes’ price boost for the match.

Sergio Aguero hasn’t scored in his last five appearances for City, so expect him to be desperate to get back on the scoresheet here, making the 7/4 (from 6/4) that he nets in an away win a more attractive proposition than the straight up City win.

That being said, even if the Argentine is on form, Watford are more than capable of taking points off their visitors.

With the game being shown live on Sky Sports 1 Ladbrokes will pay out at double the odds should your First Goalscorer selection open the scoring in the first 20 minutes of the match. For full T&Cs please click here.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.