Manchester City are prepared to face off with Watford in the fourth round of the FA Cup. As you'd expect, the Sky Blues are overwhelming favorites against the Championship side, which faces an extremely daunting task at the Etihad.
City are riding a prolonged hot streak, including a current five-match winning streak, and have been virtually unstoppable at home. Their last defeat came all the way back in early November, against Sunderland of all sides.
On the flip side, Watford sit in the middle of the Championship table and have just one win in their last five matches. It showcases exactly how monumental of an upset it would be if they could emerge with a victory over City on the road.
With that in mind, let's check out all of the important information for the cup clash, followed by a breakdown of City's tremendous form at home and a match prediction.
What's your prediction for the FA Cup match?
Where: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England
When: Saturday, Jan. 25 at 10 a.m. ET/3 p.m. GMT
Watch: SiTV (No television coverage in U.S.)
Live Stream: Fox Soccer 2Go
Match Odds (via Bovada)
Manchester City: -1,200
Top Storyline: Will City put together another dazzling home display?
City enter the match as gigantic favorites—and rightfully so. Yet manager Manuel Pellegrini knows Watford will be extremely motivated and stressed that his side must continue to play their attacking style to make sure they advance to the next round, as noted by the club's official site:
We try to continue to play our attacking style throughout the season. There may be games we don't score so many [goals] but we won't be changing our style and will continue our philosophy.
Watford may not be having a great season in the Championship but they will be motivated when they play us because this is the FA Cup and they will want to beat a Premier League side.
It's the right tone from the long-time coach. It would be very easy for City to look past this match in the midst of a busy schedule, turning it into more of a struggle to advance than it should be. It's important for them to maintain their terrific form.
The Sky Blues have been particularly impressive at home. In league play, they are 11-0-0 with 42 goals scored and just eight allowed at the Etihad. If they play that level of football against Watford, the underdogs will have no chance.
City will have to do it without a couple key players, though. BBC Radio Manchester passed along word David Silva and Alvaro Negredo will both sit out the fixture:
Manchester City's David Silva won't play v Watford as precaution,has slight hamstring,Negredo needs week to recover unclear if fit for Spurs— BBC Radio Manchester (@bbcradiomanc) January 24, 2014
It's a positive sign for Watford because their only hope at the outset is playing their strongest defensive game possible and hope it's still close in the second half. City missing two key attacking players obviously helps that effort.
That said, City feature plenty of depth, with Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko likely to carry a little extra of the attacking burden. Of course, it doesn't seem to matter what lineup they use at home, the goals just keep coming in bunches.
Anything less than another high-scoring effort would be a surprise.
Pellegrini is right when he says Watford will be motivated. Unfortunately for the Hornets, they are likely to find out pretty quickly that effort only goes so far when going up against a club with as much talent as City, especially on the road.
City might get off to somewhat of a sluggish start without Silva and Negredo, but even if it's close at halftime, they should pull away in the second half. Expect another strong performance as they keep another trophy hope alive.
Manchester City 4, Watford 0