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Wednesday 23 October 2019

Next up for Manchester City and Liverpool in the Premier League title race

We look at what lies in store for each side next as City host Watford and Liverpool take on Burnley this weekend.

Could Watford provide the next twist in the title race when they travel to Manchester City? (Simon Galloway/PA)
Could Watford provide the next twist in the title race when they travel to Manchester City? (Simon Galloway/PA)

By Andy Hampson, Press Association Sport

Manchester City lead Liverpool by one point with nine games remaining in the Premier League title race.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at what lies in store for each side next as City host Watford and Liverpool take on Burnley this weekend.

Manchester City: v Watford (home), March 9

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Andre Gray scored a late winner when Watford beat Leicester last weekend (Steven Paston/PA)

Form: Watford are enjoying a positive campaign under Javi Gracia. They are eighth in the table, through to the FA Cup quarter-finals and pushing for Europa League qualification. They have lost just two of 12 matches in all competitions in 2019 and won four of their last five. The one major blemish is a 5-0 thrashing at Liverpool just a week ago. Their away form has been mixed all season, with five wins, five draws and five defeats on the road in the Premier League.

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Abdoulaye Doucoure has formed a strong partnership with Etienne Capoue in the Watford midfield (Nigel French/PA)

Likely tactics: Gracia’s 4-4-2 is now considered old fashioned, but it has proved effective. Etienne Capoue and Abdoulaye Doucoure have proved an effective midfield partnership. In defence they are strong, good positionally and adept at breaking up attacks, while they both bring forward drive and can pick passes. Outside them Will Hughes and Roberto Pereyra offer width while, on their day, Gerard Deulofeu, Andre Gray and Troy Deeney are dangerous up front.

Past record v City: Watford certainly have the ingredients to frustrate City but, on past evidence, it could be a tough day. The Hornets have lost all seven of their matches against City since they returned to the top flight in 2015, including 6-0 and 5-0 hammerings. Sergio Aguero has also scored seven times against them in that period.

Liverpool: v Burnley (home), March 10

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Burnley will be looking to bounce back after defeat to Crystal Palace (Nigel French/PA)

Form: Burnley have been re-energised in 2019 and have pulled away from the relegation zone after a dismal first half of the campaign. They head to Anfield after a slight dip in form, however, having lost their last two to Newcastle and Crystal Palace. Their away form has been poor, with just three wins all season but battling displays at Tottenham – who they also beat at home last month – and Manchester United were encouraging.

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Ashley Barnes has been a key man for Burnley up front (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Likely tactics: Sean Dyche’s switch to 4-4-2 early in the calendar year, discarding a back five, helped re-energise the team and prompted their recent eight-match unbeaten run. The return of Tom Heaton in goal has also helped build confidence. The team have found joy by doing the basics well and getting the ball directly to the in-form strike duo of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes. With Peter Crouch another option, Burnley have forwards who can threaten in the air or when running at defences.

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Dyche’s side frustrated Liverpool at Anfield last season (Peter Byrne/PA)

Past record v Liverpool: Burnley have caused Liverpool some problems since they were promoted three years ago. They claimed a shock 2-0 win at Turf Moor in August 2016 and last season they frustrated the Reds by drawing 1-1 at Anfield in a match in which the hosts racked up 35 attempts on goal. They also led when the sides met earlier this season but Liverpool recovered to win 3-1 with three goals in the last half-hour.

PA Media

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