Roy Hodgson predicts ‘unpopular’ Watford can rock Man City and Liverpool title race
With just one point separating City and Liverpool in this year’s Premier League title race, the Blues can ill afford a slip-up in their remaining six matches with Jurgen Klopp’s side breathing down their neck.
That run-in starts on Saturday, with Watford’s visit to the Etihad Stadium presenting Pep Guardiola’s side with the perfect chance to open up a four point gap and pile the pressure ahead of Liverpool’s Merseyside derby clash on Sunday. Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Hornets boss Roy Hodgson — who has enjoyed 47 years as a manager, including a spell at Anfield — has been discussing what it would mean to cause an upset and get a result at the Etihad Stadium.
Hodgson joked: “Pep didn’t speak to me for a long while after Palace managed to steal a win up there and if we get a win this time, he will probably never speak to me again!”
The 74-year-old is referring to a game during the 2018/19 season, where his Crystal Palace team stunned the reigning champions with a 3-2 victory. Andros Townsend scored a stunning volley in that game, which marked the beginning of a winter period struggle for the Blues.
“What we’re going to do is try to make ourselves unpopular.” Hodgson added. “If we want to make ourselves popular with Pep, the City crowd and everyone else, all we do is go hell for leather to try to win the game and match them at their own game.
“At least 99 percent of people, certainly those who work in football, know that is a recipe for disaster. We need to give their play the respect it deserves and to make certain we make life as difficult for them as we possibly can.”
In the reverse fixture earlier this season, City strolled to a 3-1 win at Vicarage Road courtesy of a brace from Bernardo Silva and a goal from Raheem Sterling. Guardiola will be hoping for a repeat performance in this fixture and will want no complacency during a crucial period in the run-in.
Watford themselves are desperate for a run of form and have found themselves scrapping at the bottom of the table. With Burnley and Everton both picking up positive results in midweek, any form of points at the Etihad Stadium would be a huge confidence boost with limited time to retain their Premier League status.