Heurelho Gomes 8
Made two brilliant saves to thwart two identical grass-cutters from Kevin De Bruyne, the second after a one-two with David Silva eclipsing the first. The best of the lot was probably the close-range range one from Fernandinho he bravely blocked with his body. He was powerless to prevent either of the goals but one wayward goal kick did lead to a first-half shooting chance for Sergio Aguero.
Allan Nyom 6
City sought a route back into the game down his side in the second period, suggesting that is where Manuel Pellegrini identified a weak link. He rattled Raheem Sterling’s cage early on by pinning the England winger to the floor but he should really have got tighter to Craig Cathcart for Aguero’s goal, allowing too much space for the Argentine to ghost into and produce a prodigious leap.
Jose Holebas 8
Rarely, if ever, can Watford have had two such high-class options at left-back. His last three matches in a Watford shirt have been against Chelsea and Manchester City, twice. They don’t come much tougher than that yet he has stepped up on each occasion, particularly in the last two. He showed some nifty footwork, a willingness to get forward, an eye for a pass and a willingness to keep pace with Raheem Sterling early in the second half.
Craig Cathcart 6
Shepherded Aguero away from danger twice in the first half, staying on his feet when the Argentine was willing him to dive in. But he will not need us to tell him he afforded Aguero far too much space to head in a cross from Bacary Sagna. He should not be outjumped by someone of Aguero’s size. He’s played every minute of every game. We’d give Sebastian Prödl a run against Newcastle United in the FA Cup.
Miguel Britos 7.5
Terrific, again. A welcome tackle on Jesus Navas caught the eye as did a cool header over the bar from a Kolarov cross. Strong in the air, composed on the floor and got rid when he needed to.
Ben Watson 7
More than held his own in high-class midfield company. Perhaps guilty of not screening the back four enough as City chased a route back into the game but had a lot of ground to cover with Etienne Capoue playing a more advanced role. Showed wonderful technique to have Joe Hart scrambling across his line to keep out a sweetly-struck half volley early in the second half.
Etienne Capoue 8
Average against Tottenham but exceptional here. You knew he was on song when he nutmegged Nicolas Otamendi on the right-hand edge of the penalty box early on. Repeated the trick in a more central area in the second half as he engineered a shooting chance that would have brought the house down had it gone in. Class act.
Almen Abdi 7
Knitted the play together wonderful well with short, give and go passes and, yet again, worked his socks off. Unleashed an early shot from a Jurado pass and then turned architect soon after to send Deeney charging into the penalty area. The sight of him launching into a tackle to fell the giant Yaya Toure showed the dimension Sanchez Flores has added to his game.
Jose Manuel Jurado 8
Confirmation, if any were needed, that he is a classy operator. Fooled Yaya Toure, of all people, with a drag back and then embarrassed Kevin De Bruyne with a similar trick. He isn’t just a show pony, though. Jurado links defence and attack so cleverly and is the go-to player when Watford want to slow the game down and give the defence some respite. His ability to retain the ball was missed when he went off.
Troy Deeney 6.5
His herculean second-half effort against Spurs took it’s toll here and no wonder. Gave the ball away surprisingly frequently and was not the driving force he usually is, particularly at home. Teed up Ighalo for an early chance, as he so often does, and felt he was impended by Kolarov when he burst into the box but it was probably the other way round.
Odion Ighalo 7
An absolute handful, again. He doesn’t look the most strapping of strikers but he punches way above his weight and bullied Mangala and Otamendi here. Some stats placed Otamendi as the best performing centre-back in Europe this season but Ighalo left him for dead in one first-half move. The Nigerian had one chance in either half you’d have expected him to bury but, it seems, he is human after all.
Adlene Guedioura 6
Watford had not lost this season when he had been on the pitch but that run is now over. The fans rejoiced when it was the Algerian who got the nod to replace Jurado but, on reflection, it probably should have been Valon Behrami who was summoned to help screen the back four.