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How the Watford players rated at Manchester City

Heurelho Gomes 6.5

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The captain for the night could not be blamed for either of the goals. He made two first-half saves in quick succession from Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan and another later on from David Silva.

Darryl Janmaat 6

What is it with the luckless Dutchman and head injuries right now? Picked up a cut to the nose yesterday that was bad enough for him to be taken off. He has, remember, only just bravely returned from a deep cut to the head. While he was on the pitch he had his hands full with De Bruyne and only managed to bomb forward once or twice.

Sebastian Prodl 7.5

Another commanding display from the first central defender on the teamsheet these days. The confidence he’s playing with was typified by the way he controlled a lofted second-half pass on his chest and then drilled a crisp pass to Nordin Amrabat. Last season that ball would have been hoofed forward first time. It was a shame he blotted his copybook by making a hash of things, along with Adlene Guedioura, in the build up to the match-clinching second goal.

Miguel Britos 7.5

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Just when you thought age might be creeping up on the Uruguayan and whispers that his legs might have gone he produces an assured performance like this. The timing of his interceptions was first class; he was too good in the air for Nolito and he showed good strength to outmuscle the mountainous Yaya Toure and shepherd the ball out for a goal kick in the first half. He looks much more comfortable in a back four.

Jose Holebas 7

You had to double check he wasn’t booked for an eighth time this season as he was spoken to at least twice by Kevin Friend. It was one of those nights when the Greek left-back was ticking – and he even had a pop at the head coach after the first goal. Yet the covering tackle he made on Nolito, who was driving menacingly at goal after nutmegging Prodl, was the best piece of defending of the whole night and out of the very top drawer.

Adlene Guedioura 5

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Found the going tough against a high-class midfield. Was partly to blame for the goal and the way he fell over, and then held his head in his hands, on 82 minutes kind of summed up his night. He also made two careless second-half back passes that put his team on the back foot. We would like to have seen Ben Watson in there but Mazzarri clearly doesn’t fancy him.

Etienne Capoue 5

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Mazzarri jumped around in frustration in his well-worn technical area after several mis-placed and careless passes from the Frenchman. He really is an infuriating player as he has all the ability in the world, the sort that would not see him out of place in City’s midfield, but he continually fails to stamp his authority on games.

Roberto Pereyra 6.5

He rarely saw the ball at the business end of the field but you’ve just got to admire his willingness to muck in for a defensive shift. He read Raheem Sterling superbly during one first-half move on the edge of the box, making an interception any defender would be proud of. It was no coincidence that Zabaleta gleefully galloped into the space he would no doubt have been covering had he not gone off minutes earlier through injury.

Nordin Amrabat 8

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It looks like turning into a straight shoot-out between him and Prodl for the Player of the Season award. He emptied the tank at the Etihad and was out on his feet by the end. He was digging deep to keep pace with, and then tackle, the fleet-footed Sterling one minute and then delivering an inch-perfect cross, that Odion Ighalo should have buried, the next. He looked equally at home on either flank and was a handful throughout.

Jerome Sinclair 5

He earned a surprise start here after apparently pulling up trees in training. It was a tough ask to make your Premier League debut away at Pep Guardiola’s City and the game largely passed him by. He will, however, have learnt more in 72 minutes here than he has done all season.

Odion Ighalo 6.5

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Yes, he missed the chance of the night and goals are ultimately the currency he’s judged on, but we felt he had a reasonable game. He did the things he usually does poorly well (like linking the play and holding the ball up) yet did the things he usually does well poorly (like finishing). He could have done with not quite catching the ball quite so well from the brilliant cross Amrabat put on a plate for him but that’s just the way things are going for him right now.

Substitutes

Juan Zuniga 6

Starting off on the left but ending up on the right, he was guilty of not being up to speed and allowing Zabaleta to ghost in at the far post and score the opener. He was also involved in some loose first-half play on the edge of the box with Capoue and made one unorthodox second-half clearance with a back flick.

Isaac Success 7.5

Zabaleta will be glad the menacing Nigerian did not start as he gave the vastly experienced Argentine a torrid time in the last half-hour. You were on the edge of the seat every time he picked up the ball and ran at Zabaleta who stopped him in his tracks at least three times.

Troy Deeney 6

Mazzarri made the bizarre claim that naming Deeney on the bench was because he was on four bookings. Well, why bring him on then? Besides, the yellow card amnesty doesn’t kick in until New Year’s Eve so Deeney has two more games yet to keep his nose clean.