Watford found itself in the relegation zone in the wake of Nigel Pearson’s surprise sucking as Raheem Sterling hammered an inspiring win to Manchester City.
Watford’s defeat coupled with Aston Villa’s win over Arsenal on Tuesday evening means the Hornet’s battle to stay up will go to the final day of the season on Sunday when they visit Arsenal.
Nigel Pearson became Watford’s third managerial casualty to be axed out in the 2019/20 campaign leaving under-23 coach Hayden Mullins and his assistant Graham Stack in charge of their final two games.
The two could hardly have had a tougher first assignment than City who completed the double over them with their win.
The England International, Raheem Sterling took to praise before half-time when he fired in a rising shot to open the scoring in the 31st minute. 9 minutes later, Sterling doubled the advantage by following up his own saved penalty awarded for a foul on him by Will Hughes.
The teenager, Phil Foden added a third after Ben Foster had parried a Sterling shot before Aymeric Laporte nodded in from Kevin de Bruyne’s free-kick.
City’s fourth straight league win could have been more emphatic. But, Gabriel Jesus had an injury-time header ruled out for offside.
The defeat leaves Watford 18th, level on points but a goal worse off than Aston Villa with both three points ahead of 19th placed Bournemouth.
Watford’s nightmare unfolds
Pearson’s sacking came out of the blue as the former Leicester boss was still within sight of securing Premier League survival.
Having taken over his duties in December, the club won seven of 20 matches-results than not only lifted them out of the bottom three but also gave him the best win percentage of any Watford boss since their promotion in 2015.
Pearson’s sucking leaves the club and the rest of the players to consider a deeply worrying present and potentially devasting future.
The Hornet was outclassed by City and barely allowed a kick in what mounted to an exercise in damage limitation from the moment the visitors’ broke the deadlock.
23.7% was their ball possession and only to shots at goal, neither on target. The only time they threatened was when substitute Danny Welbeck got in behind City’s defense. However, he saw a tame, poked effort saved by Ederson.
Goalkeeper Foster was the only Watford player who attempted most passes that totaled to 29. So too is the fact that their team passes total was a paltry 232 against City’s 750 with midfielder Rodri alone making 131.
All that Watford can do is hope they can better their result when they face Arsenal on Sunday in their last game of the season.