Watford host Manchester City in their penultimate game of the 2019/20 Premier League season at Vicarage Road on Tuesday evening.
Nigel Pearson's side are well and truly embroiled in a relegation scrap, with both Bournemouth and Aston Villa in hot pursuit as this elongated campaign finally nears its conclusion.
With their FA Cup hopes dashed and second-placed guaranteed, Manchester City's focus will now be firmly fixed on their aspirations of continental glory. Although, if recent meetings are anything to go by, Watford's backline may be in for a busy 90 minutes.
How to Watch
When Is Kick Off? Tuesday 21 July
What Time Is Kick Off? 18:00 (BST)
Where Is it Played? Vicarage Road
TV Channel/Live Stream? Sky One/Sky Sports (UK), NBC (US), DAZN (Europe)
Referee? Michael Oliver
For Tuesday's crucial clash, Pearson will still be without long-term absentees Daryl Janmaat and Gerard Deulofeu, while Etienne Capoue is also a doubt after being left out of the last matchday squad.
Friday's loss to fellow relegation-battlers West Ham United was a significant blow, but the sight of captain Troy Deeney substituted off with ice on his leg may be even more worrying for Hornets fans. Deeney has been carrying a knee injury during Watford's recent run-in but should be fit for midweek, insisting that 'there is no time for excuses' and 'we'll sort the knee out at a later date'.
Manchester City will be without their own talismanic striker for the upcoming fixture. Sergio Agüero's Premier League season was ended against Burnley in late June and Pep Guardiola revealed that the Argentinian will also miss out on the Champions League meeting with Real Madrid at the start of August.
Watford: Foster; Femenía, Kabasele, Dawson, Masina; Hughes, Chalobah; Sarr, Doucouré, Welbeck; Deeney
Manchester City: Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Otamendi, Zinchenko; De Bruyne, Rodri, Gundogan; Bernardo, Jesus, Foden
On the Sunday morning of 12 July, Watford's future in the top flight looked as certain as it ever has in 2020. Back-to-back victories against Norwich City and Newcastle United sent them six points clear of 18th place. Yet, one week later and Premier League survival is anything but guaranteed.
The defeat to West Ham compounded two wins from fellow strugglers Bournemouth and Aston Villa on a weekend which reinvigorated the relegation battle.
Manchester City have somehow looked both imperious and hopelessly flawed since football's return, yet rarely have Guardiola's side occupied some sort of middle ground between these extremes.
Here's how both sides have fared in their last five outings.
West Ham United 3-1 Watford (17/7)
Watford 2-1 Newcastle United (11/7)
Watford 2-1 Norwich City (7/7)
Chelsea 3-0 Watford (4/7)
Watford 1-3 Southampton (28/6)
Arsenal 2-0 Manchester City (18/7)
Manchester City 2-1 Bournemouth (15/7)
Brighton 0-5 Manchester City (11/7)
Manchester City 5-0 Newcastle United (8/7)
Southampton 0-1 Manchester City (5/7)
Manchester City have won the last 12 meetings between the sides and last lost to their upcoming opponents in 1989, when the pair were playing in the second tier.
With the standings at the bottom of the Premier League table as tightly congested as they are, relegation could plausibly be decided by goal difference alone. Bearing that possibility in mind, Watford can scarcely afford Tuesday's meeting to follow the same chain of events as their last two matches against City - Guardiola's side prevailed by an aggregate score of 14-0.
Although the scoreline may not quite follow the same trend as those painful outings, the overall result may very well adhere to the overriding pattern.
Prediction: Watford 0-2 Manchester City
Source : 90min