AUTHOR: Star Sports Content


Manchester City have a chance to make domestic footballing history in the FA Cup, where Watford stand between them and winning all three domestic trophies this season.

There might still be some regret at the way City’s European adventure ended but there have been only celebrations in the Blue Half of Manchester since they retained their Premier League title last week and there ought to be no small amount of motivation for Pep Guardiola and his men.

In Watford, they do face one of the toughest opponents outside of the Top 6 that they could have drawn, given how the competition has played out this season. It looked as if Wolves were a certainty to make it to Wembley with 10 minutes to go in the semi before Gerard Deluofeu had a stunning half hour to change the tie, but Watford bring plenty of quality to the table themselves.

Delulofeu, formerly of Barcelona, Everton and AC Milan, produced a brilliant flick with 10 minutes to go before earning the penalty that Troy Deeney hammered home, and then himself scored the winner. Deulofeu has scored 12 and Deeney 11 goals this season – and both have five assists too. Javi Garcia does have something to take City on with in the midfield anchored by Abdoulaye Doucoure and Etienne Capoue, along with the talents of Will Hughes to boot.

Don’t be too fooled by their 11th placed league finish or their weak ending to the season – it has to be likely that this has very much been the target since their Wembley day out in the semi-final.

However, for all their talents, beating City is likely to be beyond them. Pep Guardiola’s men started the final day of the season in rather nervous fashion but Glenn Murray’s header just seemed to make them angry and their 4-1 thumping of Brighton was a statement win to seal the title. For 70 minutes they were peerless and only a spirited effort from Mat Ryan stopped them from ending up with more goals than the four that Sergio Agüero, Aymeric Laporte, Riyad Mahrez, and İlkay Gündoğan scored.

The final here could well be far more competitive, though. City were taken to penalties in the Carabao Cup by a Chelsea side who gave them a far harder test than the league meeting between the two (beaten 6-0 a couple of weeks beforehand, 0-0 in final) and in their League Cup quarter-final they were taken to penalties by Leicester.

They have had to grind out victories in the knockout stages of the FA Cup too – they needed an 88th minute winner from Sergio Aguero to win at Swansea and despite taking the lead after just four minutes in the semi-final against Brighton they had to grind out a hard-fought 1-0 win.

Man City v Watford
FA Cup Final
17:00 BBC One HD / BT Sport 2 HD / BT Sport 4K UHD

(Maximum 10 matches*)
MAR 2019 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester City 3-1 Watford
DEC 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Watford 1-2 Manchester City
JAN 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester City 3-1 Watford
SEP 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Watford 0-6 Manchester City
MAY 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Watford 0-5 Manchester City
DEC 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester City 2-0 Watford
JAN 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Watford 1-2 Manchester City
AUG 2015 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester City 2-0 Watford
JAN 2014 FA CUP Manchester City 4-2 Watford
JAN 2013 FA CUP Manchester City 3-0 Watford
APR 2007 PREMIERSHIP Watford 1-1 Manchester City
DEC 2006 PREMIERSHIP Manchester City 0-0 Watford

FA Cup Winners
2008–09 FA Cup final: Chelsea (won 2–1 against Everton)
2009–10 FA Cup final: Chelsea (won 1–0 against Portsmouth)
2010–11 FA Cup final: Manchester City (won 1–0 against Stoke City)
2011–12 FA Cup final: Chelsea (won 2–1 against Liverpool)
2012–13 FA Cup final: Wigan Athletic (won 1–0 against Manchester City)
2013–14 FA Cup final: Arsenal (won 3–2 against Hull City)
2014–15 FA Cup final: Arsenal (won 4–0 against Aston Villa)
2015–16 FA Cup final: Manchester United (won 2–1 against Crystal Palace)
2016-17 FA Cup final: Arsenal (won 2-1 against Chelsea)
2018-19 FA Cup final: Chelsea (won 1-0 against Manchester United

Previous FA Cup finals have also tended to be tight affairs – the only one since 2003-04 to be won by more than one goal (if at all) was Arsenal’s 4-0 romp against Aston Villa, and it’s fair to say that even taking into account City’s quality, there’s less between these teams than there was between Arsenal and Villa then.

The last nine finals to be decided in 90 minutes have been won by one goal, and 5 of Manchester City’s last 10 Premier League wins came by a 1-0 score line as they managed to grind out the league title. It might well be that this final is that tight too, and Watford, assuming they have a reasonable start to the game, will hope to stay in it before City’s class shows.

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