Manchester City stand on the edge of completing a historic quadruple of trophies. If they can win the FA Cup Final on Saturday against Watford at Wembley Stadium, then they will be the first team in English football history to have claimed the Charity Shield, the Carabao Cup, the Premier League and the FA Cup in a single season.
It would be an incredible feat for City and would mean that the only trophy that they did not win this season that they entered, was the Champions League, where they reached the quarterfinal stage for the second successive year, before being knocked out by a fellow English opponent in Tottenham.
Watford stand in their way and in reality, few give Javi Gracia’s Hornets much of a chance given the way City have performed in their most recent games in the Premier League, winning all their final 13 matches to clinch the title by a point from Liverpool.
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Let’s now take a look at the two teams in more detail together with how we see the final going, and our tips on the game to round things off.
FA Cup Final
- Venue – Wembley Stadium
- Date – Saturday 18th May
- Kick Off – 3pm
- Live – On BBC TV, BT Sport and also on bet365 Live Streaming
The Road to Wembley
- 3rd Round – v Rotherham (H) – W 7-0 (Sterling, Foden, Ajayi OG, Jesus, Mahrez, Otamendi, Sane)
- 4th Round – v Burnley (H) – W 5-0 (Jesus, Silva.B, De Bruyne, Long OG, Aguero)
- 5th Round – v Newport County (A) – W 4-1 (Sane, Foden 2, Mahrez)
- Quarterfinals – v Swansea City (A) – W 3-2 (Silva.B, Nordfeldt OG, Aguero)
- Semifinals – Brighton (N) – W 1-0 (Jesus)
It is fair to say that the draw was kind to City throughout their FA Cup run with them facing no team ranked higher than 15th in the Premier League. They made light work of Rotherham and Burnley in the first two rounds before late goals saw them earn a 4-1 win over Newport.
Another south Wales side, Swansea, gave them a real scare in the quarterfinals, but City rallied in the last 20 minutes to come back from 2-0 down to win 3-2, albeit with the help of a dubious offside goal counting for their third. Brighton played well in the semifinal but City hung on to an early lead given to them by Jesus to earn their spot in the final.
- 3rd Round – v Woking (A) – W 2-0 (Hughes, Deeney)
- 4th Round – v Newcastle United (A) – W 2-0 (Gray, Success)
- 5th Round – v Q.P.R (A) – W 1-0 (Capoue)
- Quarterfinals – v Crystal Palace (H) – W 2-1 (Capoue, Gray)
- Semifinals – v Wolves (N) – W 3-2 (aet) – (Deulofeu 2, Deeney)
Watford have had a tougher route to the final with just one game at home in the five they have played and three games against tough Premier League opponents. They began with a solid win away at Woking and then earned an equally impressive 2-0 win at Newcastle to reach the fifth round. QPR away was a tough game but Watford snatched the win thanks to Capoue’s single strike.
Capoue was on target again in the quarterfinals where Crystal Palace were beaten at Vicarage Road and what followed was a superb semifinal performance where despite going 2-0 down to Wolves, a Deulofeu strike and a late Troy Deeney penalty brought them level before Deulofeu grabbed the winner in extra time to send the Hornets to Wembley in May.
History Between The Teams
If you believe that historical records between the teams plays a key part in deciding the winner then all the omens point towards a Manchester City victory. The Citizens are unbeaten in their last 14 games against Watford and have won all of the last ten matches, including both of the Premier League games between the teams this season.
You gave to go back to 1989 to find Watford’s last win over Manchester City.
In the FA Cup, the teams have met six times in the past, but three of these were contested during one round of the competition back in the 1980s where after two draws between the teams, Watford won a second replay 3-1 to progress. However, that is the Hornet’s only FA Cup victory over City as in the three matches in the competition since, City have won on every occasion.
The teams have met 28 times in total, so not that frequently, but City have by far the stronger record winning 17 of those game to Watford’s six and five matches have finished in draws.
Predicted Wembley Line Ups
Although Pep Guardiola has never picked a hugely under-strength team in the FA Cup, he has rotated his squad for these games and I can see him making a couple of changes in this one, if only to keep players who didn’t play in their last game at Brighton in the league last weekend, happy.
I can see Mendy, if he is fit, coming in at left back, with De Bruyne possibly returning in midfield, again if he is fully fit. I’d also expect Jesus to start in attack ahead of Aguero and possibly Sane to return to the team at the expense of Mahrez. I think Kompany though will hold on to his place in the team meaning John Stones will likely start on the bench.
Manchester City Predicted Team – (4-3-3) – Ederson, Walker, Mendy, Kompany, Laporte, Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Silva.B, Sterling, Sane, Jesus.
Watford don’t have quite so many riches available to them as City and I can see them probably opting to play an adaptable 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation with Deulofeu and Pereyra tasked with getting forward in support of their lone striker, who I feel is likely to be Deeney. Jose Holebas will be able to play after his red card last weekend was rescinded by the FA and the Greek international will likely start at left back.
The big change will likely be in goal for Watford where Heurelho Gomes has played all their FA Cup games this season and the Brazilian will play his last game for Watford in this one, unless Gracia elects to keep Ben Foster between the sticks for the final.
Watford Predicted Team – (4-3-3/4-5-1) – Gomes, Janmaat, Holebas, Cathcart, Kabasele, Capoue, Doucoure, Hughes, Pereyra, Deulofeu, Deeney
FA Cup Final Tips
Match Result – Manchester City to win – 1/5
There’s no real prospect here of a Watford upset I feel. City are just too strong and in too good a run of form to let this slip. Even if they do elect to rest a number of first team players, any combination that City put out will be more than a match for Watford and as a result, I cannot see anything other than a dominant Man City win here.
Correct Score – Manchester City 3-0 Watford – 6/1
I can’t see much hope for Watford getting a goal and their best hope may be from a set piece or something similar. City have players who can score all over the field and as such, I think they will be in control from the start and if they play as they can then 3-0 is probably going to be the best Watford can hope for.