Premier League champions Manchester City will look to seal an unprecedented domestic treble when they take on Watford in the FA Cup Final at Wembley.
Wembley Stadium, Wembley, England
Key Stat: Manchester City have won their last ten consecutive matches against Watford and have not lost to the Hornets since 1989.
Expert Verdict: After starting the season with Community Shield success, before sealing the Carabao Cup in February and embarking on a 14-match winning streak to pip Liverpool to the Premier League title, Pep Guardiola's Manchester City can now complete a clean sweep of domestic trophies with victory in the FA Cup final. Watford stand in their way, but the Hornets have not beaten City since 1989 - and have lost their last ten against them. Anything can happen in a cup final, but anything other than a City win would be a big surprise.
Kevin de Bruyne returned from the bench against Brighton on the final day of the season and could slot into the midfield trio to face Watford at Wembley. That would most likely mean Bernardo Silva pushes forward and Riyad Mahrez drops to the bench. Fernandinho remains a doubt too, but Ilkay Gundogan’s form could mean the Brazilian only makes the bench even if he is fit.
Sergio Aguero – Equalised against Brighton on the final day of the league season to set up City’s comeback victory and has scored ten goals against the Hornets in the past.
Bernardo Silva – In contention for City’s Player of the Season award thanks to a string of crucial performances in Kevin de Bruyne’s absence.
Raheem Sterling – Scored a hat-trick against Watford earlier this season during an incredible season of success for the England winger.
Manchester City won their last 14 league games in a row to lift the Premier League title with a 4-1 victory against Brighton on the final day. After falling behind to the Seagulls, Sergio Aguero levelled and Aymeric Laporte gave them a 2-1 half-time lead. Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan then sealed victory after the break. City have won 28 of their 30 matches in all competitions this season, with Vincent Kompany’s spectacular goal earning them victory in the 1-0 win against Leicester that preceded success in Brighton.
Defenders:Kyle Walker, Vincent Kompany, Aymeric Laporte, Oleksandr Zinchenko
Midfielders:David Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin de Bruyne
Forwards:Bernardo Silva, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling
Jose Holebas has been cleared to play in the FA Cup final, after the red card he received on the final day of the league season against West Ham was rescinded. Domingos Quina is definitely out injured, however.
Gerard Deulofeu – Scored twice in the semi-final comeback against Wolves and has added three more goals since, including in the defeat to West Ham.
Troy Deeney – Can be a nuisance up front and will lead the Hornets out at Wembley after playing a big part in their semi-final comeback too.
Andre Gray – Whether from the start or off the bench, the striker has still found the net in recent weeks – scoring in the draw with Southampton and defeat to Wolves.
Watford have won just once since their FA Cup semi-final comeback and finished the league season with three straight defeats. Andre Gray’s goal could not prevent a 2-1 home loss to Wolves, before the Hornets crashed to a 3-0 defeat at Chelsea. On the final day, Gerard Deulofeu scored to make it 2-1 just after half-time against West Ham, but Jose Holebas’ dismissal killed any chance of a Watford comeback and Javi Gracia’s side eventually lost 4-1.
Defenders:Kiko Femenia, Craig Cathcart, Adrian Mariappa, Jose Holebas
Midfielders:Will Hughes, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Etienne Capoue, Robert Pereyra
Forwards:Troy Deeney, Gerard Deulofeu
Victories in both of their league fixtures against Watford this season mean Manchester City have now their last ten matches in a row against the Hornets. That run includes two FA Cup victories, in 2013 and 2014, and all eight league meetings since Watford’s promotion in 2015. City have beaten Watford 17 times, with six draws and the last of Watford’s six wins in this fixture was back in 1989.
This season, Leroy Sane and Riyad Mahrez put City ahead at Vicarage Road and Pep Guardiola’s survived a late scare after Abdoulaye Doucoure pulled one back for Watford. After that 2-1 win, City then won 3-1 at home – Raheem Sterling’s hat-trick fired them to victory despite Gerard Deulofeu pulling one back.
Here are the results of their last five competitive matches:
Mar 09, 2019: Manchester City 3-1 Watford
Dec 04, 2018: Watford 1-2 Manchester City
Jan 02, 2018: Manchester City 3-1 Watford
Sep 16, 2017: Watford 0-6 Manchester City
May 21, 2017: Watford 0-5 Manchester City
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City stand on the brink of an unprecedented domestic treble as they bid to add the FA Cup to their Premier League and Carabao Cup triumphs.
Throw in the Community Shield too and it is a domestic clean sweep to add to their league title (with 100 points) and Carabao Cup win of last season too.
City have been simply untouchable – beating every team they have played in the league this season, including Watford twice. They pipped Liverpool to the title by winning 14 straight matches and go into this final high on confidence and bang in form.
But a cup final is a two-sided affair and Watford are not making the short trip to Wembley to make up the numbers.
The Hornets pulled off a stunning comeback to book their place in this final, winning 3-2 against Wolves after being 2-0 down.
Gerard Deulofeu stepped off the bench to make a match-winning impact in the semi-final and the result is a warning not to write the Hornets off.
Javi Gracia’s side finished the season off form, losing four in a row and only winning once since that Wembley win – against relegated Huddersfield.
But they can be forgiven if they had one eye on this cup final.
Jose Holebas’ reprieve is a boost and Watford, though they have lost twice to City this season and not beaten them since 1989, will hope to add their name to the list of shock cup final winners.
City’s FA Cup journey ended away to Wigan in last season’s competition – the same team they lost to in the final when they last made it this far.
But Pep Guardiola’s side have developed a new ruthless streak in their title run-in, with their phenomenal winning streak – albeit with a couple of nervy games thrown in there – a real statement.
Sergio Aguero has an excellent record against Watford, while Kevin de Bruyne is back from injury in time for the Wembley showpiece.
Pep Guardiola’s side stand on the brink of English football history and, after wrapping up the league title, you can not bet against them securing the domestic treble.
Manchester City are 2/9 favourites to win the FA Cup final against Watford with Ladbrokes and Betway. For City to lift the trophy, the odds are even shorter – 1/8 with Betway.
City have an excellent record in this fixture, but Watford have scored in both games against them this season. Both teams to score at Wembley is a best price of 6/5 with Betway.
City to win and BTTS is 2/1 with Betway, while over 2.5 goals has been priced at 1/2.
Sergio Aguero has a superb record against Watford and the Argentine is a best price of 4/5 with Ladbrokes to score at any time.
Raheem Sterling is 11/10 with Betfair, Paddy Power and 888sport after netting a hat-trick against the Hornets earlier this season.
Manchester City stand on the brink of history and, to achieve the domestic treble, they simply have to do something they have managed on the last ten occasions they have met Watford: win.