Can the Hornets cause a shock in Saturday's FA Cup final? George Pitts looks at the Wembley clash, along with the betting.
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Man City v Watford
- Wembley Stadium
- BBC One/BT Sport, 1700 BST kick-off
Manchester City could seal a domestic treble as they take on Watford in the FA Cup final on Saturday.
After beating Chelsea on penalties in the Carabao Cup final in February, they will be hoping to secure more silverware at the national stadium. It comes less than a week after lifting a second Premier League title in a row, thanks to 14 wins on the bounce to pip Liverpool.
After brief celebrations on Sunday, manager Pep Guardiola will have wanted to put the champagne on ice until after their season finale, with the former Barca and Bayern boss bidding to add a first FA Cup to his impressive list of achievements.
He will face a fellow Spaniard in Javi Gracia, with the Watford manager under no illusions that his side are significant outsiders to lift the trophy.
They had an impressive first full season under the former Malaga boss. As well as reaching their first FA Cup final since 1984, they were one of the best sides outside the top six in the league.
Watford looked all set to finish seventh - best of the rest - before a poor end of season run saw them win one in six games, which meant they dropped to 11th.
They conceded five to City in two league games, but managed to score in both meetings and Gracia will know if they catch the Citizens on a poor day then they have more than a sniff of an upset.
Albeit under a different manager, City's 2013 shock final defeat to Wigan shows they are not invincible on this stage.
Prediction: Man City 2-0 Watford (Sky Bet odds: 5/1)
No shocks expected here. Watford's record against the top six this season has been poor, beating only Tottenham in the early stages of the campaign. City, meanwhile, have shown a cool head and thrived under pressure when it's counted, winning 21 of their last 22 games in all competitions. They have a team of winners and should seal the treble.
With the odds stacked in City's favour, it is always good to look at small, stats-based match bets away from the result, where value can be found in backing the underdogs and, in this case, Troy Deeney. The striker should start and he will proudly lead out the Hornets at Wembley. His passion and commitment to his side is admirable, as we saw him display in his post-match interview after booking their place in the final last month. The striker will do his utmost to help Watford lift the trophy and you would expect them to at least have a few chances to get on the scoresheet. With this in mind, the 11/10 on Deeney to register at least one shot on target is particularly eye-catching. The 30-year-old averages around two shots per game this season and will be keen to register a goal for his team in an FA Cup final. Whether he does or not remains to be seen, but he can at least test Ederson.
The Hornets man is expected to have a busy afternoon in the middle of the park, with plenty of chasing and little possession against City's packed attack. A key performer for Watford this term, Doucoure has been booked eight times this season, with six of them coming in 2019. Three of them came in Watford's last five games and frustration could get the better of him as he looks to break up play, especially when City start a speedy break. With this in mind, the 7/2 price available makes it worth a small play.
- Manchester City could become the first team to win the domestic treble in England, having already won the Premier League title and League Cup this season.
- Manchester City are looking to become just the fourth team to win both major domestic cup competitions in the same season, after Arsenal in 1992-93, Liverpool in 2000-01 and Chelsea in 2006-07.
- This will be Manchester City’s 11th appearance in an FA Cup final and their first since 2013, when they lost 0-1 to Wigan. They’ve won the competition five times (1904, 1934, 1956, 1969 and 2011).
- Watford’s only previous FA Cup final appearance came in 1984 under manager Graham Taylor, losing 0-2 to Everton at Wembley.
- Watford’s 35-year wait for a second FA Cup final appearance is the longest since 1967, when Chelsea appeared in their second final 52 years after first featuring in 1915.
- No team to finish in the bottom half of the top-flight table has ever beaten the side to finish top in an FA Cup final – the previous lowest was in 1957, when 10th placed Aston Villa beat champions Manchester United.
- Man City have eliminated Watford from the FA Cup in each of their previous three ties, winning 3-1 in 1996-97, 3-0 in 2012-13 and 4-2 in 2013-14; Watford’s only elimination of City in the FA Cup was in the 1985-86 season in the fourth round.
- Watford have lost their last 10 matches against Manchester City in all competitions, conceding 32 goals in those games. They are winless in 15 games against the Citizens (W0 D2 L13) since a 1-0 win in March 1989 in the second tier.
- Gerard Deulofeu is Watford’s highest scorer in all competitions this season (12). Nine of his 12 goals this season have come in his last 13 games, with the Spaniard scoring Watford’s winner in their semi-final victory against Wolves.
- Sergio Aguero has been involved in 12 goals in just seven appearances against Watford for Manchester City in all competitions (10 goals, 2 assists), including two hat-tricks – one of which was in a 4-2 FA Cup win in January 2014.
- Sergio Aguero has scored 32 goals in all competitions for Man City this season – only in 2016-17 (33) has he scored more in a single campaign for the Citizens.
- Since the start of the 2011-12 season, Man City striker Sergio Aguero has scored 18 FA Cup goals – three more than any other player; the Argentinian has scored in every round he’s played in barring the final, failing to score in the 2013 final against Wigan.
- This will be the first FA Cup final between two managers of the same nationality since 2008 (Dave Jones and Harry Redknapp). It’s only the second time it’s happened when the managers aren’t British, with the other being in 2001 between Frenchmen Arsene Wenger and Gerard Houllier.
- Either Pep Guardiola or Javier Gracia will become the third Spanish manager to win the FA Cup, after Rafael Benitez (2006, Liverpool) and Roberto Martinez (2013, Wigan).
- In his entire managerial career, Pep Guardiola only has a better 100% win record against four teams than he does against Watford (six wins out of six) – Malaga (8/8) and Hannover 96, Werder Bremen and West Ham (7/7).
- Pep Guardiola could become just the eighth manager to win the English top-flight, League Cup and FA Cup, after Bill Nicholson, Don Revie, Joe Mercer, Kenny Dalglish, George Graham, Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho; Mercer achieved the feat with Manchester City.
Odds correct as of 1200 BST on 17/05/19