Match Preview: Manchester City vs Watford FA Cup Final

Manchester City and Watford meet in the FA Cup final in the final showpiece of the English league season.

No side has ever managed a domestic treble in a season, but that is what is on offer for Manchester City should they win this year’s FA Cup.

With a Premier League title wrapped up and the League Cup under their belt, City can set another record with victory at Wembley.

In their way stand Watford, though, a team who will want to ensure their efforts to get to this point were not in vain.

They played their part in the year of incredible comebacks with a superb display in the semi-final, coming back from two goals down against Wolverhampton Wanderers to seal their final place.

That result, coupled with the opportunity to secure European football next season, means there is plenty on the line for them in this game too. It sets this up to be another fascinating FA Cup final.

Team News

Claudio Bravo is the only absentee from Manchester City’s squad, with returning players bolstering them in recent weeks.

Fernandinho is back from a knee injury while Benjamin Mendy has also recovered from a problem that has plagued him all season. The Brazilian is likely to return to the starting line up given his importance, but Mendy seems unlikely to replace the impressive Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Watford were boosted by the news that Jose Holebas won’t miss the FA Cup final after his red card on the final day was rescinded.

Etienne Capoue returned on the final day so is likely to start, with the most significant decision Javi Gracia has to make is whether to start Gerard Deulofeu or use him from the bench to significant effect once again.

What the managers said

City boss Pep Guardiola has warned his side to be wary of the uncontrollable natures of an FA cup final.

“It is a cup final, anything can happen like a red card,” he told BBC Sport.

Eddie Howe pleased with attacking poise, but feels Wilson was too honest

A.F.C Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe felt as though his striker Callum Wilson was too honest against Manchester City and may have won a penalty,...

“They can prepare the final better, they can make a strategy we did not expect. In one game, anything can happen.

“Normally the better team wins, but a decision of the referee could make the difference. In the Premier League, you have another chance and can be more relaxed, but this is completely different.”

Watford boss Javi Gracia, meanwhile, has urged his side to grab their opportunity and make history.

“I know all the important dates for the club — or finals in this case — but I don’t need all these things to feel more pressure,” he said.

“It is an important day, it is an important game. I would like to make history with the club — and to do it we need to win.

“After that, we will see if we play another final next season or not, but this is the moment. It is our moment, and we have to feel it. I am sure the players know it, and they will be ready to give their best.”

Stats

Aside from being the first side to win a domestic treble, City can become the fourth team to win both domestic cup titles in the same season as well.

The omens are in their favour too. No team who finished in the bottom half of the league has ever beaten the league winners in an FA Cup final.

The history books are in City’s favour as well. They have eliminated Watford in each of the last three times they’ve met in the competition.

Likewise, Watford have lost their last ten matches against City in all competitions.

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.

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