FA Cup: Can Hornets’ Sting End City’s Treble Dream?

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Manchester City vs Watford

It’s the best cup competition in the world. And 90,000 fans will pack into the Wembley Stadium for this season’s FA Cup final between Manchester City and Watford on Saturday.

The walk down Wembley Way is something supporters from around the UK dream of every year, and in 2019 it’s Javi Gracia’s Watford who’s fans will have that special day. If they can somehow beat the league champions then it will live in the memory forever. That is, of course, a very big ‘if’!

After the best Premier League title race in years, the Sky Blues have emerged stronger than ever, looking remarkably fresh and with few injury worries in their squad. Right from the outset the FA Cup 2019 odds pointed to a Manchester City triumph, and now the Sky Blues are overwhelmingly odds on.

But the romance of the FA Cup has been built on bigger shocks than Gracia’s Hornets winning the day. This Watford side was in the race for the seventh place until very recently and, on its day, can play scintillating football. And, in the image of their captain, Troy Deeney, won’t give up without a fight.

Talking Points

Sky Blue history makers

Watford’s task is to stop Manchester City from becoming the first club to win the domestic treble of Premier League, League Cup and FA Cup. Both Liverpool and Manchester United have won a treble, but both featured the Champions League/European Cup.

Pep would have dearly loved to pick up the Champions League as part of a quadruple, but a VAR controversy shattered that dream for him as Spurs defeated City with a last gasp goal aided by Fernando Llorente’s elbow.

But this team is breaking records with regularity, hitting 100 league points last season and making it 198 over the last two. Manchester City beat Brighton in the semi-final of the FA Cup to reach the Wembley showcase, and the Sky Blues saw off the Seagulls again last week with a 1-4 win to clinch the league title.

And it was that man Sergio Aguero who settled any Sky Blue nerves on the south coast with the Champions’ opener in the decisive victory.

Guardiola doesn’t have any new injury worries; only Fernandinho and long term absentee Benjamin Mendy are likely to be unavailable, and that means Watford could face the returning Kevin De Bruyne.




Watford’s well-oiled engine

The underdogs will be happy to play that role but aren’t at Wembley to make up the numbers. Gracia has assembled a well-balanced team, with strength and style in equal measure, and his central midfield partnership is a crucial component.

Abdoulaye Doucoure’s flair is well complemented by the industry of Etienne Capoue, one of the top tacklers in the Premier League. While Doucoure takes the plaudits with his spectacular range of passing and shooting, his partner breaks up play and looks after the ball jealously, as well as scoring three times during Watford’s cup run. As a former defensive midfielder, Gracia understands Capoue’s value better than most.

The Hornets made the final thanks to a spectacular comeback against Wolves in the semi-final, when they fought back from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in extra time. The game was right up there in the FA Cup 2019 highlights, as a brace from attacking midfielder Gerard Deulofeu, completed after Troy Deeney had converted a 94th-minute penalty, pulled that tie out of the fire in the most dramatic fashion.

Captain Deeney is a man of the people who speaks his mind, and he’s caused a storm by accusing the FA of ‘preying’ on fans with extortionate ticket prices. His team will need that kind of anger and fighting spirit to have any chance of taking down the billionaires of English football.

Defender Jose Holebas is available to play after his red card against West Ham was rescinded and he could be a key man.

FA Cup: Gerard Deulofeu scored a brace in Watford’s dramatic semi-final win

Gerard Delofeu celebrates after scoring a goal for Watford


En route to the final Watford put out top-flight sides Crystal Palace and Newcastle, as well as Wolves, while the Sky Blues only faced Burnley from the Premier League before their semi-final with Brighton.

But Pep’s boys have plundered 20 goals on the road to Wembley, and it’s worth reminding ourselves that the Sky Blues won the Premier League after a run of 14 consecutive victories. To do that under such intense pressure from Liverpool suggests this world-class squad has a nerve of pure steel.

And City has the FA Cup pedigree. The Sky Blues are five times winners of the FA Cup, the last time in 2011 when a goal from Yaya Toure was enough to beat Stoke City 1-0. The following year the Sky Blues began their period of domination in English football with the first of their four league wins in the following eight years.

Watford’s best effort in the competition was in 1984 when they were beaten finalists in 1984.

Can they go one step further on Saturday?

Betting Tip

Manchester City vs Watford Total Goals 2-3 @ 2.00
May 19, 00:00 (GMT+8)

At us odds of 11.00 you’d think not! Manchester City is at odds of 1.20 to win the Cup within 90 minutes and the draw is at 6.40.

I think Watford will fight hard for their chance and don’t see an exhibition on the way. I expect Manchester City to win but they will have to work for it, and a one or two goal margin is the likely outcome.

?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.



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