Deulofeu eyeing a big finish

Watford's Spanish forward Gerard Deulofeu says it would be his best season in the game if the Hornets finish strongly in both the FA Cup and the Premier League.

Javi Gracia's side currently lie in eighth place in the top-flight standings, but are level on points with seventh-placed Everton and have a game in hand on the Toffees – which comes on Tuesday evening when they play host to Southampton.

The Hornets have also made it through to the FA Cup final for only the second time in their history and Deulofeu is excited that two major targets remain up for grabs at such a late stage of the season.

He told the Watford Observer: "We are so happy to play one final and be fighting for a trophy, but first of all we want to finish seventh (in the league).

"We have tough games and we have to think first about those four games, otherwise we will go to the final in not the best way.

"It is going to be tough with a lot of games and we have to recover well. Maybe this week can decide the season. We want to finish well and finish seventh.

"But it will be the best season if we win the title (FA Cup) and we finish seventh in the Premier League."

Watford, who lost 2-0 to Everton in the 1984 FA Cup final, will face Manchester City in the Wembley finale this season.

The Hornets are priced at 5/4 to defeat Southampton on Tuesday and are 11/1 to do so by a 2-0 scoreline, while Watford can be backed at 5/1 to lift the FA Cup for the first time in their history.

View all Soccer betting

Gracia hails Deulofeu impact

Gerard Deulofeu earned high praise from Watford head coach Javi Gracia after scoring both goals in a 2-1 victory at already relegated Huddersfield Town.

Spain international forward Deulofeu, who also netted twice on his last outing against Wolves in the FA Cup semi-final, made the difference in West Yorkshire as the Hornets moved back up to seventh place in the Premier League table.

And Gracia was full of praise for his player, who he felt contributed greatly to the overall effort of his side at the John Smith's Stadium.

He told his club's official website: "He's scoring important goals, very good goals. All goals are good for me, but in this moment Gerard is scoring and living an important moment for him and the team.

"Even when he didn't score, he was showing a good commitment for the club and trying to help the team.

"Speaking about Gerard, he has played in different positions, in different shapes and is an important player for us.

"He gets recognition when he scores goals, but in my opinion he is always doing a good job for the team."

Watford are back in action on Tuesday evening when they play host to Southampton, with the two sides having drawn 1-1 on the South Coast earlier this season.

The Hornets are 21/20 to win the game, with a 1-1 draw priced at 6/1.

View all Soccer betting

Gray: Hornets aiming for seventh

Striker Andre Gray is adamant that Watford will finish the Premier League season strongly, despite having reached the FA Cup final, where they will face Manchester City.

The Hornets are currently in tenth place in the league table and are preparing to face Arsenal at Vicarage Road on Monday evening.

A victory in that game would see Watford rise to seventh place, which is the spot which Gray believes is the main priority for the remainder of the league campaign.

He told his club's official website: "We want to finish as high as we can and try to get that seventh spot. It's in our hands and we've still got to play Wolves again.

"People talk about our season in terms of the FA Cup, but I don't think you can look past our league form and what we've done. What we've done this season is against all odds really.

"I think we were tipped for relegation at the start. No-one believed in us, but having the manager in from the start, we knew what to expect.

"We were just taking on his ideas throughout pre-season, then we started the season really well and we've had that belief ever since."

Gray, who has scored five goals in the Premier League this season, is 7/4 to find the net at any time on Monday, with a Hornets victory priced at 11/5 and a 2-2 draw available at 11/1.

When the two sides met at the Emirates Stadium earlier this season the Londoners won 2-0 thanks to an own goal and a Mesut Ozil strike.

View all Soccer betting

Foster: Gomes should start

Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster says he would be happy for Heurelho Gomes to start next month'/s FA Cup final against Manchester City.

Brazilian shot-stopper Gomes has played in all five of the Hornets' FA Cup games this season, including Sunday's incredible 3-2 victory against Wolves.

The 38-year-old also featured in Watford's two EFL Cup games at the start of the campaign but has not been involved in any Premier League encounters.

Former England goalkeeper Foster thinks boss Javi Gracia should pick Gomes for the Wembley extravaganza on 18th May, saying: "I think Javi will have the same opinion as me. Gomey's earned his place and rightly so.

"I think he deserves it. He's played every single round and he's never let us down. He won't let us down.

"He made a few really important saves against Wolves, took a lot of crosses, took a lot of pressure off the defence, it's all about Gomes and he deserves it.

"I hope he has another year in him to be honest with you. It's not just me, there's quite a few of us.

"He's like the glue that holds the team together, that old experienced head. He comes in with a smile on his face and he's the guy that's always chatting, always bouncy. For a 38-year-old, he's still incredible so I hope he does another year as well."

Watford can be backed at 4/1 to win the FA Cup final outright, while Manchester City are available at 1/6 to come out on top.

Jota eyes Wolves response

Wolves star Diogo Jota says it's vital his side bounce back quickly from their FA Cup semi-final defeat to Watford when they return to Premier League duties.

The West Midlands outfit were two goals up at Wembley on Sunday before eventually losing 2-2 in extra-time to the Hornets.

Jota has admitted the defeat was a bitter pill to swallow, especially considering the strong position his side were in action Javi Gracia's men.

"It's a bad feeling," forward Jota. "We thought that we had the game in our hands.
"We had the chance to go to the final in our hands and we wasted it in the little minutes, so the feeling is not good.

"I think, of course, they did their job. The first goal is an amazing goal because they were starving, and the goal just happens.

"It's a great goal and it gives them help, and in the last minute it's a penalty so we did a very good game.

"But unfortunately for us they scored twice, and they had extra time – and they were better than us in extra time."

Sunday's loss is a hammer blow Wolves can't afford to dwell for too long on as the push for European qualification in the Premier League continues.

"It's time to rest now and then we're going to think about the Southampton game," Jota added. "Because we have a few games to go and we can achieve good things until the end."

Wolves are 19/10 to win, 21/10 to draw and 6/4 to lose against the Saints.

View all Soccer betting

Supersub sends Hornets through

Gerard Deulofeu was the hero for Watford who made a remarkable comeback to beat Wolves and reach the FA Cup final.

The Hornets will meet Manchester City back at Wembley next month following their win over Wolves 3-2 after extra-time.

Wolves looked to be on their way to the final, leading 2-0 with just 11 minutes of the original 90 remaining.

However, Deulofeu, with a sublime chip, gave Watford a lifeline and a penalty with seconds remaining sent the match into extra-time.

There Deulofeu again showed his class to burst through for his second goal and the match winner that sends Watford to just their second ever FA Cup final.

It was Wolves who made the brighter start and they went close just five minutes into the game, awarded a free kick just outside the penalty area which Joao Moutinho got over the ball and was beating Heurelho Gomes in goal only to land on the roof of the net.

Andre Gray had a good chance to open the scoring for Watford but his miss appeared costly when Wolves took the lead minutes later. A short corner found Diogo Jota and his perfect cross found Matt Doherty who nodded home.

Wolves were the first to show in the second period and they looked to have made the game safe just after the hour mark. Raul Jimenez scoring a fantastic second, chesting the ball down in the area and hooking the ball past Gomes with great technique.

A comeback seemed unlikely but Watford got back into the game on 79 minutes with a beautiful goal from Deulofeu who found space in the area to produce an inspired disguised chip which deceived Ruddy.

From nothing the Hornets were back in the game and they were in the ascendancy, putting pressure on the Wolves defence for the first time in the game.

It looked too late but in added time they equalised from the penalty spot. Leander Dendoncker was adjudged to have fouled Troy Deeney in the box and after VAR confirmed the decision, Deeney himself took the kick, powerfully beating Ruddy.

Wolves recovered themselves in extra-time but the momentum stayed with Watford and Deulofeu was the hero, playing a one-two with Gray and bursting through to fire home.

Wolves kept going and had half chances to take the game to penalties but the Hornets held on to win a thrilling semi-final and will be back at Wembley to face Manchester City in the FA Cup final in May.

Watford are 13/2 to win the FA Cup final with City 4/11. Watford are 16/1 to win the final 1-0.

View all Soccer betting

Hughton ‘proud’ of beaten Seagulls

Chris Hughton felt there was much for his Brighton team to take confidence from after a 1-0 FA Cup semi-final loss against Manchester City.

The Seagulls tough task became even trickier when Gabriel Jesus but City in front inside four minutes at Wembley, but Hughton's men didn't cave in.

Indeed, City were grateful to Aymeric Laporte's clearance from right under his own crossbar in the second half, with Glenn Murray poised to score for Brighton.

Kyle Walker was also fortunate to escape a first-half red card after a VAR review for thrusting his head into the face of Brighton's Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

Pep Guardiola's team did enough to advance to next month's final against Watford or Wolves, but Hughton was 'incredibly proud' of Brighton.

"I am incredibly proud. After conceding after three minutes I don't think there was anyone in the stadium that thought the second wasn't going to come," he said.

"We hung in and to go through the 90 minutes and, apart from the goal, I struggle to think of a real clear chance. That wouldn't have happened often, if at all, to them this season."

Brighton must now focus on ensuring their Premier League survival according to their manager.

They are currently 16th, five points clear of the relegation zone with seven games left to play. Their next two games are at home to Bournemouth and Cardiff City, the Welsh side currently occupying the third and final relegation spot.

"The most important thing is to take that into the difficult games. We have got vitally important home games. We have to get something from those two," Hughton added.

Brighton are 13/10 to beat Bournemouth next Saturday. The Cherries are 21/10 while the draw is 11/5 for the Amex Stadium clash.

View all Soccer betting

Nuno calls for Wolves focus

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo has called for his side not get carried away with their big day at Wembley and focus on the job of beating Watford in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final.

Wolves head to the capital looking for revenge against the Hornets, after Javi Gracia's side managed to secure a 2-0 win over the West Midlanders at Molineux earlier this season.

Wolves have no fresh injury concerns for the trip to Wembley, with keeper John Ruddy expected to keep his place between the sticks after playing in all their previous FA Cup games this season.

Nuno is looking forward to the game but has urged his players not to let the occasion get to them, with an FA Cup final potentially just 90 minutes away.

He said: "Focus on the game, don't think about anything else and what it could mean or what could happen after.

"Make the game special. We have to play just like another game and make it special for that to team something. We know, everyone knows what it could mean.

"But we have to play it just like another game, focus on the actions and tasks and make it special for that to mean something."

Watford are 21/10 to win, 23/10 to draw and 6/4 to lose against Wolves.

View all Soccer betting

De Bruyne: It’s been a hard time

Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has admitted that he has struggled to rediscover last season's form this term because of his injuries.

The 27-year-old Belgium international, who scored in City's 2-0 win over Cardiff on Wednesday, missed more than three months of the campaign before Christmas because of two knee injuries.

De Bruyne's goal against the Bluebirds was only his second Premier League strike of the campaign and he is keen to play his part in the last few weeks of the season as Pep Guardiola's side chase an incredible quadruple.

They have already won the EFL Cup and face Brighton on Saturday in the semi-finals of the FA Cup. City are 1/20 to reach the final with De Bruyne available at 9/4 to score at any time against the Seagulls.

De Bruyne, who was sidelined again just before last month's international break because of a hamstring problem, admitted: "To be fair I don't think I'm going to be like last year. I'm not setting a goal for myself anymore.

"It's been hard this season. I try to be at the best level possible but I'm just trying to help the team win some titles. If I can help with that I'll be happy.

"I want to do what I can and play at my best level but I won't compare myself to last year when I played 70 games and was on such a roll. I'm just happy to be back playing football."

Meanwhile, Oleksandr Zinchenko has played down the injury he suffered against Cardiff.

The 22-year-old posted on Instagram: "Thanks for your support and messages. The injury is not so serious. Will come back stronger."

Manchester City are 10/1 to win the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and EFL Cup this season.

Pereyra faces race against time

Watford boss Javi Gracia has indicated that Roberto Pereyra could miss Sunday's FA Cup semi-final against Wolves at Wembley due to a hip injury.

The 28-year-old Argentinian has not been able to train since being substituted at half time on Tuesday in the 4-1 Premier League victory against Fulham.

Gracia said: "Pereyra felt some pain but I think he can be ready for the next game.

"Roberto is an important player for us but if he is not available I have other players ready and waiting for the chance to play."

Tom Cleverley has already been ruled out of the match because of a calf problem, but Isaac Success (knee) and Adalberto Penaranda (hamstring) are making good progress from their injuries and could feature at Wembley.

"In this moment, we have Tom Cleverley, Isaac Success, Adalberto Penaranda and Roberto Pereyra not training with the team," Gracia added.

"Pereyra and Success will train on Friday and we will see. They are doubts. Cleverley is out and I don't know how much time he will need. In the next few days it is not possible for him to play."

The Hornets can be backed at 19/20 to qualify for the FA Cup final and 10/1 to win the competition outright. Andre Gray is 9/4 to score at any time at Wembley.