Gomes holds fire on retirement

Heurelho Gomes remains undecided about his future plans and will take time to consider his position after Saturday's FA Cup mauling by Manchester City.

Watford's hopes of a first major trophy went up in smoke at Wembley, where an encouraging start tailed off as Pep Guardiola's men secured an historic domestic treble in style, thrashing Javi Gracia's side 6-0.

Gomes played his part in keep further goals from going in and, while he previously suggested he'll retire this summer, it now appears he has some thinking still to do.

Asked if he had made a final decision, Gomes said: "No, not yet.

"I have got to speak to the club and the club want to speak with me, so I will listen to them and see what is going to happen.

"If I am still able to do something for this club I will do it. But we need to speak, calm down and sit next week and see what the decision is."

The 38-year-old shot stopper admitted it was a painful loss on a big occasion for everyone involved with Watford.

"Yeah I feel disappointed with everybody else, but I feel proud of everyone at the club. We have come so far," he added.

"Of course the result is hard to take but we lost to the best team in the league and probably the best in the world, so I am so proud of these players, so proud of this club and the supporters.

"You could see that they are proud of us as well, they sing until the last minute. We need to keep going and yeah, we go again."

Gomes' former side Spurs are 14/5 to win the Champions League final against Liverpool on 1st June. The Reds are 19/20 while the draw is 5/2.

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Guardiola ready to push again

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola says there will be no let-up from his side, despite them completing a unique domestic treble by lifting the FA Cup at Wembley.

The Citizens had already won both the Carabao Cup and the Premier League this season and showed little mercy on Saturday as they thumped Watford 6-0 to become the first side to claim all three major domestic trophies in the same season.

However, having been pushed all the way in the league by Liverpool, Guardiola says his side cannot afford to stand still as they will be under increased pressure next term.

He told reporters: "The players have to feel that they play good, or they don't play.

"Football is what it is – win again and again and again and the players have to feel that. What we have done is incredible, but from the first day of next season we start from zero.

"We have to see what we have seen for the past two, even three seasons, especially in terms of results for the past two seasons.

"I am pretty sure Liverpool will be stronger and more hungry to do it, that is why we have to stay there. If we don't, we are not going to win.

"We will have to get more than 90-plus points to be champions next season. That is the level we have to maintain – the same level as these last two seasons."

City only missed out on the Champions League this season, losing out on away goals to Tottenham Hotspur at the quarter-final stage.

The Citizens are 8/11 to win the Premier League title again next season, with Liverpool 11/4 and Spurs 12/1.

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City hit Watford for six

Manchester City won the FA Cup final at Wembley, thrashing Watford 6-0 and securing an unprecedented domestic treble.

City are the first team in history to win the league title, the League Cup and the FA Cup in a single season and they completed it in style at Wembley, with Raheem Sterling scoring a hat-trick, only the second ever in an FA Cup final.

Watford had the best chance early on but when that went begging there was only one winner with City outclassing the Hornets.

City, fresh from the Premier League title win last weekend took charge early on and had the first opportunity, Bernardo Silva stretching the Watford defence but Gabriel Jesus, in the side in place of Sergio Aguero, couldn't reach the cutback.

Watford though went closest to taking the lead in the opening exchanges, Gerard Deulofeu finding Roberto Pereyra who was through on goal but Ederson did well to make the save.

Watford again, on a rare attack, threatened and appealed for a penalty when a shot from Abdoulaye Doucoure was blocked in the area by Vincent Kompany who was ruled not to have handled.

At the other end Heurelho Gomes failed to gather a cross which Raheem Sterling was close to forcing home but City were totally dominating possession and it was no surprise when they took the lead midway through the first half, Sterling again involved, heading the ball on and David Silva latched onto it and fired home.

A second before half-time duly came and Bernardo Silva produced a beautiful pass which found Jesus on the left and he managed to get enough on the ball to get it over the line though Sterling was on hand to make sure and get the final touch. He was credited with the goal which proved important later on.

So 2-0 was the half-time score with City in complete control and they almost made it three just after the restart, Jesus nodding home from a corner but it was ruled out for offside.

They didn't have to wait long however, substitute Kevin de Bruyne getting on the end of a move between Jesus and Sterling and finishing coolly.

City made it four on 68 minutes, de Bruyne again involved and Jesus, if not claiming the second goal, certainly had the fourth, waiting for Gomes to commit and sending the ball past him.

There was still time for a fifth and this was definitely Sterling getting on the end of a cross after great work again from Bernardo Silva.

Then, with three minutes remaining he completed his hat-trick, Gomes saving well from the England striker's initial shot but the rebound fell kindly for him and he bundled the ball home to complete the rout and end an outstanding season for Pep Guardiola's side.

City are priced at 8/11 to win next season's Premier League with Liverpool 11/4 and Manchester United 16/1.

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Deeney plans to ruffle feathers

Troy Deeney is looking forward to his battle against Vincent Kompany when Watford take on Manchester City in the FA Cup final at Wembley.

The striker believes that, even though City are the overwhelming favourites to win Saturday's match and complete an unprecedented domestic treble, he can cause Kompany and his team-mates plenty of problems.

Deeney said: "I think anyone that comes up against me would say it's very difficult, it's a very difficult day. So if there's a lot of crosses in the box, as much as I really respect Mr Kompany, he would say it's not going to be an easy day if he's playing against me.

"I think personally, if I'm on my A game it will be a very difficult game for whoever's playing.

"He (Kompany) knows that whenever we're going up against each other it's going to be a real battle because he's physically strong. I enjoy a physical battle and neither of us are ever going to back down from one another.

"We're going to have a few battles and whoever comes out on top will have a massive impact on the game."

The Hornets only won one of their 12 games against top-six sides this season and can be backed at 6/1 to lift the trophy on Saturday while Manchester City are available at 1/10.

"It's one of them when you always hope that you get a bit of luck," Deeney added. "We know it's going to be very difficult, there's going to be times when we'll need to ride our luck, but also we've got quality."

Fernandinho may face Hornets

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has revealed that Fernandinho has returned to training and could feature in Saturday's FA Cup final against Watford.

However, Benjamin Mendy will not play against the Hornets at Wembley as City attempt to complete the unprecedented treble of Premier League, League Cup and FA Cup this season.

"Benjamin Mendy has not been selected because he's not fit," said Guardiola. "He will be ready next season, but he is not available for the final.

"Fernandinho trained today and yesterday."

City are expected to ease to victory on Saturday as they have won their last 10 games against Watford, while Javi Gracia's team have lost 11 of their 12 matches this season against the top six.

Guardiola is refusing to take victory for granted though, adding: "We celebrated [winning the Premier League title] for a short time and were back to business in the last few days to focus on Watford because I know how difficult it was in the home game, with the quality up front with [Roberto] Peyreyra, [Troy] Deeney and [Gerard] Deulofeu.

"The long balls to Deeney are always unstoppable, even with our tough central defenders. Maybe he is the best striker for setting the ball to his mates.

"We handled the defensive side really well, with set-pieces they have [Jose] Holebas who is an incredible taker.

"We spoke about the players and hopefully we can be focused for one more day, to compete again to be champions."

Manchester City are 1/10 to lift the trophy on Saturday and 2/9 to win in 90 minutes.

Capoue: Not expected to win

French midfielder Etienne Capoue accepts that no-one expects Watford to defeat Manchester City at Wembley and lift the FA Cup for the first time in their history.

The Hornets have made it through to only the second FA Cup final in their history, with their previous appearance ending in a 2-0 defeat to Everton in 1984.

And Capoue is aware that almost everyone will be expecting the Citizens to clinch a unique domestic treble by adding the FA Cup to the Carabao Cup and the Premier League title they have already won this season.

He said: "The best team ever in my six years in England. Six years I have played against them and this year was the best team ever.

"Everyone says we have zero chances, so we are going to take it. Everyone says Man City are the top team and will win easily – nobody expects us to win."

Watford are 6/1 to win the FA Cup final, with the Hornets 12/1 to win in 90 minutes and 28/1 to triumph following a penalty shootout.

Meanwhile, Watford head coach Javi Gracia has told his players to make the most of an opportunity to become club legends by claiming a surprise Wembley victory.

The Spaniard told the Evening Standard: "I know perfectly 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.

"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."

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Pep wary of Hornets threat

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola is wary of the one-off nature of his side's FA Cup final showdown with Watford at Wembley on Saturday.

The Citizens are hoping to complete a unique domestic treble, having already won the League Cup and successfully defended their Premier League title this season.

However, Guardiola is well aware of the threat that the Hornets could pose, despite Watford having finished in the bottom half of the league table following a run of three consecutive defeats at the end of the campaign.

He told BBC Sport: "Watford and Wolves are the best teams outside of the top six. With Javi Gracia, he is an experienced manager and I think he is an excellent guy, an excellent manager and knows exactly what to do.

"They have huge talent up front, many physical players, good on set-pieces and this is a final, we know what can happen.

"We believe a lot in ourselves and we will have to find the antidote to beat them.

"It is a cup final, anything can happen, like a red card. They can prepare for the final better, they can make a strategy we did not expect. In one game, anything can happen."

City have won the last ten meetings of the two sides, with the two league clashes earlier this season finishing 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium and 2-1 at Vicarage Road.

The Citizens are 1/10 to lift the FA Cup on Saturday and are 2/9 to win in normal time, with the men from Manchester 5/1 to secure a 2-0 victory in 90 minutes.

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Gracia hints at Gomes U-turn

Watford head coach Javi Gracia has suggested that veteran goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes may be handed a new contract at the end of this season.

It had been thought that the 38-year-old Brazilian shot-stopper would retire after Saturday's FA Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley.

Gomes – who said in March he was "99 per cent sure" he would retire this summer – is expected to start the final as he has featured in all five of the Hornets' FA Cup games so far this season, including the dramatic semi-final triumph against Wolves.

The former Tottenham goalkeeper has not made any Premier League appearances for Gracia's side this season though, with Ben Foster being preferred for top-flight games.

Gracia said of Gomes, who has made 144 league appearances for Watford since moving to Vicarage Road from Tottenham five years ago: "First of all, I don't know if it will be the last game.

"I would like to speak with him and the club and see if he is able to carry on next season, we have to speak about that. We will see, the keeper on Saturday, I don't like to speak about it.

"I only focus on the game and try to choose the best keeper for the game, after that we will see what happens in the future."

Watford, 10/1 to keep a clean sheet against Manchester City, can be backed at 6/1 to lift the FA Cup on Saturday.

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.

 

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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

History

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.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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Gracia hopes for double boost

Watford head coach Javi Gracia hopes to have both Jose Holebas and Gerard Deulofeu available for the FA Cup final against Manchester City.

The Hornets are set to appeal against the red card shown to Holebas during the 4-1 Premier League loss at home to West Ham on Sunday, with Gracia feeling his defender had been hard done by in being dismissed for a foul on Michail Antonio.

The Spaniard told his club's official website: "I only say I can't believe a player will miss the final for that play. For that contact, I can't believe it.

"Maybe it was a light foul, maybe a soft foul, but I can't agree with that decision. It's difficult to accept knowing you have an important game the next week."

Meanwhile, Gracia was calm about having had to substitute goalscorer Deulofeu just before the hour mark, insisting that the move was merely precautionary.

He added: "I think it's a little problem. He had similar problems during the week and I think he will be ready for the final."

The loss to the Hammers left Watford in 11th place in the final Premier League standings, with the Irons taking the final top-half spot as a result of their victory at Vicarage Road.

The Hornets move on to prepare for the task of trying to defeat Manchester City in the FA Cup final, with the Citizens having already won the Carabao Cup and the Premier League this season.

Watford can be backed at 7/1 to lift the FA Cup for the first time in their history, with Gracia's side 25/1 to win 1-0 in normal time and 50/1 to triumph after extra-time.

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