FA Cup Final Live Stream, Tips and Preview - Man City v Watford

FA Cup trophy (PA Images)

Can Manchester City avoid a repeat of that infamous cup final defeat to Wigan Athletic and complete the domestic treble when they face Watford at Wembley in the FA Cup Final?

WATCH LIVE: Manchester City v Watford will be streamed live at bet365 (geo restrictions apply).

FA Cup Final Preview


Manchester City will go into the World Cup Final as the bookmakers’ favourites, and the last time that happened they found themselves on the embarrassing end of history. It was six years ago that the Manchester club, then managed by Roberto Mancini, were expected to roll over a Wigan Athletic side that were on the brink of being relegated to the Championship, but instead they crashed to a 1-0 defeat when Ben Watson headed home in added time. 

It was a result that cost Mancini his job as City boss and just days later the Latics were relegated, making them the first team to win the FA Cup and be relegated in the same season. So can City, who have now lost three of their last four FA Cup Final appearances, avoid a similar fate in the 2019 Final and complete a domestic treble?

Providing the opposition at Wembley Stadium are a Watford side who staged one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the competition just to make it to this showdown at Wembley. With less than half an hour to go against Wolves it appeared as though the Hornets would fall at the last hurdle in their quest to reach the final, with goals from Matt Doherty and Raul Jimenez giving Nuno Espirito Santo’s team a 2-0 lead, but Javi Gracia pulled off masterstroke when he sent on Gerard Deulofeu in a desperate attempt to rescue the tie. 

A sublime finish from the Spaniard with 11 minutes to go gave them a glimmer of hope and he then completed the comeback in extra-time after Troy Deeney had shown nerves of steel to convert a last-gasp penalty kick to force another 30 minutes. It was incredible stuff from Watford, but can they top that to upset City in Saturday’s final?

History suggests that is unlikely. As you may already know, Manchester City have not lost a competitive fixture against Watford for 30 years, and if you narrow the results down to the Pep Guardiola era it makes for ugly reading. 

The former Barcelona boss’ first encounter with the Hornets did not produce an emphatic result, but a 2-0 victory showed signs of what was to come and City have now won all six of their meetings with Watford since he took the reins. The Hornets have at least given their supporters something to cheer in recent meetings by scoring in each of their last three games against the Manchester outfit, but I do not expect them to cause an upset and I do not even see them scoring against City for the fourth straight game either.

Defensively City have stepped up their game during the final portion of the season to rack up a string of clean sheets and I do not expect Watford to come out all guns blazing in an attempt to shock their opponents from the start. They are going to sit deep, try to soak up the pressure and catch City on the break, and even if they do go one down they are not going to suddenly abandon that approach in a desperate attempt to equalise – well, not until the late stages of course. After all, the longer Watford can stay in the tie the more they will feel that they can emulate what Watson and Wigan did all those years ago.

But while this current City crop does have a few players left over from that embarrassing loss, this is a very different group to the one that headed to the English capital all of those years ago. They boast a ridiculous wealth of attacking talent, a rock-solid defence and a goalkeeper who can bail them out when he is called upon. That is the recipe for success and it will be the recipe for an FA Cup Final win that sees City win without conceding a single goal. They may not run riot though, so I am going with Guardiola’s men to win 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0.

My second selection for the FA Cup Final is to back Raheem Sterling to find the back of the net anytime. The former Liverpool man has grown considerably as a player and as a man over the course of the past couple of seasons and he has become a real impact player for Manchester City. He may not be as prolific a goal-scorer as team-mate Sergio Aguero, but he has been in fine form in front of goal during the current campaign and he has developed something of a knack for scoring against Watford.

Sterling has netted five goals in his last four meetings with the Hornets and in their most recent encounter he was the star of the show, rattling in a hat-trick in a 3-1 victory for City at the Etihad Stadium. I see absolutely no reason why he cannot shoot down Javi Gracia’s side again at Wembley, capping off a tremendous 2018/19 campaign for the England star.

Tips


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FA Cup Final Live Stream, Tips and Preview - Man City v Watford

Can Manchester City avoid a repeat of that infamous cup final defeat to Wigan Athletic and complete the domestic treble when they face Watford at Wembley in the FA Cup Final?

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