It was a title race for the ages. A heavyweight battle that saw Manchester City and Liverpool push each other all the way to the final game of the league season. Ultimately, City would prevail, becoming the first side to win back-to-back league titles since 2009 and finishing the season with a scintillating run of 14 victories in a row. Having defeated Chelsea on penalties in the EFL Cup Final back in February, the FA Cup Final is the last remaining hurdle in the pursuit of a historic domestic treble.
At this point, it feels like stating the obvious when making the case that this Manchester City team may very well be the best side of the Premier League era. Having posted a record-breaking 100 points in 2017/18, City followed it up with a 98-point season that left Liverpool behind them, with the highest ever points total for a 2nd placed team. Champions League aside, they have been all-conquering.
For City, progress through the FA Cup has been more sedate than their league campaign. Five-time winners of the FA Cup, last lifting the trophy in 2011, City have eliminated Rotherham, Burnley, Newport, Swansea and Brighton en-route to reaching this year’s final. Whilst a Champions League victory represents the ultimate goal for Manchester City, becoming the first team to ever complete a domestic treble will surely go some way to softening the blow of once again coming up short in European competition.
Watford reached their first final since 1984 having progressed from arguably the tie of the tournament. With a little over 12 minutes left of the 90, Watford looked dead and buried, 2-0 down to Wolves in the semi-final. Enter Gerard Deulofeu; the former Barcelona man giving the Hornets a sniff at a comeback with an impudent curling shot in the 78th minute. Extra-time was brought about from the penalty spot, when Troy Deeney smashed home an equaliser, before glory – and one of the greatest FA Cup comebacks of all time – was delivered when Deulofeu slotted home in extra-time.
Watford have had a good season, finishing three positions higher and nine points better off than the previous season. However, they will likely enter this game feeling that they could have achieved more in the league. Finishing the season with three losses in a row meant that Watford finished in the bottom half of the table in Javi Gracia’s first full season in charge.
Manchester City are overwhelming favourites for victory against Watford at 5/22 (1.23). Despite their fairy-tale comeback in the semi-final, Watford are firm outsiders at 10/1 (11.00) to lift the trophy.
Manchester City have been unstoppable in domestic competition over the past months, having won 18 fixtures in a row in the Premier League, EFL Cup and FA Cup. Watford meanwhile have lost three in a row and suffered defeat twice at the hands of The Citizens this season. We, therefore, cannot see anything other than a City win.
Of note, in both games against Manchester City in the league, Watford were able to get on the scoresheet while losing, with semi-final hero Gerard Deulofeu bagging a goal in the 3-1 defeat at the Etihad. We can see Watford grabbing a goal again, so back Manchester City to win and both teams to score at 9/5 (2.80).*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of going to print.
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