The FA Cup Final – Manchester City v/s Watford: Match Preview

manchester City Watford-match Preview

Wembley Stadium hosts Manchester City and Watford in the final of the FA Cup, 2019. The Hornets looking to be a major roadblock in Manchester City’s quest for an unprecedented domestic treble, the latter having already won the Carabao Cup and the Premier League titles this season, in addition to the Community Shield.

Road to the Final

Watford started out strongly, dispatching non-league side Woking by 2-0, before overcoming Newcastle United with the same scoreline. A 1-0 win over QPR followed, and Watford conceded their first goal in the cup to Crystal Palace, but ended up outscoring them by 2 goals to 1 to clash with Wolves in the semi-final.

The semi-final with Wolves was enthralling and pulsating, for Watford fell 2-0 behind to Doherty and Jimenez’s goals, before Gerard Deulofeu stepped up and took the game by the scruff of the neck. His cheekily scooped goal set the stage for a late comeback, and Watford grew steadily in confidence before Troy Deeney was fouled in the box with the game into stoppage time. The captain himself stepped up to take the resulting spot kick, and converted it to send the game to extra time. Deulofeu then scored in 104’ to complete a remarkable comeback.

Manchester City’s road to the final was a relatively comfortable one, but one in which they soared through with flying colours. After a 7-0 thrashing of Rotherham, a 5-0 demolition of Burnley followed 20 days later. In the 5th round, they faced Newport County of the 4th division of English football, beating them 1-4.

Great determination, and a slice of luck was required to overcome an extremely determined Swansea City side, who not only went toe-to-toe with the champions, but were actually 2-0 up on the night. However, City’s cavalry proved to be a little too much in the end, and Swansea succumbed to a 2-3 loss. The semi-final against Brighton was a much milder affair, with an early Gabriel Jesus goal enough to see the Citizens through, and to set up a date with Watford in the final.

Key Battles:

  • Troy Deeney v/s Man City centre halves

Troy Deeney is a classic no nonsense, old school, tough customer type of player. He likes to keep the defenders on their toes, and throw them off their game with his movement and physicality. Should tough tackling Vincent Kompany start, their battle will be one to behold. Either way, it will be interesting to see him against the more technical Stones or Laporte.

  • Leroy Sane’s Future

Leroy Sane has not featured as often this season, and speculation is ripe about Bayern Munich looking to potentially pounce on any contract unsettlements. It will be interesting to note what Guardiola decides for tomorrow with the transfer window now open.

Score Predictions:

I believe that Pep Guardiola has his heart and mind set on establishing total Manchester City domination over English football for years to come, and sees the domestic cups as pivotal to his plan. This is substantiated by the strength of the teams he has picked at every stage of the competition, and I expect the thought of achieving an unprecedented treble will appeal to him greatly. Although Watford do indeed have quality in every department to cause an upset, I expect City to continue their league form and pick up their 3rd major trophy to cap a superb season.

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