Competition/Round: 2018/19 FA Cup – Final
Date/Time: Manchester City vs Watford – Saturday, 18 May 2019, 17:00 GMT (UK); 12:00 EST, 09:00 PST (USA)
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London, England, United Kingdom
Referee: Kevin Friend
Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, Matthew Wilkes
Fourth Official: Graham Scott
Reserve Assistant Referee: Edward Smart
VAR: Andre Marriner, Harry Lennard
TV Info: BBC One, BT Sport 2 (UK)
Live Stream: BBC Sport Live (UK); ESPN+ (USA)
Radio: BBC Radio Manchester (UK)
Whilst the 2018/19 Premier League season ended on Sunday, England will see one final senior men’s domestic club match before the summer break. Manchester City will face Watford at Wembley Stadium in the FA Cup Final on Saturday.
Manchester City will look to complete an unprecedented treble as they travel to Wembley. The Sky Blues already won the Community Shield, EFL “Carabao” Cup and EPL title this season, and will look to end the season by obtaining another piece of silverware.
Meanwhile, Watford fought hard this season to reach the final. Their dramatic victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup Semi-Final showed their ability to persevere in any difficult circumstance, and the Hornets will do whatever it takes to win this match.
Manchester City are without the injured Claudio Bravo and Benjamin Mendy. Fernandinho and Kevin De Bruyne are back in training.
Watford’s Domingos Quina and Sebastian Prodl are injured. José Holebas, who was sent off in the EPL match against West Ham United last week, had his red card overturned and is available for this fixture.
Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Zinchenko; Gündoğan, Fernandinho, D. Silva; Sterling, Agüero, B. Silva
Manager: Pep Guardiola
Gomes; Kiko, Mariappa, Cathcart, Holebas; Hughes, Chalobah, Doucouré, Pereyra; Deeney, Deulofeu
Manager: Javi Garcia
On paper, this appears to be a very one-sided match. Over the past three seasons the Sky Blues have faced the Hornets on six occasions. During this period, Manchester City won all six of these EPL matches and outscored their opponents by an aggregate score of 21 to three. City will also be confident heading into this match as they recently retained the EPL title.
They should proceed with caution, however, as anything is possible in a cup final. Veterans Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Agüero were all involved in the infamous defeat to Wigan Athletic in the 2013 FA Cup Final, and this trio will look to banish these bad omens as they travel to Wembley on Saturday.
Watford, on the other hand, won a difficult match against Wolverhampton Wolves in the FA Cup Semi-Final last month, and the Hornets will look to channel this energy as they prepare for the final. Should the Hornets win, they would earn a place in the 2018/19 Europa League qualification process. Watford have not competed in a European competition since the 1993/94 season, and having finished in eleventh in the 2018/19 EPL table, it would mean the world to the fans if the Hornets were to win the FA Cup Final and then qualify for European football.
If the Hornets hope to achieve this feat, they will need to rely on forwards Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu. In addition, it is rumoured the FA Cup Final may be goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes’ final appearance in a Watford shirt. The 38-year-old Brazilian has been with Watford since 2014, and it would be a fitting swan song should his side lift the trophy in what may be his final appearance with the club.
Nonetheless, it is hard to argue against a Manchester City victory. Stranger things have happened in football, but the Sky Blues already won three major trophies this season and have performed well when under pressure. City earned 14 consecutive victories toward the end of the 2018/19 season to win the EPL, and it is predicted they will conclude this remarkable run with another victory. Watford will give Manchester City problems during this match, but by full time the Sky Blues will have completed the unprecedented treble.
Manchester City 3-1 Watford