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May 18, 2019 at 5pm UK
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Man City on verge of history ahead of FA Cup final

:Headline: Man City on verge of history ahead of FA Cup final:
The two clubs do battle in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.
PA | 9d

Manchester City will head to Wembley on Saturday on the brink of history.

After last weekend’s Premier League title triumph, now only unfancied Watford can prevent Pep Guardiola’s exhilarating side from becoming the first team to win the domestic treble.

Most of the build-up to the FA Cup final will focus on City and their breathtaking achievements in the past two years.

It is not a foregone conclusion, after all City suffered FA Cup Wembley heartache when they were stunned by lowly Wigan in the 2013 final.

But City are a club more serene under Guardiola than they were in the chaotic final days of Roberto Mancini’s, admittedly successful, reign six years ago.

Manchester City were stunned by Wigan in the 2013 FA Cup final (Anthony Devlin/PA)

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss not only advocates slick and attractive football, but demands the highest standards in terms of performance, fitness and attitude.

Whatever celebrations there might have been after City finally saw off Liverpool in a compelling title race on Sunday, Guardiola’s history suggests there will be little loss of focus.

The Spaniard simply does not tolerate complacency and Watford, who finished a distant 48 points behind City in 11th place, are clearly going to have their work cut out.

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City wrapped up the Premier League title last weekend are in the hunt for a domestic treble (Nick Potts/PA)

Despite chasing glory on other fronts, City have taken the FA Cup seriously from the off. They fielded a strong side and thrashed Championship Rotherham 7-0 in the third round and were similarly ruthless against Premier League Burnley, winning 5-0, in round four.

They needed a big slice of luck to see off Swansea in the quarter-finals and the semi-final defeat of Brighton was a grind, but Wembley is the perfect stage to crown a magnificent campaign.

The likes of Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero – outstanding all season – will relish the occasion.

Watford, however, will not want to make up the numbers.

Watford have not had the greatest of success against Manchester City in recent years (Martin Rickett/PA)

Admittedly, recent history is not on their side. The Hornets have lost all eight of their clashes with City since returning to the top flight, including 6-0 and 5-0 thrashings at Vicarage Road. There were also FA Cup losses in 2013 and 2014.

But under the tactically astute Javi Gracia, Watford have enjoyed a positive campaign. Reaching the cup final may have taken the edge off their league form in recent weeks – they lost their last three games to fall out of contention for seventh place – but they are a capable side.

They are defensively strong while Etienne Capoue and Abdoulaye Doucoure have midfield bite. They also utilise the wings while Gerard Deulofeu and Troy Deeney are a threat up front.

Watford forwards Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu will be out to prevent Manchester City from adding the FA Cup to their growing trophy haul (Simon Galloway/PA)

Watford have not appeared in the FA Cup final since 1984, but after losing to Everton their Wembley appearance is best remembered for the showbiz quality brought to the occasion by Sir Elton John.

Watford will want to let their football do the signing this time – to pull off one of the great cup final shocks.



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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38322495237298
2Liverpool38307189226797
3Chelsea38219863392472
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs382321367392871
5Arsenal382171073512270
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd381991065541166
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38169134746157
8Everton38159145446854
9Leicester CityLeicester38157165148352
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham38157165255-352
11Watford38148165259-750
12Crystal Palace38147175153-249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174248-645
14Bournemouth38136195670-1445
15Burnley38117204568-2340
16Southampton38912174565-2039
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3899203560-2536
RCardiff CityCardiff38104243469-3534
RFulham3875263481-4726
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3837282276-5416
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38322495237298
2Liverpool38307189226797
3Chelsea38219863392472
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs382321367392871
5Arsenal382171073512270
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd381991065541166
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38169134746157
8Everton38159145446854
9Leicester CityLeicester38157165148352
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham38157165255-352
11Watford38148165259-750
12Crystal Palace38147175153-249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174248-645
14Bournemouth38136195670-1445
15Burnley38117204568-2340
16Southampton38912174565-2039
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3899203560-2536
RCardiff CityCardiff38104243469-3534
RFulham3875263481-4726
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3837282276-5416
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