Saturday 18 May: 5pm KO
Live on BBC1
History could be made on Saturday afternoon as Manchester City bid to become the first team to complete an English domestic treble. Only Watford stand between them and adding the FA Cup to their Premier League and Carabao Cup triumphs.
The Champions League may not be heading to the Etihad but Manchester City have won everything else this season. They started with a win over Chelsea in the Community Shield, beat them again in the Carabao Cup final and saw off Liverpool to retain their Premier League title. Cup final day (you never needed to put FA before it) isn’t quite what is used to be. There’s no Jimmy Tarbuck, wrestling with Big Daddy or a 3pm kick-off these days.
The FA Cup does still mean something to those who play in it. None have scored as many goals in the competition as Kettering Town (ok, hands up I support them) and most use the game to play reserve teams but when push comes to shove, they want to be the ones that lift the trophy in May.
Manchester City are 1/6 (1.16) at William Hill to win the FA Cup on Saturday. Their rise to power since the massive injection of cash came along, started with their FA Cup triumph in 2011. Since then, they have won everything but the Champions League.
It’s not been the easiest of routes to the final for them. They were 2-0 down at Swansea City in the quarter-finals and could easily have lost before winning 3-2. They are 2/9 (1.22) to win this game in 90 minutes if your bet is placed with Betfred.
It’s a big month for Sir Elton John with the warts-and-all movie about his life being released, his lengthy farewell tour and of course his beloved Watford in the cup final. He’s not due to be at Wembley on Saturday due to his tour commitments but you can bet the Rocket Man will be watching the game.
It’s been an eventful season for the Hornets. They got off to a great start in the Premier League with four straight wins. Then came a poor run of form with only three wins from the next 11. It’s all been rather inconsistent since then as they tried to get the seventh-placed finish that would have guaranteed them a place in the Europa League next season.
A run of three defeats at the end of the season saw them finish in 11th place on 50 points, just the 48 behind Manchester City. Now if they want to get European football next season, they have to win the FA Cup and Betfred have odds of 9/2 (5.5) on them doing that on Saturday.
To get to this final, Watford have beaten Woking, Newcastle United, QPR, Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers. They looked dead and buried when 2-0 down against Wolves in the semi-final but fought back to win 3-2. The odds on them beating Manchester City in 90 minutes are 14/1 (15.0) at Betfred.
Manchester City last lost to Watford in 1989. Since then there have been 17 games played with 15 wins for City and two draws. The last ten have all been won by City and the last five have all had over 2.5 goals scored in them. William Hill have odds of 1/2 (1.5) the stat comes up in this game.
Watford will have Jose Holbas available for this game. The defender thought he was going to miss out after being sent off against West Ham on Sunday but the red card has been rescinded.
The first goal of Manchester City’s FA Cup campaign was scored by Raheem Sterling. He hasn’t scored in the cup since, so will he get a goal on Saturday? William Hill have odds of 16/5 (4.2) on him getting the first goal in the final. He’s 1/1 (2.0) at Betfred to score anytime in the game.
Manchester City are deservedly the heavy favourites to win the FA Cup. It looks as if Elton will have blue eyes after this game. A bet on Manchester City to win both halves is 7/5 (2.4) at William Hill.