Football Previews

FA Cup final: Man City v Watford predictions, preview & expected XIs

By Steve Jennings

Published: 19:53, 16 May 2019

Manchester City take on Watford in English football’s showcase event, the FA Cup final, this weekend.

Pep Guardiola’s side are aiming to become the first ever men’s club to complete the domestic treble in England, while Watford will be desperate to spoil the party with a first FA Cup in the club’s history.

Fresh from sealing the Premier League title last weekend, City are the obvious favourites, but Watford’s progress to the final has shown they should not be underestimated.

Read on for TV channel info, head-to-heads, predicted line-ups and more.

When is Man City v Watford?

Competition: FA Cup

Date: Saturday 18 May

Venue: Wembley Stadium, London

Kick-off time: 17:00 BST

Where can I watch live?

In the UK, the game will be broadcast live on BBC One and BT Sport 2, channels 101 and 414 respectively for Sky viewers, and channels 101 and 528 respectively for Virgin Media customers. BT Sport subscribers can also watch the game online at and via the BT Sport app.


City have won 13 of their last 15 meetings with Watford across all competitions, drawing the other two. Watford haven’t beaten the Citizens since a 1-0 second division victory in March 1989.

In the FA Cup, the sides have met six times. City have won the last three of those encounters, prior to which Watford won once and drew twice.

Man City wins: 17 Draws: Watford wins: 6

Match preview

It will be a battle of the Spaniards at Wembley this weekend as Guardiola’s favourites Manchester City take on Javi Gracia’s batting Watford side.

City will be confident of securing yet another trophy but they will be cautious of the threats Watford possess, particularly after what happened in the 2013 FA Cup final.

Expected to waltzed past relegation-battling Wigan Athletic, City crumbled under Roberto Mancini and lost 1-0 to a Ben Watson header. The players who were present on that day – the likes of Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero – will be eager to avoid a repeat.

That said, finals are often tight affairs and Watford will be confident of creating chances against a City side already in celebratory mood.

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Can Man City make even more history?

For most of the season, the prospect of Manchester City winning the quadruple come June 1 was much talked about. In the end, the pressure to achieve that unlikely feat might have played a part in City’s defeat to Tottenham in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Since that crazy night at the Etihad, however, City have pulled it together and focused on their remaining aims. Winning the Premier League title was wrapped up at Brighton. Now there is just the small matter of the FA Cup.

The quadruple was the dream, but a treble shouldn’t be scoffed at. City will be the first senior men’s team to win the English top-flight, FA Cup and League Cup in the same season if they beat Watford on Saturday, marking another milestone in Guardiola’s extraordinary tenure to date.

What’s more, it will be another trophy the former Barcelona boss can tick off his ridiculously long list.

Will Gerard Deulofeu put on another Wembley show?

If Watford are to stop an extremely determined City side, they will need to show a similar level of drive to their semi-final comeback against Wolves.

But in reality, drive and determination can only get you so far. You need quality, too, as City have shown all season. And in Gerard Deulofeu, Watford possess a player who can turn it on when required. His semi-final brace was a joy to behold, particularly his excellent first goal.

With City set to attack Watford at every opportunity, the counter-attack is the Hornets’ best bet. And with that in mind, there is no better player than Deulofeu to start alongside Troy Deeney, who can knock the ball down for the Spaniard when Watford are able to escape the City press.

Ultimately, Watford need Deulofeu to be at his best if they are to have any chance of lifting the trophy on Saturday.

Team news

Man City are still waiting to find out whether Fernandinho will be fit to return to the team for the final after missing the end of the Premier League campaign with a knee injury. Kevin De Bruyne recovered from a hamstring problem to play a part from the bench against Brighton and should be fine on Saturday.

As for Watford, Jose Holebas had the red card he received on the final day of the Premier League season against West Ham rescinded and so is available. Etienne Capoue is back after a lay-off with a groin injury, but Domingos Quina and Sebastian Prodl  are still sidelined.

Predicted Line-ups

1. Pep sticks with the team that got the job done at Brighton

This being the very last game of City’s season, Guardiola is set to go all out against Watford. That said, he won’t want to risk further injuries to De Bruyne after a difficult season for the Belgian, so City could line up with the exact same XI that got the job done at Brighton.

That means Riyad Mahrez retains his place, looking to end the season on a high after his goal against Brighton which put the title beyond doubt.

Predicted Man City XI (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Zinchenko; D. Silva, Gundogan, B. Silva; Sterling, Aguero, Mahrez.

2. Deulofeu gets the not over Gray

Despite Andre Gray’s improvement towards the end of the season, Gracia will surely reward Deulofeu and Troy Deeney after their match-winning exploits in the semi-final.

Watford will require Deulofeu’s capacity to use the width of the pitch to get in behind City.

Predicted Watford XI (4-2-2-2): Foster; Femenia, Kabasele, Cathcart, Holebas; Doucoure, Capoue; Hughes, Pereyra; Deeney, Deulofeu.

Squawka prediction

Watford are likely to find openings against City, that much is certain. But even if the Hornets find the net, Guardiola’s men should have too much quality for their opponents. A famous treble is on the cards, and City’s players should get the job done.

Manchester City 3-1 Watford.