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FA Cup odds: No stopping treble-chasing City

Manchester City vs Watford Match Preview and Predictions

Manchester City head to Wembley for the FA Cup final looking to win an unprecedented domestic treble.

[All odds correct at time of publication]

City won the League Cup in a penalty shoot-out with Chelsea in February and at the weekend came from behind to beat Brighton to retain their Premier League title by one point from Liverpool.

Watford go into the FA Cup final with just one win in their last six and Sunday's 4-1 home defeat by West Ham meant they finished in the bottom half of the table.

Match information

When is it? Saturday 18th May

What time is kick-off? 17:00

Where is it being played? Wembley Stadium

Which channel is it on? BBC One/BT Sport 2

Who is the referee? Kevin Friend

Manchester City vs Watford Betting Tips

Here are our best tips for the FA Cup final for which we have a range of other markets available:

The lowdown

Newly-crowned Premier League champions Manchester City start the FA Cup final as 2/9 favourites to beat massive 13/1 underdogs Watford - and with good reason.

City beat the Hornets home and away in the Premier League this season and have won their last 10 meetings, including back-to-back FA Cup ties in 2013 and 2014, with a goal aggregate of 32-6.

Indeed, Watford's last victory over City came 30 years ago in the old Division Two and a 2-1 win against Tottenham aside, their record against top-six sides this season has been abysmal, losing 11 of their 12 matches.

Javi Gracia's side are slightly fortunate to be back at Wembley having trailed Wolves 2-0 in the semi-final with 11 minutes to go, only for substitute Gerard Deulofeu to pull one back with an audacious flick before Troy Deeney dispatched an injury-time penalty after he had been fouled by Leander Dendoncker.

Deulofeu then completed the comeback in extra time with a neat finish across the face of goal to send the Hornets to their first FA Cup final since 1984.

City also had to fight back from two goals down to beat Swansea 3-2 in their quarter-final but otherwise had a comfortable route to the final during which they scored 20 goals, conceding just twice, although the standard of the opposition was much lower than the teams faced by Watford.

Despite losing 11 times to elite teams, Watford scored in seven of those 12 games, including both games against City, so the first of our FA Cup betting tips is for Pep Guardiola's side to win and both teams to score at 19/10.

Watford were the fourth highest performers in the both teams to score table this season and 10 of their last 12 matches in all competitions would have paid out as BTTS tips.

First goalscorer tips

Raheem Sterling has enjoyed plenty of success against Watford in recent times, scoring the opening goal in his last two matches against the Hornets.

In four Premier League appearances for City against Watford he has netted five goals so the England international is our pick from the first goalscorer odds at 16/5.

Anytime goalscorer tips

Manchester City are firm favourites in the FA Cup betting which means five of their players are less than 2/1 to find the net at Wembley so we're backing a Watford player in the hope of a bigger return.

Making use of set-pieces will be important if Watford are to cause an upset and it is notable that they have scored 12 goals from set-pieces in the Premier League compared to City's 11 despite having scored 43 goals fewer in total, while nine of the 23 goals City have conceded were from set-pieces.

Glenn Murray highlighted City's vulnerability from corners with Brighton's goal on Sunday and having scored three headers from corners this season, including against Tottenham, we're backing Craig Cathcart in the anytime goalscorer odds at 18/1.

Where the game will be won or lost

Manchester City ended the Premier League season with 14 successive victories and a slip-up in any of those would have seen Liverpool crowned champions.

Their nerve has certainly been tested and City have not been blowing teams away at all times, with the opening goal not coming until the second half in three of their last four games.

It has been a similar story in their meetings with Watford this season and the Hornets could be forgiven for looking to keep City at bay for as long as possible before grabbing a late winner.

That was how Wigan caused a famous upset in the 2013 FA Cup final when Ben Watson's injury-time header stunned City, who have strangely not appeared in the final since then.

Leroy Sane opened the scoring in the 40th minute when City beat Watford 2-1 at Vicarage Road in December and the breakthrough came after 46 minutes in the return game at the Etihad Stadium in March.

With that in mind, we'll add the first goal to be scored between 41 and 50 minutes at 13/2 to our FA Cup predictions.

City wasted little time adding to their lead in both of those games, especially in March when Sterling's hat-trick in the space of 14 minutes put them in control before Deulofeu pulled a goal back for Watford.

That was the second time in the last three meetings that City have beaten Watford 3-1, with a 2-1 win sandwiched in between, and City to win 3-1 again appeals at 10/1 as the last of our FA Cup tips.

Team news

Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho missed the final three games of the champions' Premier League title run-in with a knee injury, but returned to training this week. Kevin De Bruyne could also feature after returning from a hamstring problem as a substitute at Brighton last week but left-back Benjamin Mendy has been ruled out through injury.

Watford defender Jose Holebas is available after his red card in the final Premier League game of the season against West Ham was rescinded by the Football Association. Boss Javi Gracia has a decision to make in goal between Ben Foster and Heurelho Gomes, who has played in every round of the competition.

Traders' Tips - View from the trading floor

Watford lost 11 of their 12 Premier League games against the top six and conceded at least two goals in all six matches away from Vicarage Road. They have the firepower to cause City's defence a few problems and backing plenty of goals looks the bet here, with over 3.5 available at 13/10.

Acca Bonus up to 100% - Place a treble or higher across any sport and if it wins, we'll boost your winnings in cash. Remember to check that all your selections are higher than 1.50 (1/2). T&Cs apply.

Andrew McDermott
@a_mcdermott in Football