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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 22 October, 2019


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Good afternoon everybody, you’re very welcome along to our minute-by-minute coverage of this year’s FA Cup final between indestructible juggernauts Manchester City and plucky, humble underdogs Watford.

Once upon a time FA Cup final day was right up there as one of the biggest, most unmissable events in the annual sporting calendar. The Super Bowl, Wimbledon, the Masters, Champions Hurdle, Heineken Cup, FAI Cup, Tour de France, All-Ireland finals, FA Cup.

Each one in itself a staple in the yearly sporting diet, you cannot escape the build-up, the daily coverage, all the previews. But alas over the last decade or so with the proliferation of the Premier League and Champions League, the poor old FA Cup just isn’t the seismic event it used to be.

Such sentiments can make someone sound like an old man pining for days of old, but the simple truth of the matter is that the FA Cup does not pack the same punch it did in decades past.

Just about everybody is anticipating a Manchester City win here today, however it is that hope, that chance of the underdog causing an upset which has made (and continues to make) the FA Cup a competition we refuse to give up on entirely.

Watford v Wolverhampton Wanderers - FA Cup - Semi Final - Wembley Stadium Source: Nick Potts

Wigan defied the odds against Man City in 2013 when Ben Watson’s meaty header handed Dave Whelan and Wigan Athletic the famous trophy, with Roberto Mancini sacked just a few days later.

Watford will be hoping to draw inspiration from that performance as they try and prevent Pep Guardiola’s side from becoming the first-ever men’s team in English football to complete a domestic treble of the Premier League, League Cup and FA Cup.

Make no bones about it, the odds are stacked in City’s favour. However Javi Gracia has built an incredibly impressive team since taking over at Vicarage Road since taking over last January.

With players of immense quality like Troy Deeney, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Gerard Deulofeu to boast and a dramatic extra-time victory over Wolves in the semi-finals behind them, the Hornets will be confident they can cause an upset here today.

Kick-off is coming up in just over an hour’s time at 5.00pm, with today’s game live on BBC One if you happen to be near a TV set for the afternoon.

Let’s get started with the team news…

So, today’s teams will line out as:

MAN CITY: Ederson, Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Zinchenko, Bernardo Silva, Gundogan, Silva, Mahrez, Gabriel Jesus, Sterling.

Substitutes: Danilo, Stones, Aguero, De Bruyne, Sane, Otamendi, Muric.

WATFORD: Gomes, Femenia, Mariappa, Cathcart, Holebas, Capoue, Doucoure, Hughes, Pereyra, Deulofeu, Deeney.

Substitutes: : Janmaat, Cleverley, Success, Masina, Gray, Foster, Kabasele.

Some pre-game reading material ahead of kick-off:

Right, 20 minutes to go before kick-off at Wembley. How do you see this one going? Let us know below!

Poll Results:

Manchester City (127)
Watford (62)

What the managers have said…

Pep Guardiola: “If we win, the season is extraordinary. If we don’t I think it’s still extraordinary.

“Watford and Wolves are the best teams outside of the top six. Javi Gracia is an experienced manager from working in other countries and I think he is an excellent guy, an excellent manager and knows exactly what to do.

“They have huge talent up front, many physical players, good on set-pieces and this is a final, we know what can happen. We believe a lot in ourselves and we will have to find the antidote to beat them.”

Manchester City v Watford - Premier League - Etihad Stadium Source: Martin Rickett

Javi Gracia: “We’re going to create chances and if you score like we did when I was in Malaga playing against Barcelona, for example, we won 1-0.

“It was something nobody expected, but it happened and then always you have one chance to win and we have to work for it.

“I’m sure next game against City it will be different, but all the experiences you have help you.”


KICK-OFF: We’re underway for the first half!


First attack right from the get-go for Manchester City. A neat passage of passing play down the lefthand side sees Oleksandr Zinchenko into a promising position. He sends a low cross into the box, but it’s blocked away for a corner kick.


Ilkay Gundogan hooks a cross towards the front post, but the corner backfires as Watford head clear at the first hurdle and battle down the other end thanks to a wicked counter attack. Gerard Deulofeu races clear down the left wing, but Zinchenko gets back in time to provide the tackle.


Aymeric Laporte tries to do his best impression of Vincent Kompany’s wonder-strike against Leicester City a few weeks back. The French defender sees time and space open up invitingly in front of us, has a go at goal, but his effort misses the target.

Manchester City v Watford - FA Cup Final - Wembley Stadium Source: Nick Potts


Another attack for Man City. Riyad Mahrez twists and turns his man cleverly just inside the box before sending a cross towards the front post. David Silva sticks his leg out at it, but Heurelho Gomes catches the weak shot with relative ease.


Largely one-way traffic at the moment. Bernardo Silva is left completely unmarked inside the box and drags a low cross right into the danger zone where Gabriel Jesus is ready and waiting to tap into an empty net. Craig Cathcart reads the danger, though, and provides a crucial interception.


Save! Oh what a chance for Watford. A precise counter sees Deulofeu race free down the right wing. The Spaniard does brilliantly to send a first-time ball right into the path of Roberto Pereyra right in front of goal. He has a one-on-one opportunity to take the lead, but his low shot from point blank range is saved by Ederson.

Manchester City v Watford - FA Cup Final - Wembley Stadium Source: Mike Egerton


Pereyra will be absolutely kicking himself he didn’t put that one away. Manchester City have been dominated the opening proceedings of this game, but that right there was the biggest chance so far. A one-on-one with Ederson right in front of goal, but Pereyra scuffed the ball low along the ground right at the goalkeeper. He should have done better.


Another great chance for Watford on the counter, but the referee prevents the attack from blossoming by halting play for a free-kick. Troy Deeney was on the receiving end of a sloppy kick from Aymeric Laporte, with Gerard Deulofeu was ready to race clean through on goal.


Pep Guardiola’s men beginning to dominate proceedings again after a hairy few minutes there. Both Kompany and Laporte are pushing high towards the halfway line, causing Watford to be smothered inside their own half.


The Watford fans are having a ball out there at the moment. A cracking atmosphere inside Wembley for a great occasion. This is the Hornet’s first FA Cup final in 35 years and the supporters are soaking up every minute of it right now.

Manchester City v Watford - FA Cup Final - Wembley Stadium Source: Mike Egerton


Despite Guardiola’s men enjoying the lion’s share of possession, Deeney, Deulofeu and Pereyra are doing a great job of putting their opponents under pressure. Kyle Walker and Oleksandr Zinchenko do want to get forward time after time, but are more and more cautious of leaving gaps in behind.


Big, big shouts for a penalty and the Watford players are surrounding referee Kevin Friend. A shot from inside the box by Abdoulaye Doucoure was blocked away by Vincent Kompany, but the midfielder is adament that it came off the Man City captain’s arm. Friend waves play on.


There will naturally be a lot of debate about that potential handball, but subsequent replays appear to show it was the right decision by Kevin Friend there. The ball did strike Kompany on the arm, but he was making it very intentional to keep it tucked in very tightly and hidden away.



Man City take the lead! David Silva wins a header inside the box, the ball comes back in his direction and Silva slams a brilliant low volley into the far corner past Heurelho Gomes after nudging off the challenge of Kiko. A fine finish.


That’s a serious sucker punch for the Hornets. That chance for Pereyra earlier on may well come back to haunt him. City have been enjoying all the ball, but Watford have done themselves justice holding out and carving out odd chances on the break. They have a mountain to climb now after Silva’s precise finish.


Half an hour on the clock now and the temperature inside Wembley has risen since that Silva opener to break the deadlock. Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva are causing all sorts of problems on both flanks, buzzing around with incredible energy to try and snatch a second.


A fantastic interception from Adrian Mariappa there. Gabriel Jesus was peeling away to get a shot off inside the box, but the centre back did brilliantly to cover the space and get a big toe to the ball and hook it clear. A lot of pressure on Watford at the moment, wave after wave of City attacks asking a lot of questions.

Manchester City v Watford - FA Cup Final - Wembley Stadium Source: Mike Egerton


Zinchenko takes aim from distance, but once again Mariappa is the bravest man to throw himself in the firing line. He provides an important block to give Man City their seventh corner of the game so far.


Ilkay Gundogan with the delivery, it earns another corner, but the second delivery from the German again fails to pick out a team-mate. The midfielder’s crossing has been really poor so far this afternoon.



Man City double their lead six minutes before the interval! Bernardo Silva picks out Gabriel Jesus with a glorious, inch-perfect cross lofted into the box. Jesus strikes low and manages to beat Gomes, however Raheem Sterling is waiting on the goal-line to boot it over and make sure.


Goal-line technology was really called upon there over who to give the goal to, Jesus or Sterling. Either way, it’s another massive blow for Watford to suffer so close to half-time. Javi Gracia would have desperately wanted to get his troops into the dressing room with damaged limitations and no more than one goal down. He has a huge task on his hands now.


Kiko Femenia bashes a long-range effort deflected out for a corner kick as Watford try and rally late on in the first half. Gracia’s men are desperate to try and halve the deficit to give them some semblance of hope of turning this around.


There was are, halfway there. It’s been a tough opening 45 minutes for Watford to swallow with goals from David Silva and Raheem Sterling giving Manchester City a 2-0 lead heading into the break.

It all could have been so different if Roberto Pereyra had converted that brilliant one-one-one chance against Ederson early on. Pep Guardiola’s men have dominated in terms of shots on goal and possession, but Watford have held their own in patches.

Relying on opportunities on the counter-attack, Troy Deeney, Pereyra and Gerard Deulofeu have caused a number of issues for City’s defence.

However two massive sucker punches — firstly Silva’s composed low finish and Sterling’s close-range strike shortly before the break sees the Hornets with a mountain to climb after the break if they are to turn this around.

Otherwise, it’s a historic domestic treble for Guardiola’s men. More action to come very shortly!

Two quick chances at both ends as the second half kicks off in dramatic style. Watford come close as Troy Deeney is picked out free inside the box, however he decides against shooting and instead his pass is intercepted. At the other end Raheem Sterling tests Gomes with a low effort at his near post, but the goalkeeper saves with his legs.

Manchester City v Watford - FA Cup Final - Wembley Stadium Source: Nick Potts


Man City have the ball in the back of the Watford net, but it won’t count. Gabriel Jesus rises highest from a corner and heads into the back of the net, but the linesman rightly raises his flag for offside.


Jose Holebas swings a dangerous free-kick into the box. It has plenty of whip and bend about it, but Vincent Kompany is first to meet and he heads the danger clear. Watford really putting it up to City since the interval.

Another shout for a penalty from Watford, but once again it’s waved away by referee Kevin Friend. Manchester City make their first switch of the evening, with Kevin De Bruyne on to replace Riyad Mahrez.

Britain Soccer FA Cup Source: Kirsty Wigglesworth


De Bruyne almost makes an immediate contribution. He takes the ball out wide on the right and curls an inviting ball into the mixer, forcing Craig Cathcart to hoof the ball out for a corner kick. The defender had no other option there.


Aymeric Laporte rises to meet Ilkay Gundogan’s corner swung into the box, but the French defender fires just wide of the target. Plenty of power behind the header, and if on target it easily might have been 3-0 there.

Chance for Watford down the other end. Deulofeu peels away from Kompany and manages to eek out a low effort which bundles towards Ederson’s far corner. It looks like the chance might creep into the bottom corner, but Deulofeu’s effort snags just wide of the post.

Manchester City v Watford - FA Cup Final - Wembley Stadium Source: Mike Egerton


David Silva picks up the game’s second yellow card. The Spanish playmaker slipped on the ground and lost possession, but illegally stuck out his hand to try and stop Gerard Deulofeu racing through to create a chance.


It’s three! And what a way to get it. Only on the pitch a matter of minutes, Kevin De Bruyne rounds Heurelho Gomes with brilliant composure and slots the ball into an empty net to make it 3-0 and surely put this FA Cup final to bed. A brilliant counter-attack by Sterling and Jesus set the Belgian on his way, and he applied the finishing touch.


This very well could be a record FA Cup final if Man City keep this up. Gabriel Jesus comes close to adding a fourth, with Pep Guardiola’s men like hungry bloodhounds out there at the moment yearning for more and more goals.


Two changes from Javi Gracia for the final 25 minutes now. Andre Gray comes on to replace Gerard Deulofeu, while Isaac Success is on for Roberto Pereyra. How different this game could have been had Pereyra put that chance away in the first half.


Dear oh dear, this is turning into an absolute rout out there. Gabriel Jesus races clear on goal after Watford pushed men forward looking for something to cling onto. He looks at Gomes and with cold precision slots the ball underneath the goalkeeper. Poor old Watford, it’s 4-0 in an FA Cup final.


Almost a fifth straight away. Kevin de Bruyne sees the ball fall in a plate inside the box, he curls aiming for the top corner on his left foot, but the Belgian fails to hit the target and blasts over the bar. This is just one-way traffic right now.


Substitutes on both ends now. Leroy Sane comes on to add some firepower in the final third for Man City. Pep Guardiola clearly isn’t satisfied with just the four goals, so he had decided to bring on another forward in place of Ilkay Gundogan. Tom Cleverley replaces Will Hughes for Watford.

Watford rally down the other end looking to put a bit more respectability on the scoreline with at least one goal of their own. 4-1 would look a lot better than 4-0, but Troy Deeney can’t find the target from just inside the box.

Britain Soccer FA Cup Source: Tim Ireland


Pep Guardiola’s men just playing keep-ball now, stringing pass after pass together all over the pitch. Watford look absoutely broken out there right now. Ten minutes to go and they are flat out on their feet. It’s been a massacre.


A final substitution for Manchester City. David Silva, who broke the deadlock with that tidy volley from inside the box, comes off to a loud chorus of applause. John Stones takes his place, as City try and maintain their clean sheet.


It’s five! This has turned into an absolute nightmare for Watford as Raheem Sterling grabs his second of the evening. Bernardo Silva gets to the byline with a classy dribble, sends a low cross into the box and Sterling provides the finish to beat Gomes right in front of goal. Incredible.


The current record for biggest FA Cup final win is Bury 6-0 Derby achieved way back in 1903. Manchester City have just under ten minutes left to try and match, or even surpass that record. Amazing scenes.


Nearly six. Bernardo Silva collects possession just outside the box and fires a powerful left-footed effort on goal. It almost creeps into the top corner, but Gomes comes from his line and tips the ball over the crossbar with a decent stop.


Sweet Jesus, what on earth is happening out there. Raheem Sterling grabs another to equal the record for biggest-ever FA Cup final. Kevin de Bruyne sends in a low cross, Sterling sees his initial effort saved by Gomes, but the England international follows up and taps into an empty net to make it 6-0.


There will be two minutes of stoppage time to come at the end of the second half.


It’s all over! A historic day in a historic season for Manchester City as Pep Guardiola’s men seal the FA Cup with a dominant 6-0 victory over Watford.

David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Kevin de Bruyne were all on target as Man City add the FA Cup to their Premier League and League Cup crowns.

It could have been so different after Watford passed up a few close chances during an even opening 20 minutes. However once David Silva broke the deadlock it was only ever one-way traffic.

It became a little bit embarrassing for the Hornets in the second half, with Guardiola’s men absoutely dominating proceedings to equal the record for the biggest-ever FA Cup final victory.

Thanks a million for joining us this evening — you can read our full match report here. Cya soon!

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About the author:

Aaron Gallagher


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