There is no denying that recent history is against Watford in their bid to win the FA Cup for the very first time. Since their return to the Premier League in the 2015/16 season, the Hornets have faced their cup final opponents Manchester City eight times – and lost the lot. Four different managers – Quique Sanchez Flores, Walter Mazzarri, Marco Silva and most recently Javi Gracia – have tried, but all with equal (lack of) success. Eight defeats, four goals scored, 25 conceded: it does not make for pretty reading.
There is hope, however. This season, Watford were beaten by only the single goal at Vicarage Road back in December, and fell to a hat-trick by an inspired Raheem Sterling at the Etihad in early March. Gracia’s men managed to find the net in both meetings – something they hadn’t managed against City in the league for 30 years – and showed enough to suggest they can be a force at Wembley. Let’s take a look at the tactical match-up.