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Manchester City do not do things by halves. The club has spent an inordinate amount of money under the ownership of the City Football Group to bring in the very best players and Pep Guardiola has added an extra level of intensity to the team since taking over as manager three years ago. That approach clearly stretches to celebrations as evidenced by the jubilant Man City players and staff who took to the pitch at the Amex Stadium after the team secured the Premier League title by beating Brighton 4-1.
Guardiola took full part in the celebrations, telling the media that he simply had to allow his players the chance to toast their success after such a draining campaign. The partying in Brighton and Manchester was a one night thing only though as Guardiola demanded a swift return to work to ensure Man City are suitably prepared to deal with the threat of Watford in the FA Cup final.
Watford have proven themselves to be a very good team this season. Everybody at the club is now pulling behind Javi Gracia with the team spirit that’s been built on full display during their FA Cup semi final against Wolves. The Hornets fought back from a desperate situation at 2-0 down to win 3-2 in extra time. They earned their place in the final the hard way and will be ready to capitalise on the slightest glimpse of a hangover or lack of preparation on behalf of Man City.
Man City 2/9 (William Hill)
Draw 6/1 (bet365)
Watford 14/1 (Betfred)
(Please note all odds correct at time of article publishing)
The bookmakers don’t believe that Sunday’s festivities will have an negative impact on Manchester City’s chances of claiming an unprecedented domestic treble. Liverpool did incredibly well to keep the title race alive up to the final day of the season as the Citizens are the best team in the country by some distance and it would be a major surprise were they to slip up at Wembley Stadium where they have a strong recent record.
That said, there isn’t much wiggle room in a best price of 2/9 with William Hill. Yes, Man City are the worthy favourites and should see the job out but Watford are not just there for the day out. There is a real steeliness about this Watford team which is combined with top quality players all over the pitch. The Hornets should also be relatively fresh as it was clear that everybody at the club had half an eye on the FA Cup final as their performance levels in the final few games of the Premier League season seemed to drop.
Watford will come out of the blocks very fast on Saturday afternoon and could just catch Man City cold. It took a Brighton goal to spark the Citizens into life last weekend and we could be in store for something similar at Wembley. That suggests taking a bit of a risk by betting on Man City to win the match from behind could pay out handsomely at 8/1 with Coral.
Man City 2-0 @ 11/2 (Sportingbet)
Man City 3-0 @ 6/1 (Unibet)
Man City 1-0 @ 7/1 (Ladbrokes)
Man City 2-1 @ 8/1 (bet365)
Man City 4-0 @ 10/1 (Coral)
Man City 3-1 @ 10/1 (William Hill)
The Correct Score is another great place to turn in the search for profit from a match in which both teams will play a part. Even if Watford do surrender a lead they are not going to capitulate like Brighton did on Sunday. Indeed, they should be able to at least keep the match alive going into the closing stages which, ironically, is what Brighton managed to do in their FA Cup semi final with Man City.
You could choose to bet on the final goal of the game coming in the last 15 minutes which is available at 17/20 with Betfred but a better option may be the 2-1 correct score at 8/1 with bet365.
Sergio Aguero 14/5 (Ladbrokes)
Gabriel Jesus 3/1 (Paddy Power)
Raheem Sterling 4/1 (bet365)
Leroy Sane 5/1 (Betfred)
Riyad Mahrez 11/2 (Totesport)
David Silva 9/1 (Sportingbet)
Bernardo Silva 9/1 (Betfred)
Kevin De Bruyne 10/1 (bet365)
The lack of a single Watford player in the top eight options of the First Goalscorer market tells you everything you need to know about the strength in depth available to Pep Guardiola. He may choose to start with largely the same team that took to the field at the Amex in which Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling will be heavily backed or maybe he’ll shuffle the deck and allow Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane the chance to start.
The strength of the Man City options does mean there is some very good value about Watford’s best attacking players in the First Goalscorer Market. Gerard Deulofeu changed the game when he was introduced off the bench against Wolves in the semi final and looks a great price to make an earlier impact by scoring the first goal of the FA Cup final at 20/1 with bet365.
Man City to win from behind at 8/1 with Coral
Gerard Deulofeu to score first at 20/1 with bet365