The FA Cup Final, a fixture with so much history, rolls back around this weekend. On Saturday evening it will be Manchester City and Watford stepping out to face each other at Wembley. For Watford, this will be just their second ever FA Cup Final appearance, and they remain looking for their club’s first title. As for Manchester City, this is their chance to secure a domestic treble this season. The odds on Man City to beat Watford are as short as 1/5* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on May 16th, 2019 at 4:57 p.m.)
Man City 1/5
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on May 16th, 2019 at 4:57 p.m.)
After their tremendous Premier League title, Manchester City have one final challenge left in front of them this season. Are they going to be a relaxed unit when they step out at Wembley, that’s really the question? The chase of their title defence was mentally exhausting, but they handled it brilliantly winning their final fourteen games of the campaign.
So that pressure has been lifted, they have celebrated and now they have the chance to create even more history. Manchester City have won fifteen of their last sixteen games across all competitions (L1). It’s staggering form it really is. They have won 20 of their last 22 games in all competitions (D1 L1) when you look back a little bit further. The draw in that sequence was their EFL Cup penalty shootout success against Chelsea in February.
Manchester City are looking for their sixth FA Cup title. Surprisingly, for how much they have been at the forefront of English football. Their last FA Cup title was back in 2011 when they beat Stoke 1-0. That was their first FA Cup title since 1969.
That 2011 success over Stoke though was not their most recent FA Cup Final appearance. They went to Wembley as red hot favourites against Wigan in 2013. However, that game produced one of the biggest FA Cup final upsets for a long, long time as Wigan stunned them by coming up with a 1-0 win.
Manchester City took a 2-1 and a 3-1 win over Watford this season in the Premier League meetings. City’s dominance over the Hornets goes back much further than that though. The Citizens are on a ten-match winning streak against Watford in all competitions. That run started with a 3-0 FA Cup third round win over Watford in 2013. They met a year later in the fourth round, City banking a 4-2 win. From their six previous FA Cup meetings, Manchester City hold a W3 D2 L1 record.
The Hornets made their one and only appearance in the FA Cup final back in 1984. They went up against Everton on that occasion and suffered a 2-0 loss in the game. There was a bit of controversy there though. Everton’s second goal, scored by Andy Gray looked as if had been after a foul on the Watford goalkeeper Steve Sherwood, Gray heading the ball from his hands. After facing a winding-up petition in 2012, the club has come a long way since being saved.
The end of the season has not been a particularly easy one for Watford by any stretch of the imagination. They have won just one of their last six games in all competitions, losing four of those. They finished up the Premier League season with a three-match losing streak, conceding a total of nine goals in that sequence. Maybe they had one eye on their FA Cup because their struggles really started since their semi-final win over Wolves.
That semi-final was a thriller. They were 2-0 down at Wembley with just over ten minutes to go. A piece of individual brilliance from Gerard Deulofeu got them back in the game. Then their comeback took a step further as Troy Deeney converted a penalty in the 90th minute of the game. It was then Deulofeu who popped up with a winner in the 104th minute to complete the epic comeback which had looked so unlikely for so long in the game.
But can they shake off that slump in end of season form and find the right formula to find a way to stop Man City?
One more victory does it for Manchester City. Just one more win and they will get their hands back on the Premier League title. It has been such a stunning run of wins from them under the greatest of pressure from Liverpool in the title race.
They have one final ninety minutes to complete and they can’t take their foot off the gas, thinking this is simply in the bag. The odds on Manchester City to win to nil are at 1/10* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on May 6th, 2019 at 9:40 p.m.) which highlight their supremacy.
Man City 1/10
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on May 6th, 2019 at 9:40 p.m.)
Manchester City have won their last thirteen Premier League matches. That is what they have had to string together in order to put themselves in with a shot at making it back to back titles. They have been pushed every single step of the way by a powerful Liverpool team and the response that Pep Guardiola’s men have produced has been pretty amazing.
They ensured that they go into the final weekend of action a point clear at the top. They did that with a nervy home win over Leicester last Monday, the game settled by a single stunning strike from distance by captain Vincent Kompany. So that leaves them knowing that another win will secure the title.
If they fail to get that victory then they will need help from Wolves who are at Anfield facing Liverpool on Sunday. That is the very thin line between success and failure in this season’s Premier League title race
The fact that they are away from home on this final day of the season, does make the game a little bit interesting. They don’t have the comforts of being on home soil and having the home support pulling them across the line. But then Manchester City have been on top of things in their away fixture. They are currently on a six-match winning streak in the top flight away from home and their defence has been nothing short of fantastic.
Overall this season Manchester City have produced an away record of W13 D2 L3 and in that sequence of eighteen games, they have given up just ten goals. That is an average of 0.56 goals per away game. So strong has their defence been that less than half of Manchester City’s away games have gone over 2.5 goals. In total it has been a clean sheet for City in 61% their Premier League away fixtures.
The defence of Manchester City has actually been key in getting them this close to a title defence. Usually talking about City it is all about their attacking power. However, three of their last four wins in the top flight have been by a 1-0 scoreline (the other was a 2-0 success). So it has been the tiniest of margins from the Citizens, but they have found ways, by hook or by crook to get on the board and to blank their opponents.
In total Manchester City have tallied up ten clean sheets in their last twelve Premier League games (conceding just two goals in that sequence). They don’t care really if it is another 1-0 success that they take on the road on the weekend. That’s good enough, that is all they need.
Incidentally though, of their thirteen away wins, nine of them have been by a margin of at least two goals. Manchester City are currently on a 21 match scoring streak in the league and they have found the back of the net in each of their last ten away games. They have been leading at halftime in 11 road games.
This game may have had an extra edge if Brighton were still having to play for their Premier League status. They don’t. They are over the finish line and safe so they can breathe a sigh of relief. Brighton have drawn three of their last four league games though and their most recent one was against Arsenal last weekend. Liverpool fans will be hoping that the Seagulls can pick up another draw.
The home form of Brighton has not been good. They have lost three of their last four (D1) and in their last eight home games have produced a W1 D2 L5 record only. The Seagulls have failed to score in five of their last eight EPL home games. It has been an average of exactly one goal per game at the Amex Stadium from this season. In their other home games played against teams currently in the top four, Brighton have lost all three, all by a one-goal margin only.
City may once again just have to find a way to win, even if it’s their ugliest goal of the season. They just need something. Given the low scoring threat of Brighton, City will know that two goals is likely to give them a win here. But still, given the recent run of results the odds on Man City to win by a one-goal margin is at 13/5* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on May 6th, 2019 at 9:40 p.m.).
Manchester City have won five of their last seven visits to Old Trafford now and they badly need another one when they go there on Wednesday evening. The Citizens still have the fate of the Premier League title in their hands. It’s four games to go including this one and Man City know that if they produce four wins, they win the title again. The odds on Manchester City to beat Manchester United on Wednesday are at 4/9* (betting odds taken from Bet365 on April 23rd, 2019 at 2:42 pm)
Manchester City 4/9
Manchester United 13/2
* (betting odds taken from Bet365 on April 23rd, 2019 at 2:42 pm)
At this stage of the season now it is all about holding their nerve together. The Citizens are four wins from the title and this trip to Old Trafford on Wednesday night, is realistically, the biggest challenge in front of them. Following this, Manchester City will have away games at Burnley and Brighton, which sandwiches a home fixture against Leicester. Talking about holding their nerve, Pep Guardiola’s men did just that on the weekend.
After getting eliminated from the Champions League by Tottenham in an emotional night at the Etihad, just a few days later Manchester City had to play host to Spurs in the Premier League. The Citizens showed their nerve and their mettle with a 1-0 home success over the Lilywhites, getting the job done when so easily they could have crumbled under the weight of their Champions League failure.
That win over the Lilywhites gave the Citizens their tenth straight Premier League victory. That’s some hot streak. During that sequence of games they have claimed victories over Arsenal, Everton, Chelsea and Spurs so have stood up when it matters against some of the stronger sides in the division. The Citizens are on a four-match winning streak away from home at the moment and that is part of an overall read record of W11D2 L3 this season in the top flight.
On top of the powerful scoring that they have produced and are so capable of producing, the Citizens have been rock solid in defence in the league. In their last ten games, they have conceded just the three goals, earning seven clean sheets in that streak of games. In total, they have claimed a clean sheet in 56% of their away games this season, with both teams scoring in just 38% of City’s road fixtures.
Manchester City will be facing a Manchester United side who are having a rough time of things at the moment. The Red Devils have lost five of their last seven games in all competitions and on the weekend were hammered 4-0 at Goodison Park by Everton in the Premier League. It was such a poor and lifeless performance from them, that it’s pretty tough not to peg them as underdogs in this one.
But on the other side of the coin, the Red Devils can’t be as bad again as they were at Everton. This is a special occasion, a derby match at home against their biggest rivals. Surely the Red Devils will find something a little extra to at least be a little more competitive and push City? They should need no extra motivation for such a big game, but do they have it in them? The Red Devils are unbeaten in their last fourteen home games in the league after all.
United have gone W1 D3 L4 in their seven games played against the other Big Six sides this season in the Premier League. Right now Manchester City are clearly the better, clearly the more confident of the two sides stepping out into action in this Wednesday night fixture. But they will know that Manchester United will be a bit more fired up than they were on the action.
But the Citizens have handled themselves well against the top sides this season and they have a lot more at stake in this than their rivals do. That may end up being the difference maker at the end of the day. It may not take a lot for the heads of United to drop, along with their already criticised work ethics, if City gets an early goal on the board. The odds on Manchester City to beat Manchester to nil are at 13/8* (betting odds taken from Bet365 on April 23rd, 2019 at 2:42 pm)
Manchester City saw their dreams of a quadruple this season take a hit as they were knocked out of the Champions League in midweek by Spurs. Manchester City collected a 4-3 second leg home over the Lilywhites but it wasn’t enough to prevent their exit on away goals.
It was certainly one of the most dramatic matches of the entire season on the domestic or European fronts. What next as the two come back together for a big Premier League clash at the Etihad? The odds on Manchester City beating Spurs against are at 1/4* (betting odds taken from bet365 on April 19th, 2019 at 7:07 pm)
Man City 1/4
* (betting odds taken from bet365 on April 19th, 2019 at 7:07 pm)
The intensity of the night at the Etihad in midweek was something special. It’s probably not going to get replicated in this one. The tension though is going to be high. If Manchester City can win their remaining games of the season then the title will be back in their hands. With Liverpool in such good form in the title race, the Citizens can’t afford to drop the ball.
But the nerves will surely be there. Their exit of the Champions League was disappointing. They looked to have done enough to get through, but when Raheem Sterling’s late strike was ruled out for offside, the City players and boss Pep Guardiola were left deflated. That was a big mental hit that they took against Spurs, who were, once again, excellent against City.
This is where it counts for City. But Guardiola now has a tough job of lifting his players. They start the weekend trailing leaders Liverpool by two points but with a game in hand. ALong with this one against Spurs, in their next league game, the Citizens have to go rivals Manchester United. These two games are going to be the benchmark of their title challenge during the run in.
Manchester City have beaten Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United at home this season. That’s no mean feat at all. It is part of an overall home record of W16 D0 L1 that they have taken this season in the top flight. They have averaged over three goals per home game this season as well in the top flight and the Citizens are currently on a seven-match winning streak on home soil now.
Manchester City have scored in all of their home games this term. The difference between this game and midweek’s is that City don’t have to come bolting out of the gates in search of an early goal. They can take their time a bit more which should leave them in better control of things at the back. In this corresponding fixture, last season Manchester City took a 4-1 win over Spurs and they have won six of their last eight home games in the league against the Lilywhites (D1 L1).
Tottenham seem to have figured out Manchester City better than anyone else this season. They were bold in their approach to the midweek meetup. They had no intention of sitting back and letting their defence try and handle things for 90 minutes. They got their rewards because of the pressure they put on the Manchester City backline which made uncharacteristic mistakes.
The star of the Tottenham show once again was Son Heung-Min who has stepped up to the plate once again in the absence of Harry Kane. Spurs have a lot to play for here. A loss and they could easily find themselves outside of the top four at the end of the weekend. The worrying thing for Spurs is their away form.
Tottenham have lost their last four league away games. Two of those were failures in big games against others in the big six, Chelsea and Liverpool, but shock defeats out at Southampton and Burnley in that sequence really saw their road form tumble.
They did still lose at the Etihad in midweek and the problem for Spurs is trying to replicate that kind of performance once again. They probably won’t find City as forgiving at the back.
The midweek meeting was just crazy. However, three of Manchester City’s four home games this season against the other big six have produced at least four goals.
Tottenham do carry an attacking threat and therefore the odds on Man City to win & both teams to score is at 7/5 odds* (betting odds taken from bet365 on April 19th, 2019 at 7:07 pm)
It is getting to a stressful part of the season. Teams in the hunt for winning league titles are feeling the pressure. In the Premier League with just a handful of games to go, Manchester City and Liverpool still can’t be separated.
Before the start of the season, a punter at Ladbrokes had taken Manchester City at 8/11, Norwich City at 25/1, Luton Town at 12/1 and Lincoln City at 15/2 to win their respective divisions in a £10 four-fold.
Lincoln are sat eleven points clear at the top of League Two currently, while Luton are a healthy eight points clear at the summit of League One. So they both look pretty strong to go on and win their respective titles. Norwich opened a gap of seven points at the top of the Championship last weekend with six to play.
So three of the predictions look very stable. However, with Manchester City second in the Premier League, trailing Liverpool by two points with a game in hand, the punter didn’t want to take a chance on City falling short in defending in their title.
They cashed out their bet for a huge £19,620.04 payout this weekend. The bet would have returned over £50k if all four teams picked went ahead and topped their tables.
Ante-post selections (CURRENT ODDS)
Man City to win the Premier League – 8/11 (8/15)
Norwich to win the Championship – 25/1 (1/12)
Luton to win League One – 12/1 (1/8)
Lincoln to win League Two – 15/2 (1/200)
Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: “Our Norwich based winner has watched three of his four selections breeze their divisions in recent weeks, but Liverpool’s resilience at the top of the table has forced an early-cash out to the cool sound of £19k.”
Will the EFL cup final on Sunday, being played at Wembley, simply be a matter of it being Manchester City’s game to lose? With the Citizens in hot winning form and Chelsea team lacking confidence and direction at the moment the odds on Manchester City to beat Chelsea sees the reigning champions are 4/7 odds* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on February 22nd, 2019 at 5:52 p.m.)
Man City 4/7
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on February 22nd, 2019 at 5:52 p.m.)
The form of Manchester City is so strong at the moment. Aside from their blip in a loss against Newcastle in the Premier League at St James’ Park, Manchester City have won thirteen of their last fourteen games played. That’s in all competitions. In midweek they fought back from 2-1 down away at Schalke in the Champions League to win 3-2 and that was with ten men as well.
So the form of City is right on point. They have won their last five games played in a row. They have scored at least three goals in four of their last five victories as well. So they are in top gear at the moment and with their recent power showing of a 6-0 Premier League win over the Blues, the odds on Man City to beat Chelsea to nil are as short as a 13/8 option* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on February 22nd, 2019 at 5:52 p.m.).
Manchester City are the reigning EFL Cup champions having taken a 3-0 win over Arsenal in last season’s showcase match. of the Citizens do go out and take a win over the Blues on the weekend, then it will be Manchester City’s fourth EFL Cup title in the last six editions. So even though this title is low down the pecking order of things that they want to win, they still go hard at it.
That also is a nod towards their depth as well. They haven’t sent out their strongest sides of course for the EFL Cup, but still have scored a total of fourteen goals in four matches, conceding just the one. They are capable of their power showings and they blew Chelsea away at the Etihad when they recently hosted them, within the first twenty minutes. Are things going to be much different for this next clash between them?
Manchester City now have some good head to head form going against Chelsea. This will be the fourth meeting between the two clubs this season actually. They met back at Wembley prior to the start of the season in the Community Shield, with City breezing to a 2-0 success.
Chelsea then became the first team to inflict a domestic defeat on Manchester City this season as they took a 2-0 win over them at Stamford Bridge. That was the first Premier League meeting between them this season, just back at the start of December. Then they met in early February at the Etihad which Manchester city producing their big 3-0 win.
It leaves Manchester City with four wins in their last five games against Chelsea in all competitions including the Community Shield. It goes a little bit deeper than that as well because in each of those four wins over the Blues in that sequence, Manchester City collected a clean sheet as well.
The season has steadily gone downhill for Chelsea after what was a strong start under new boss Maurizio Sarri. Roll on to a 2-0 home loss against Manchester United in the FA Cup just last Monday and Sarri was being booed by the Stamford Bridge faithful. The Blues are W6 L5 in their last eleven games and each of their last six have gone over 2.5 goals actually.
Really tame and uninspiring performances, with the ball being passed sideways and offering little attacking threat have made Chelsea fans restless. Combined with some bruising results, particularly away from home (Chelsea have lost four of their last five games outside of Stamford Bridge) and players looking as if they are lacking fight, it’s not a great picture for them. They were hit with a year transfer ban as well this week.
A win for the Blues and a big upset it would be too, would at least ease some pressure on them. It would put a shine on their season at least as it’s the only shot at domestic silverware that they have. However, the odds on Manchester City to beat Chelsea in the EFL Cup Final paint as strong picture. They look to be head and shoulders above the quality of Chelsea at the moment.