Two Spanish coaches, Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola and Watford’s Javi Gracia, are set to face off against for the FA Cup title.
City have yet to win the FA Cup title under Guardiola, but this time they are a step away from the trophy and a historic domestic treble, having won the Premier League and EFL Cup crowns.
No team in England has won the domestic treble in the same season. Only Manchester United came close in the 1998-1999 season, when they won the Premier League and the FA Cup, but failed to clinch the EFL Cup, although they got to win the UEFA Champions League in the same season.
After hoisting the Premier League trophy, with a one point advantage over runner-up Liverpool and defeating Chelsea on a penalty shootout in the EFL Cup final, City will return to Wembley stadium seeking out the fourth title this season, having earned the Community Shield crown.
They have not lost in their 14 recent Premier League matches and have defeated Watford in the most recent 10 clashes between both teams, including this season’s two league matches 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium and 2-1 at the Vicarage Road.
City’s Fernandinho is doubtful for the game, having been on the sidelines with a knee injury since late April, as will be Kevin de Bruyne, who had playing minutes against Brighton after recovering from hamstring discomfort.
At the other end of the field, Watford have never won a title and they are a win away from lifting their maiden trophy, having been runners up in the 1983-1984 FA Cup, a year after ending the first tier league season second.
In the 1983-1984 final, they fell short against Everton after a remarkable run that saw them prevail over Plymouth Argyle, Birmingham City, Brighton, Charlton Athletic and Luton Town.
This year, they have defeated Woking, Newcastle United, Queens Park Rangers, Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers on their way to the final.
City, meanwhile, bested Rotherham United, Burnley, Newport County, Swansea City and Brighton.
Watford had good news ahead of the game as the English soccer federation decided to lift a one-match ban initially imposed on defender Jose Holebas, who was sent off in his team’s last Premier League game of the season.
Midfielder Etienne Capoue has also joined the team, having already recovered from a groin injury.
Wolves will be watching the game closely with the hope that City win the title as this scenario will allow the seventh-placed team to qualify for the Europa League, while Watford will keep the ticket for themselves if they win.
The possible lineup:
Manchester City: Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Zinchenko; Gundogan, D.Silva, B. Silva; Mahrez, Sterling and Agüero.
Watford: Foster; Janmaat, Cathcart, Mariappa, Holebas; Doucouré, Capoué, Hughes, Femenía, Pereyra; and Deeney.
Referee: Kevin Friend.
Venue: the Wembley stadium at 4 pm GMT. EFE