Manchester City West Ham Premier League Tactical Analysis

Manchester City are having a wonderful season, and the Citizens will love it if they cap it off with triumph in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium this month. True, Pep Guardiola’s side could not get past Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League, but having won the Carabao Cup and the Premier League title – their second in as many years – they will now have their eye on the FA Cup.

The FA Cup has lost importance in recent years, with top teams such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United focusing on the Premier League and the Champions League. The cup still has its old charm, though, and the run of unfancied Watford is a testament to that. However, in terms of squad strength and quality of players, there is no competition: Manchester City are the clear favourites heading into the final, which is reflected in the FA Cup betting odds on bet365.com – the Citizens are 1/4 to win, while the chances of Watford emerging victorious in the final are rated at 10/1.

City manager Guardiola will field his strongest available lineup, meaning that Watford will have to face the full brunt of David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling among other players. The Citizens have had a gruelling and trying season, but the players are professionals and will be determined to get the job done. Moreover, Wembley Stadium is a historic ground, and manager Guardiola will want to make a success for himself there four times in the space of two years. City have won the EFL Cup twice on the bounce and the FA Community Shield last season, but under Guardiola, the Citizens have not clinched the FA Cup.

City, though, cannot get complacent, as in Watford, they will face a side who will relish being the underdogs. After all, no one will have expected Javi Gracia’s side to progress as far as the FA Cup. In the run to the final, they have had to get the better of Newcastle United, Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers among other teams. Some could argue that they got the luck of the draw – after all, teams such as Woking and Queens Park Rangers were always going to lose to the Hornets – but there were tricky and difficult ties against Premier League rivals Palace and Wolves to contend with.

Watford’s football is not exactly pleasing on the eye and the Hornets do not have a bunch of superstars, but what they do have are hard-working footballers who know their strengths and are fully aware of their weaknesses. Gracia has been a huge managerial success in the Premier League for Watford, and the Spaniard will not try to be bold or will attempt anything fancy. They will know that their best way to cope with City is to play on the counter-attack, and they will make it hard for Guardiola’s team.

Prediction

Manchester City have arguably the best squad in England, and the Citizens should be able to comfortably win against Watford. It could end up 3-0 to Guardiola’s team.