As it happened: Brutal City crush Watford's FA Cup dreams
The Emirates FA Cup, semi final, Watford versus Wolverhampton Wanderers; The FA Cup Trophy on display inside Wembley Stadium (photo by John Patrick Fletcher/Action Plus via Getty Images)


Record breakers crowned

Vincent Kompany hoists the FA Cup aloft in a shower of confetti. 

That seems like an appropriate place to wrap up our live coverage. It wasn't really a contest in the end, but this is history being made.

Thanks for joining us. 

Man of the match

Starring sub Kevin de Bruyne is officially the MOTM, but what about Bernardo Silva? No goal for him, but a couple of assists, and a characteristically relentless performance. 

This is the best team in the world right now, and alarmingly this may be only the early stages of a period of dominance. 

FA Cup number six clinched with six goals. Fitting, in a way, for City to round off their sensational season in such dominant fashion. 

Manchester City win the FA Cup

The whistle ends Watford's suffering. That was a contest for in the first 45 minutes, and a slaughter in the second 45. English football's first domestic treble is emphatically sealed. 

90+2' Sane smashes one just wide, looks like it'll only be six.

90+1' My word this has been historic dominance. Only the legs of Gomes deny John Stones a place on the scoresheet. 

90' An authoritative catch from Gomes thwarts City's bid for a seventh. 

Guardiola almost looked embarrassed by the ease of victory. 

87' Sterling's initial effort hits the post but he's on hand to net the rebound. City are currently tying the record for the biggest FA Cup final win, and there's still time left. 

GOAL. Manchester City 6-0 Watford.

Ruthless. Sterling has another. 

86' Nearly number six for City as Bernardo goes through on goal, but he's denied the goal he deserves. 

84' Credit to the travelling Watford fans, who are all waving their flags as a show of appreciation. They've been outclassed, but they can't really fault their team's application. 

81' Great work from Bernardo to work crossing room, and Sterling is on hand to convert his low delivery. No doubt about who that one belongs to. How many more in the last 10 minutes or so?

GOAL. Manchester City 5-0 Watford

And there's five. 

Yellow card

80' Femenia is cautioned for a frustrated challenge on Sane.

Final change

79' David Silva, the man who opened the scoring, leaves the field to a great ovation. John Stones gets a cup final outing. 

78' City mercifully stroking the ball around. This one is understandably fizzling out. 

75' Watford are becoming increasingly desperate just to get on the scoresheet. Capoue rashly powers a shot high and wide.


73' Sane's introduction really could facilitate a massacre here. It's Gundogan who comes off.

Watford's final change sees Tom Cleverley come on for Will Hughes.

71' Watford seek a consolation but Laporte is in the way  of Capoue's strike. 

Moments later, Doucoure fires well over. 

70' A chance for a rapid fifth, but De Bruyne whips it over the top. He has been head and shoulders above the rest since coming on. 

Watford's defensive shape has unravelled

Watford's defensive shape has unravelled and City are putting them to the sword. De Bruyne slots Jesus through, and he calmly slides it underneath Gomes. This could end up being six or seven unfortunately. 

GOAL. Manchester City 4-0 Watford



66' On comes Andre Gray in place of Deulofeu. Pereyra is then swapped for Success.

65' Watford are out of steam now and this could be about to get ugly. De Bruyne teases in a cross which could have ended up anywhere. 

61' The ball breaks to Jesus on halfway, he races clear and finds De Bruyne, who calmly manoeuvres past Gomes and fires it into the empty net. City have won the cup.

GOAL! Manchester City 3-0 Watford

And from Watford's best chance comes the killer blow.

Yellow card

60' A dangerous free-kick for Watford, and a yellow card for David Silva as he trips Will Hughes. This is a big moment. 

Watford chance

58' Deulofeu latches onto a ball over the top, in behind Kompany, but can't make clean contact and pulls his shot past the far post. 

57' Close for City. Laporte's header from the corner loops past the far post. 

57' De Bruyne's first contribution is to whip in a dangerous ball. Cathcart is there to volley it behind.


Pep goes early with his first switch.  Mahrez makes way for De Bruyne. Not a bad sub. 

54' This is a good spell for Watford but they desperately need something from it.

53' Dangerous delivery from Holebas, but Kompany clears it into touch. Roar of encouragement from the Watford support.

52' Watford need something special from Deulofeu and he threatened to provide it there. The Spaniard went past three or four challenges and looked to exchange a one-two with Pereyra but it doesn't quite come off. 

50' Some neat play from Watford in the final third but they're yet to fashion something clear-cut from it. 

48' City think they have a third for a moment as Jesus diverts a header into the corner but the flag is raised.

47' Just like that City race up the other end with Sterling leading the charge. Gomes gets down to stop Jesus' strike. 

47' Watford onto the front foot, as they need to be.

46' City resume the action. They're 45 minutes from history.

The teams are back out and the second half is about to start. 

Super subs?

Might Watford call upon the pace and power of Andre Gray in this second half? He scored the winner in the quarterfinal against Palace.

City can turn to Sane, De Bruyne and Aguero in their efforts to kill this game off. 

Player of the half

Ilkay Gundogan ran the midfield after City took the lead. Watford were given so little time on the ball. He's ensured Fernandinho's absence hasn't been felt. 

Watford need to produce a historic comeback from here. You did fear when Pereyra squandered that opportunity at 0-0 that they would be made to pay. 


City defend the corner well and have reached the break with a commanding advantage. 

45' Hughes has a shot blocked before Femenia's hopeful drive takes a touch off a City man and goes behind. Important corner.

44' It's now all about Watford ensuring they have something to play for in the second half.

42' A slight panic in the City box before Ederson gathers. A goal before the break would be a blessing for Watford.

40' City fancy getting out of sight before half time. Mahrez forces Gomes into a save and it's another corner.

39' Bernado Silva clips one through towards Jesus, he prods past it Gomes, and Sterling is there on the line to make sure. Watford need a miracle to win the cup now. 

GOAL! Manchester City 2-0 Watford

39' Is that realistically the goal that settles it? 


37' Zinchenko's deflected effort wins City a seventh corner, swiftly followed by number eight.

33' There were signs of promise for Watford before the goal but now the focus is just getting to half time at 1-0. A big tackle from Mariappa halts a very dangerous advance.

29' Mahrez steps inside and fires well over to relieve the pressure on Watford.

28' Watford have been knocked by that goal and City smell blood. Corner kick for the blues.

GOAL! Manchester City 1-0 Watford

Manchester City have struggled to get going, but they have the lead. Doucoure clumsily loses the ball in midfield, Sterling sees a shot blocked, but it loops to David Silva, who finds the corner via a deflection. 1-0 City. 

25' City looking to take a grip of the game. They have another corner after Jesus' shot was deflected out.

23' Relief for Watford as Gomes gets nowhere near a lofted cross but the ball is hacked clear.

22' VAR says no penalty. Kompany was moving his arm away from the ball. But Watford are really fired-up here and are causing City problems. 

21' Watford want a penalty as Doucoure sees a shot blocked  by Kompany in the area. He gets cautioned for his aggressive appeals. VAR will surely check this...

19' Even though they've spurned the game's golden chance, Watford will be reasonably happy with how this first portion of the game has panned out.

16' Watford get the ball clear, but no counterattack this time. 

16' Another corner for City.

14' Watford are furious as the referee pulls play back for a free-kick with Deulofeu racing forward. 

13' Mahrez currently looks the biggest threat over on the City right.

12' Simple stop for Gomes as Bernardo attempts a low shot from outside the box. 

Massive chance!

11' Out of nothing it's a glorious opportunity for Watford. The Hornets put together a slick counter, which ends with Deulofeu sliding it across to Pereyra. The goal is gaping, but Ederson gets in the way of the shot. They might well live to regret that. 

10' The game is beginning to settle into its likely pattern. Watford sitting back as City exert some pressure. A corner for the Premier League champions here... cleared.


7' Chance for City. Bernardo sneaks to the byline and looks to cut it back for Jesus, but Watford crucially cut it out. The first real warning sign. 

4' Laporte with the game's first shot, a long-range effort which he lifts well over the top.


3' A good intensity about Watford in these opening stages.


1' City look to make a fast start and win a corner as Femenia blocks Zinchenko's cross


Gerard Deulofeu kick starts proceedings at Wembley. 

Moments away now from the start of what is always one of the biggest games of the football season. 

The FA Cup doesn't skimp on its pre-match rituals. The  national anthem is now being belted out. 

Prince William is among those shaking the hands of the  lined-up players. 

Just a reminder, VAR is in use today. It hasn't been particularly kind to Man City this season...

The teams emerge

A huge roar and a scattering of fireworks as the two sides emerge from the tunnel.

As is traditional, it's time for Abide With Me

The pre-match fanfare is in full swing now. We have a giant banner spanning the pitch, sporting both badges.

The last word from the managers

Pep Guardiola, speaking to BBC Sport:

"We have incredible respect for Watford. They can play long balls, they can pass, they have everything. But we are here to try and win the game."

Javi Gracia:

"It is a very special day, not only for me but for the players, supporters and the entire club. The most important thing is to compete... It is not easy, we have played twice against them and lost this season. But we have scored goals in both games and competed so I’m sure we will have our chances."

City are gunning for their sixth FA Cup crown here. That would move them level with Blackburn and Newcastle, and just one behind Liverpool.

Watford, to remind you, are in the hunt for a first major trophy. It's only their second FA Cup final appearance following a defeat to Everton back in 1984. 

Half an hour to go until kick-off. Atmosphere building, and warmup underway. 

Watford team news

Deulofeu and Deeney lead the line for the underdogs. 

Heurelho Gomes starts in goal in his final game ahead of retirement.

Team in full: Gomes; Femenia, Mariappa, Cathcart, Holebas; Capoue, Doucoure; Hughes, Pereyra; Deulofeu, Deeney. 

Manchester City team news

The headline team news for City is that Gabriel Jesus starts over Sergio Aguero.

Fernandinho misses out, while Kevin de Bruyne is on the bench.

Team in full: Ederson; Walker, Kompany, Laporte, Zinchenko; Gundogan, D. Silva, Mahrez; Bernardo, Jesus, Sterling.

Countdown to kick-off

That wraps up the build-up for now. Join us at around 16.00 for all the team news. 

Pep identifies set-piece threat

As ever, Guardiola is anything but complacent. He is aware of plenty of weapons in Watford's arsenal.

"They have quality in front with Roberto Pereyra, Troy Deeney and Gerard Deulofeu; with Abdoulaye Doucoure and Etienne Capoue - especially Doucoure - and the way they turn up late into the 18-yard-box.

"They handle the defensive side well and with the set-pieces they have, they have Jose Holebas, who is an incredible set-piece taker."

No change in Watford preparations

Watford boss Javi Gracia was in a relaxed mood as he faced the press earlier this week. 

He understands the extent of the challenge but has not felt the need to change his approach. 

"We try to show our best face and play as best as possible and have a good performance. After that we'll see if we are able to achieve the trophy.

"We try to prepare as usual. We don't do anything different this week. We try to analyse the rival, prepare the sessions and try to be ready to compete in the next game. In this case it is to play against City. It's tough as they are the champion of the Premier League. We know it but we know we will have our chances and we are ready to play."

Team news

Kevin de Bruyne, a substitute on the final day against Brighton, could feature for City.

Fernandinho has also been passed fit, but Benjamin Mendy remains absent.

Crucially for Watford, Deulofeu has recovered from a dead leg.

Jose Holebas was sent off last time out against West Ham but has had the ban rescinded by the FA. 

Who do City need to be wary of?

It's difficult to pick out particular dangermen in City's all-conquering side, but who could be Watford's hero?

It would certainly be fitting if skipper Troy Deeney, who has been with the club for nine years, was to land their first major silverware. He'll look to make himself an almighty handful for City's defenders.

But surely Watford will principally look to Gerard Deulofeu, who netted an outrageous goal in the semifinal, to produce some magic. 

League meetings

City ran out victorious in the sides' two league clashes this season. 

In December, they withstood late pressure to win 2-1 at Vicarage Road, while in March a Raheem Sterling hat-trick downed the Hornets.

Watford mustered just two attempts at The Etihad. They'll need to provide a much sterner test here.

Routes to the final

City characteristically romped through the first three rounds of the competition, brushing Rotherham United, Burnley and Newport County aside. But they have been made to work for their place in the final, as Pep Guardiola's men had to come from two goals down to beat Swansea in the quarterfinals, and only scraped past Brighton in the last four.

Watford, meanwhile, dispatched Woking, Newcastle, QPR and Crystal Palace before producing a sensational comeback win against Wolves in the semifinals. It was the kind of result which may have convinced them it's meant to be.

Can Watford spring a surprise?

The odds are stacked against Watford, but City have been on the end of cup final shocks before. Six years ago, they were denied glory by a relegated Wigan Athletic.

Watford might draw inspiration from those events as they go for their first ever major trophy. 

History beckons for Manchester City

Less than a week after clinching their second consecutive Premier League title, Manchester City can make history with victory here. They can become the first team in the history of English football to win a domestic treble. And it's safe to say they're heavy favourites.


Hello and welcome to VAVEL UK's live text commentary of one of the biggest days in the football calendar: the FA Cup final. I'm David Comerford and I'll be taking you through all the action at Wembley.