FA Cup Final Preview and Championship Sunday Recap

Manchester City are champions of England again! Their 4th title in 8 seasons and the first back-to-back title since Manchester United did it in 08-09. They had the 2nd most points (98) in a single Premier League season, only behind last year’s total of 100. Let’s go through how it all happened on Sunday.

This Season: 211-168-48 (+15.9 Units)
Championship Sunday: 4-6-1 (-2.5 Units)
+15.9 units = $100 bettor has won $1,590 this season)

Liverpool hosted Wolves at Anfield needing a win and a result in Brighton who hosted Manchester City. One point separated them at the start of the day and Liverpool knew that they needed a miracle if they wanted to be champions. All Man City had to do was win. Here’s a minute-by-minute breakdown.

1′: Both matches kick off.
17′: Sadio Mane puts Liverpool ahead in the 17th minute, putting Liverpool atop the live standings.
27′: Just 10 minutes later, Man City go behind thanks to a Glenn Murray header. At this point Liverpool sit in the drivers seat as City would need two more goals to win the title. The energy at Anfield was electric with the thought of their first title in almost 30 years.
28′: 1 minute and 20 seconds later, Sergio Aguero responds with a goal to nullify Brighton’s lead.
38′: City start to pick up the pace and score a 2nd before halftime thanks to an Aymeric Laporte header. Liverpool fans at Anfield begin to quiet and the blue side of Manchester takes a massive sigh of relief.
63′: A Riyad Mahrez blast gives City a commanding 3-1 lead as they begin to put one hand on the trophy. Liverpool would need a Brighton miracle comeback in a half hour.
72′: The title is won as Ilkay Gundogan rips a free kick into the top right corner to make the score 4-1. City fans begin to sing Championes.
81′: Liverpool score a consolation goal as Mane grabs his brace. He then becomes level with Salah and Aubameyang with 22 goals for the Golden Boot award.
90′: Manchester City win their 4th Premier League Title.

Credit to Liverpool who had the third best season in Premier League history, their season should never be called a failure no matter how many trophies they win. And they still have arguably the biggest one of all to play for; the Champions League on June 1st. But Man City have now had the two best Premier League seasons back to back and won 14 straight to clinch it this season. They may very well end up being the greatest Premier League team of all time and a lot of that credit deserves to go to Pep Guardiola. They’ve elevated the standard in England and it surely can’t go unnoticed.

Manchester City’s season isn’t completely done either as they have an FA Cup Final with Watford this weekend. I’m here to preview it.

FA Cup Final; Manchester City v. Watford, 12:00 pm EST

To give you a scope of what the FA Cup means to English football, it’s 148 years old (the oldest competition in the world), it includes 736 teams from all around the UK, and up until the last 15-20 years it was the most coveted trophy in all of England. Both teams have a lot at stake as Man City look to be the first ever team to win the domestic treble while Watford will be in their first FA Cup Final in 35 years and if they win they will qualify for the Europa League next season for the first time in 35 years as well.

Manchester City are obviously coming off of the high of winning their second straight league title so I don’t expect them to be as laser focused as they were this past weekend. But I do expect them to be fully fit and healthy as they’ll have a week off and Kevin De Bruyne will be 100% for this match. Some people think they’ll have little motivation but I can guarantee you that Pep, and the rest of the squad, really want to be the first team that wins the domestic treble. They’re trophy hungry and they’ll be taking this Final very seriously.

But as I said earlier, Watford aren’t going to make this easy on City. They’ve done decently well against top clubs and FA Cup history is in their favor. Not only have Man City been susceptible to upsets in the FA Cup, but FA Cup Finals are historically and especially recently very tight. Man City have gone 1-1 in the modern era of the FA Cup Final including a shock loss to Wigan and only a 1-0 win against Stoke City. Adding to that, only once in the last 14 FA Cup Finals has a team won by more than one goal (Arsenal 4-0 against Aston Villa). This is going to be one of the biggest matches in Watford history and I can guarantee you they won’t make this easy for City.

In regard to the total of 3 goals, I like the over in this as well. 5 of the last 7 Finals have had at least three goals, both meetings this season between the two clubs have had 3 goals with an average of 3.5, and over their last five meetings there has been an average of 4.4 goals per match. Both teams like to attack and if you combine their last four matches in the FA Cup, three of them have had at least 3 goals.

I think this match will be very tight and contentious to start before City eventually break the deadlock. But I don’t think Watford will give in or make it easy for City for this entire match. They’ve done that this entire competition and haven’t been bad against the top clubs this season. With the spread at 2 and the over/under at 3, I like the underdogs and the over. I think it’ll either be 2-1 or 3-1, which provides a likely win/push scenario for either bet. Watford (+2, -125) and Over 3 goals (-120).

Stay Kickin’ It. Peace.

Twitter: @nicodegallo

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