On this day in 2019, Manchester City won the FA Cup - and entered the history books as England's first domestic treble winners.
Manchester City under Pep Guardiola are a team to be taken seriously even on a bad day. Yet while they have been crowned Premier League champions this year, one gets the feeling the 2018-19 season was them at their best. That year, City became the first English team to the domestic treble. In fact, if one counts the Community Shield – as Guardiola does – they were the first side to win all four cups available in England. The treble was completed on this day two years ago. They won the FA Cup final against Watford, capping off a dominant domestic season.
With exactly two years having passed since then, let’s take a look back at the eventful final.
It would be easy to look at the statistics and believe City had it easy. After all, they pipped Liverpool to the league title and beat Chelsea in the League Cup final.
However, City had to be at their utmost best in both instances. The Carabao Cup final was won on penalties. And they won the Premier League by a solitary point.
Liverpool considered themselves unlucky that year – and rightfully so. They lost less matches (1) than City did through the league season (4). But their number of draws (7) outweight City’s tally (4).
Indeed, so fine were the margins at play that if Liverpool beat City that year at Anfield instead of drawing with them, it would be the Reds celebrating a title well won.
However, no one was under any illusions over the favourites for the FA Cup. Watford had finished the league season 11th. They lost both encounters to City – 2-1 and 3-1, respectively.
To be fair to Watford, they managed to keep the score goalless for over 25 minutes. However, once David Silva opened the scoring in the 26th minute, there was a sense of the match being over.
Gabriel Jesus added a second 12 minutes later and City went into the break 2-0 ahead. The second half would be even worse for the London-based side.
Kevin de Bruyne added a third, the cherry on top of a man of the match performance. Jesus then added a fourth before Raheem Sterling scored a brace in the remaining 10 minutes.
This was City’s first FA Cup final since 2013, when they shockingly lost to Wigan Atheltic. It was also their first FA Cup triumph since 2011.