Manchester City – Watford: How A Thrashing Can Show The Way To Defend Against Manchester City (6-0)

It is difficult to give a coach or a team credit after losing 6-0, especially in a cup final. However, against this extremely dominant Manchester City team, any kind of new ideas on how to defend are significant. Javi Gracia, who proved himself as one of the most successful coaches of the season by overachieving in the league as well as reaching the FA Cup final, had an interesting solution to stop Manchester City. However, after a few decisive moments went wrong, it all fell apart.

Tactical analysis and match report by Cem Soylu.

The FA Cup final! Saturday, late afternoon, Wembley. Another edition of the final of the most iconic domestic cup in the entire game. Watford’s path to the final included Newcastle United, Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Still no easy task, but still a lot more enviable than having to play multiple top clubs. Manchester City’s most difficult opponents were Brighton and Burnley. Wolves did the heavy lifting for them, knocking out both Manchester United and Liverpool, while Tottenham Hotspur tripped over Crystal Palace.

Pep Guardiola went for one change from his title clinching game against Brighton, with Gabriel Jesus replacing Sergio Agüero up front. He went for his accustomed 4-3-3 shape. Javi Gracia picked what can be considered his strongest starting eleven, in the nominal 4-4-2 shape. He had them lined up in very different roles, both in and out of possession which caused changes in the overall shape. In possession Watford operated in a 4-2-3-1 formation . . .

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