MANCHESTER CITY have beaten Watford twice this season in the Premier League. It was the same last season – when City scored six at Vicarage Road. The season before? City scored five on Watford’s turf. In fact, to find a Watford victory over Man City, you have to go back to 1989.

This is not a good way to sell an FA Cup final.

Even a competition based on underdog tales of legend requires a contest in its showpiece and the bare results suggest that Watford might need Andy Dibble to still be the City goalkeeper to give them half a chance.

Others agree: this has the appearance of a one-team final. Watford are 12/1 outsiders in a two-horse race.

This analysis says that even the reduced status of the FA Cup as a competition and as a national occasion may not protect Watford because at stake there is something City desire. It is more than just another trophy: Pep Guardiola’s side could become the first ever to win a domestic treble of league, League Cup and FA Cup since the League Cup began in 1960. In that sense, it could be an historic day.

“No teams in England have done it before,” said Guardiola. “We have the chance.

“The FA Cup is not an easy title to achieve or get to the final. We are going to a majestic stadium at Wembley to win it.

“We’re so, so tired but winning is also so addictive.”

It sounds ominous for Watford.

Guardiola spoke in the wake of Sunday’s retention of City’s Premier League title at Brighton. It was the first time the League title had been retained since Sir Alex Ferguson did it with United in 2009.

There was a glow to City on the south coast and many flattering words were written regarding the style and guile of Guardiola’s squad. Some say they are the best ever team in England.

There were caveats, though, because however beautiful City’s football is under the great Catalan coach, the conversation always returns to the source of modern Manchester City’s power: Abu Dhabi petro-dollars.

That City are the subject of four investigations into their wealth cannot be overlooked simply because Bernardo Silva has done something brilliant again.

Any sporting institution whose financial clout is obvious and distorting receives this scrutiny – deservedly – but it has aggrieved City as a club and as a fanbase that there has been a renewed focus on the club’s accounts in a week bookended by a League title and a Cup final. Their glory has been tarred.

City’s players singing about Liverpool has hardly helped their cause. It will stoke the rivalry between the two.

The scrutiny will continue. All City’s recent achievements will come with an asterisk and it will infuriate Guardiola as he knows money alone does not guarantee success.

You only have to go back to the 2013 final to see that. City were Abu Dhabi-owned then and reached Wembley. They were heavy favourites to beat Wigan Athletic. But Wigan won with an injury-time header from Ben Watson. Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero played that day.

It meant City ended a season without a trophy and 48 hours later manager Roberto Mancini was sacked.

What Guardiola has done is on a different plane to Mancini. Yet Wigan can be an example to Watford. So, too, can Swansea, who were 2-0 up against Guardiola’s men in the last eight only to lose 3-2. Those goals prove the City defence can be beaten.

Watford manager Javi Gracia knows this; in the two losses to City this season, Watford have scored. In Troy Deeney, the Hornets have a potent centre-forward and a leader. Gerard Deulofeu is a creative force, Abdoulaye Doucoure is a powerful midfield presence who could fit into a bigger club. At the back, Craig Cathcart has been a rock.

At the end of last season Watford won only one of their last nine, losing six and finishing 14th. They were nominated as relegation candidates for this season but won their first four, including against Tottenham, and rarely looked back. They finished 11th but were it not for the cup, it would have been higher.

As with City in the quarter-final at Swansea, Watford were 2-0 down in the semi-final against Wolves. Goals from Deulofeu and Deeney turned the game and Watford won 3-2 in extra-time.

The club has never won a major honour. After Wolves striker Andre Gray considered meeting City in the final and said: “We can outplay teams... and when it’s not going our way we can play dirty. We’ll go in as underdogs but we’ll be there to make history.”

Suddenly it sounds like a cup final.