Manchester City vs Manchester United: FA Cup Final Prediction and Preview


Match Preview

Manchester United and Manchester City will contest arguably the most-anticipated FA Cup final in recent memory at Wembley on Saturday. A single match it may well be, but its significance stretches beyond just this weekend given the wider context of the achievement City are chasing.

United’s status as the only English team to ever achieve the treble – that’s the top tier league title, FA Cup and European Cup/Champions League – has come under real threat in the past couple of years, and many would consider City near certainties to match that feat this season after winning the Premier League. After all, they’re firm favourites on Saturday and against Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League final a week later.

Fitting, then, that United can have a direct say in the matter. The first ever major final between the two neighbours will have Pep Guardiola’s side looking to further their all-conquering ambitions, while Erik ten Hag hopes to lift a second trophy in what would subsequently be perceived a very positive first season, if it isn’t already.

“I understand, of course, the feelings from the fans about it,” Ten Hag said of the final and City’s treble chase. “We will do everything to give them the second trophy – everything that I have, everything the team has, the staff have, we will give everything to get it done.”

United beat Newcastle United in February to win the EFL Cup, meaning victory on Saturday would see them clinch a domestic cup double for the first time ever. But City are different beast. The way they simply – well, that’s how it seemed – elevated their level when it mattered most in the Premier League title race was hugely impressive, racking up 12 wins on the bounce to leave Arsenal in their dust. Now they can become only the third club to win a league and FA Cup double more than once if they are successful at the weekend.

Such occasions may not be quite as frequent for United as they once were during the Sir Alex Ferguson era, though historically they are a club used to going deep into the competition. This will be their 21st FA Cup final, a joint record with Arsenal.

Of course, the flipside to that is a defeat on Saturday will mean they’ve lost more FA Cup finals than any other team (nine), but it’s surely better to have reached that stage than not, right?

Either way, the task ahead of United is seismic. City are the highest scorers (17) in this season’s FA Cup and potentially 90 minutes away from lifting the trophy without conceding once, something no team has done since Bury in 1903.

On top of that, City dominated our Premier League Team of the Season, with Erling Haaland, Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri, Manuel Akanji and Ruben Dias all enjoying stellar campaigns. United had no representatives, though with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes, they clearly have weapons that can hurt the EPL champions.


Most United fans will hope some City stars are ruled out before the weekend, and Guardiola has suggested Dias, De Bruyne and Grealish are among those doubtful. Given his track record, however, it wouldn’t be remotely surprising to see all three named in the starting XI.

Ten Hag will be without Anthony Martial and Lisandro Martinez, while the availability of Brazil winger Antony remains unclear after he was carried off on a stretcher during the win over Chelsea last week.

Previous Meeting Line-ups

Man Utd: David de Gea, Tyrell Malacia, Raphaël Varane, Luke Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Bruno Fernandes, Christian Eriksen, Fred, Casemiro, Antony Martial, Marcus Rashford. Used Subs: Harry Maguire, Lisandro Martínez, Antony, Scott McTominay, Alejandro Garnacho.

Man City: Ederson, Kyle Walker, Nathan Aké, Joao Cancelo, Rodri, Manuel Akanji, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, Erling Haaland, Riyad Mahrez. Used Subs: Jack Grealish.

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