The 142nd FA Cup final will feature a Manchester derby for the first time when treble chasing Manchester City and vengeful rivals and EFL Cup winners Manchester United square off on Saturday afternoon underneath the famed structure of Wembley Stadium.
The Red Devils are vying for the renowned trophy for a 13th time, while the Citizens are attempting to win England’s oldest trophy for the seventh time in their existence.
At Wembley Stadium, the FA Cup final will also serve as the first Manchester Derby in the competition’s illustrious history. Only rivals and arch rivals Manchester United have ever won the Premier League (PL), FA Cup, and Champions League treble in the history of English football, hence defending champions Manchester City come into the game as pre match favorites.
The Spaniard has urged his team to “disconnect” in the lead up to such a huge match in the hope that they can refocus after losing their final two league matches of the season (D1, L1). Pep Guardiola’s team breezed their way to a first FA Cup final in four seasons, scoring 17 goals without answering in their five previous matches this season. However, City boasts a 100% winning record in domestic finals under Guardiola, so they will undoubtedly be optimistic of making a significant advancement in their quest for immortality.
Man United will do anything to prevent their local rivals from surpassing their successes, but in addition to securing bragging rights, it would also net them their second trophy of the year after winning the Carabao Cup. The Red Devils have never won both domestic cups in the same season, but they enter Wembley with confidence after finishing the Premier League season in the top three for the third time in four years thanks to a run of four straight victories.
After winning 2-1 over Fulham on the final day of the Premier League, manager Erik ten Hag fueled the flames with an emotional post game statement, but the Dutchman insists this final is “not about stopping Man City, it’s about winning the FA Cup.” Only Arsenal (14) has done so more frequently than United (12), but only one of those victories has occurred in the past 19 years, so United’s Dutch manager will be eager to rekindle the club’s passion for this illustrious contest.
Observe these players: Erling Haaland, a prolific scorer with 52 goals this season, has been crucial to City’s push for the triple, netting three of them in a 6-3 H2H victory at the Etihad Stadium. All-action midfielder Fred could keep his spot after helping to set up a goal in United’s most recent victory over Fulham because it is anticipated that they will give up the ball for long stretches of time.
Before the trip to Wembley, Pep Guardiola won’t have to deal with any new roster difficulties. In the FA Cup final against Manchester United on Saturday, the manager of Manchester City should have a fully functional roster at his disposal.
🗣 "He is going to play." ✅
Pep Guardiola is staying loyal to Stefan Ortega for the FA Cup final 🧤 pic.twitter.com/Z5YbcLZ5h3
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) June 2, 2023
Jack Grealish, Kevin De Bruyne, and Ruben Dias ought to have fully recovered from their injuries. The only player about whose fitness Guardiola has worried recently is Manuel Akanji. However, the Manchester City manager has stated that every player is well, including the Swiss defender.
Stefan Ortega will start on Saturday, Guardiola said in his pre-game press conference. In addition, when facing Manchester United, Manchester City will set up in a 3-2-4-1 configuration in front of the 30 years old. Depending on the game’s phase, the system will change into a 4-3-3.
Akanji, who is now well, ought to start again. And the Swiss international will probably form a back three with Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias. The two holding midfielders will be John Stones and Rodri. Stones will occasionally play right back, but his main goal is to drive the ball forward from the middle of the park.
The attacking five will be able to express themselves in the final third thanks to Stones and Rodri’s presence in the midfield. The quartet behind Erling Haaland will provide creative overloads as he serves as the center striker. Additionally, Bernardo Silva and Grealish will pose a direct threat while De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan will be the ones in charge.
Manchester City possible starting lineup (3-2-4-1)
Ortega, Akanji, Dias, Ake, Stones, Rodri, Bernardo, De Bruyne, Gundogan, Grealish and Haaland.
Erik ten Hag’s preparations for the trip to Wembley are being hampered by new problems, unlike his colleague in the Manchester City dugout. At least five first team players won’t be available to the Manchester United manager on Saturday.
The most recent absence is Anthony Martial, who suffered a hamstring injury last week against Fulham. Martial won’t be able to face Manchester City on Saturday either. Along with Lisandro Martinez (foot), Phil Jones (knee), Marcel Sabitzer (knee), and Donny van de Beek (knee), the 27 years old is now unable to participate.
However, there is some good news: Antony may be able to attend the FA Cup final. The international player from Brazil has been healing from an ankle ailment. He might, however, ignore the problem in order to make the Manchester United matchday squad against Manchester City.
"Unlikely, a chance but a really small chance."
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) June 2, 2023
Jadon Sancho will likely start on Saturday in place of Antony on the right wing. Additionally, Alejandro Garnacho will have the chance to establish himself right away because of Martial’s absence. Marcus Rashford will be the offensive leader for Manchester United against Manchester City in the meantime.
Erik ten Hag can also utilize three midfielders to position players behind the ball as an alternative. However, Christian Eriksen might be left out since Fred and Casemiro start together in the double pivot. And on Saturday, Bruno Fernandes will resume playing at No. 10.
Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof make up a strong central defensive pairing for the defense. Additionally, the pair will try to hold Erling Haaland at bay by closing off all openings for the Norwegian attacker. The two full backs should be Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw, with David de Gea playing in goal.
Manchester United possible starting lineup (4-2-3-1)
De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Lindelof, Shaw, Casemiro, Fred, Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Garnacho and Rashford.
We predict: Manchester City 2-1 Manchester United
Guardiola and Ten Hag should have little trouble inspiring their players for what is perhaps the biggest Manchester derby in history, regardless of whether we witness an end to end classic or a more closely contested encounter.
One of these teams will undoubtedly win a second trophy of the year, but we think that Man City will prevail due to their strength in every area, notably in attack with the addition of Haaland. This will result in sky blue ribbons being affixed to this year’s FA Cup.