FA Cup final: Manchester City aims for treble, Manchester United seeks climactic end. Line-ups, predictions, and key players.
|Pep Guardiola's long awaited dream of a treble in England could receive a big boost at Wembley on Saturday when he takes on Manchester United in the FA Cup final. (Photo credit: Sky Sports)|
It’s the centenary of the Emirates FA Cup at Wembley, and for the first time ever, it’s a Manchester derby finale in front of the world; the Citizens are chasing the ultimate hattrick while their archrivals, Manchester United, want a climatic end to a great season.
The treble is within Manchester City's grasp.
Pep Guardiola knows what it means, having won it in the past with Barcelona and having failed many times to achieve the same with Bayern Munich and his expensively assembled City sides since he joined seven years ago.
Guardiola’s City usurped an inexperienced Arsenal side in the title race to land their fifth league trophy in six years, an astonishing record that United must envy.
It’s a mirrored image of the years of Sir Alex Ferguson and everything this present-day United under Eric Ten Hag dreams of.
The Red Devils have had a successful season by all standards, and for a manager in his supposed transition season, Ten Hag deserves credit as well.
The Carabao Cup brings a feel-good factor to the Old Trafford ground, but the FA Cup would mean more.
City didn’t have it easy on their way to Wembley; the Premier League champions had to beat Arsenal and Chelsea along the way, but all that won’t matter if they don’t find a way past their city rivals, who we expect to sit back and counter.
Arsenal remains the record FA Cup holders with fourteen success stories, seven of those under their longest-serving manager, Arsene Wenger.
But United can close the gap to one, as the Red Devils boast twelve FA Cup trophies while City has six.
How will they line up?
The fitness of Luke Shaw and Antony cannot be guaranteed, so Ten Hag could send out Diogo Dalot in place of Tyrel Malacia at left-back.
Lisandro Martinez is unavailable; Rafael Varane and Victor Lindelof are expected to be the picks, although Harry Maguire has been chatting a lot in the media ahead of the game.
Marcus Rashford is available, having gotten off the bench to score on the final day of league action. Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen are expected to lead the midfield charge, and Jadon Sancho should get a nod on the flank.
Pep Guardiola certainly has an eye on the Champions League final against Inter Milan in Istanbul, but Erling Haaland is not expected to be rested.
The league record goalscorer is roaring, and he wants more glory.
Kevin De Bruyne was rested for the final league game; he should be fresh for United.
Expect lots of bookings, especially from United, as they try to defend their way to the trophy.
Referee Paul Tierney will have it all to do at Wembley as he tries to stay in control.
Watch out for Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan; it could be their last hurray in the sky blue strips.