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FA Cup 2024 Final Preview: Manchester United vs Manchester City 

FA Cup 2024 Final Preview: Manchester United vs Manchester City 

May 22, 2024

All eyes will be on Wembley Stadium this Saturday as Manchester United take on Manchester City in the 143th men’s FA Cup final for the second season running. 

A Manchester derby takes centre stage in the showpiece fixture of club football’s oldest competition for the second year in succession, with Man City looking to secure back-to-back doubles having lifted the Premier League trophy on Sunday, while both Erik ten Hag’s job and United’s European aspirations hinge on this one-off match.

City, who edged last year’s final with a 2-1 score line, will be the favourites, having claimed a record fourth consecutive Premier League title last week.  

However, Ten Hag’s men, who beat Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion in their final two league fixtures to end a difficult league campaign on a relative high, have the added incentive of qualifying for European football next term should they emerge victorious against Pep Guardiola’s side.

Team News 

Guardiola has benefited from a fully fit squad in recent weeks, although he will be missing one key player heading into Wembley this Saturday. First-choice goalkeeper Ederson suffered a small fracture to his right eye socket in last week’s 2-0 victory over Spurs, so Stefan Ortega will deputise again. The German has played all 11 FA Cup games for City since signing in the summer of 2022, including last year’s final. 

United’s injury issues have somewhat eased during May, with Raphaël Varane following Bruno Fernandes, Lisandro Martínez, and Marcus Rashford in returning to first-team action. Both Varane and Martínez returned for United on the final weekend of the league season and could be re-introduced as the starting defensive pairing at Wembley. Meanwhile, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelöf, Mason Mount, and Luke Shaw are all racing back to fitness, while it is unlikely that Anthony Martial will be involved even if he recovers from his groin surgery in time.

European Implications 

If the Red Devils were to upset the apple cart and win the FA Cup this time, they’d qualify for next season’s UEFA Europa League at the expense of Chelsea, who would drop into the UEFA Europa Conference League. Newcastle, who pipped them to seventh in the Premier League standings, would then be bumped out of continental qualification altogether.

However, a City win would mean no European football for United for the first time since the 2014/15 season.

Also read: Manchester City FC Sponsors 2023/24

Match Details 

Date: May 25, 2024
Venue: Wembley Stadium, London
Kick-off Time: 7:30 pm (IST)
Where to Watch (India): The match will be shown live via Sony Sports Network television channels as well as on the SonyLIV platform. 

Match Officials 

Referee: Andrew Madley
Assistant Referees: Harry Lennard and Nick Hopton 
Fourth Official: Simon Hooper
Reserve Assistant Referee: Tim Wood
Video Assistant Referee: Michael Oliver
Support VAR: Peter Bankes
Assistant VAR: Stuart Burt

Also read: Manchester United FC Sponsors 2023/24

Prediction

When it comes to big one-off cup competition games, Man City are the absolute experts, having proved against Chelsea that they don’t always have to be on top and dominant to prevail in the end all the same.

Besides, City and Guardiola have well and truly had United’s number in recent times, and it’s difficult to envision Ten Hag’s men emerging victorious again at Wembley, though I’m sure they will put up a valiant effort.

City have won seven of the last nine Manchester derbies across all competitions, including three in a row. They won both of the Premier League meetings this season, 3-0 at Old Trafford in November and coming from behind to win 3-1 at the Etihad in March. 

Thus, heading into the weekend, the reigning Premier League champions are the overwhelming favourites, but nothing can be taken for granted in football until the final whistle is blown. 

Predicted Score: Manchester United 0 – 2 Manchester City 

Rahul Saha

An engineer taking the road less taken. I love writing, live and breathe football, and am always up for a tactical conversation.

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