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The FA Cup Preview: Manchester City v.s. Manchester United

We all know some FA Cup finals are better than others, but when Manchester City face Manchester United at Wembley on Saturday, the omens for this one to be stored for long in our memory banks look pretty positive.

It’s not just that it’s the first Manchester derby final, or that there is a Double at stake – and the second stride towards a Treble – for Pep Guardiola’s City.

It’s not even that United – the only team to have won the Treble (League champions, FA Cup winners and European champions) before are the ones that could deny their rivals.

It’s the players, stupid.

Who doesn’t want to see if Erling Haaland can add to his 52 goals in 51 games in an FA Cup Final, or whether Marcus Rashford can eclipse him?

Who doesn’t want to see Kevin De Bruyne rampaging down the middle of that Wembley turf, or if Casemiro can contain him, or if the tight-shorted, sock-rolled Jack Grealish can produce some magic on the final day of the domestic season?

Who doesn’t want to see a couple of bald blokes – Guardiola and Erik ten Haag – starring and snarling at each other on the Wembley touchline, or if the light blue flags held by fans can outnumber the deep red?

Little wonder with all that playing out, many are calling this the biggest, most globally anticipated FA Cup final of all time?

So, who’s going to win?

There is going to be a Double achieved, whatever happens. City have already won the Premier league and United have the Carabao Cup in the cabinet, having beaten Newcastle in February.

City will be firm favourites as they have beaten everyone in their path this season, except, weirdly, Brentford, who did their own Double.

This is City’s 12th FA Cup final and they have a mixed record, winning six and losing five of their previous 11. Since 2011, they have won two and lost one, with their last cup final a comprehensive 6-0 win against Watford in 2019.

United will be playing in their 21st FA Cup final, a record shared with Arsenal, but no club have lost more times than the eight defeats suffered by United.

The good news for United is that they won 2-1 when the teams last met in the Premier League at Old Trafford in January.

But here, perhaps, is the killer statistic – and a very simple one – that suggests light blue ribbons will be tied to the old trophy at just before five o’clock.

City are yet to concede a single goal in the FA Cup this season.

Their record in the competition this season is played five, won five, scored 17 goals and conceded none.

In terms of trophies, since United last won the Premier League 10 long years ago, they have managed to pick up four more trophies.

In that same 10-year period, City have won 13.

FA Cup Final – Saturday

Manchester City v Manchester United – 3.00pm

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