5 key talking points as rivals Man City and Man Utd clash in FA Cup final
Rivals Manchester City and Manchester United clash in the FA Cup final this weekend.
Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the key talking points ahead of the Wembley encounter.
City head to Wembley hoping to complete the second leg of a glorious treble. The Premier League title is in the bag and the Champions League final against Inter Milan is still to come. Adding spice to the occasion is the fact that United are the only other English club to have achieved this feat, back in 1999. Their fans would certainly love nothing more than to stop their neighbours emulating them.
Champions League final influence
It will be interesting to see how much of a bearing the Champions League final has on City manager Pep Guardiola’s selection. The European competition is the one great prize that has eluded him during his time at City and is undoubtedly his priority. He could opt to hold players back with that in mind. However, this is not his normal way and, with a week between the fixtures, there is time for rest and recovery. Guardiola will also need to keep his star players sharp and there can be few better games in which to do so than a Wembley final.
Ten Hag recovery
Erik ten Hag has lifted spirits at Old Trafford after a dreadful 2021-22 campaign in which they got through three managers. There have still been some bad defeats along the way – most notably 4-0 at Brentford, 6-3 at City and 7-0 at Liverpool – but the Dutchman has generally earned credit for the way he turned the team around. He won the Carabao Cup and got them back into the Champions League. There was even talk of a title challenge at one stage as they hit form mid-season. United are still some way off where they aspire to be, but winning the FA Cup would cap a promising campaign.
Haaland chasing more headlines
Erling Haaland has written his name all over this season. The prolific Norwegian has had a sensational impact at City, scoring 52 goals in all competitions. Dixie Dean’s near century-old all-time single-season record of 63 may be beyond him now but he will be hungry for more and to add a significant, competition-winning strike to his tally. He is not the only dangerman in the City side but he will be the one feared most by United.
United’s pursuit of Champions League football fuelled a strong finish to their Premier League campaign. With players also staking claims for cup final places, they secured third place with a run of four-successive wins. This has given Ten Hag the pleasant problem of deciding which players to leave out. The make-up of the attack could be particularly interesting with Marcus Rashford now fit after illness, Antony close to returning from injury and Alejandro Garnacho and Jadon Sancho having done their cases no harm in recent weeks.