When Manchester City and Manchester United’s starting line up assemble at the Wembley Stadium tomorrow, not only will the FA Cup trophy be at stake, the players will be fighting for a place in history books.
In 2009, Manchester United legendary ex-manager, Sir Alex Ferguson had during a press briefing dismissed a question from a journalist who asked if he ever saw the Red Devils heading into a game against their local rivals as underdogs. The Scot answered, “Not in my lifetime.”
But, the Red Devils not only head into tomorrow’s final as underdogs, they could watch their local rivals add a second silverware to their collection in their bid to complete a historic EPL, FA Cup and Champions League treble, a feat only achieved by Ferguson’s United side in 1999.
United’s local rivals have become one of the best teams in the world under the tutelage of Spanish tactician, Pep Guardiola, the man who denied Ferguson two extra Champions League gold medals. As such, for both teams, Wembley’s game is not just a final, it’s a battle of supremacy in all aspects.
The question of who will emerge superior will be answered when the game begins live on Football Finals Pop-up channel on GOtv (ch. 65). Both teams have treated the fans to two entertaining derby contests this season. City triumphed at the Etihad by 6-3, while United got the upperhand at Old Trafford with a 2-1 victory.
This season, Guardiola’s team completed a three-peat of league titles, a feat Ferguson held exclusively. Similarly, City’s striker, Erling Haaland also broke the goal scoring record for most Premier League goals scored in a season. As such, he surpassed the 34-goal mark, a record held jointly by Andy Cole, a Manchester United legend.
But the Red Devils know what victory means for the Old Trafford faithfuls and they are keen to deliver the trophy for them. United’s manager, Erik Ten Hag, a man who understudied Guardiola while they were both on the payroll of Bayern Munich, has assured the fans of the team’s determination to win the cup for the club and stop City’s bid to achieve the treble.
The Dutch man has had a stellar debut season with the Red Devils. He ended the club’s seven-year trophy drought when they lifted the Carabao Cup in February and he also led them to a third place finish with 75 points in the league, their second highest tally since Ferguson’s retirement.
Ten Hag remains confident about his team’s chances against City. “We want to win a cup, it is not about stopping them, it is about us winning the cup, it is a great opportunity that we deserve to be in a cup final and meet Man City. It is a great opportunity and we fought so hard for it,” he said at the pre-match press conference for the FA Cup final.
Remarkably, this is the first FA Cup final between the local rivals. United have won the FA Cup on 12 occasions, with their recent victory coming under another Dutchman, Louis Van Gaal in 2016. But, they have won just one of their last four FA finals. City on the other hand have won the trophy on six occasions. Their most recent victory came under Guardiola in 2019, the same year they completed a historic domestic cup treble.
Will City make history tomorrow or will the Red Devils emerge with their pride intact?
Enjoy every moment of the FA Cup, the UEFA Champions League and other exciting recaps of memorable moments of the just concluded season on Football Finals Pop-up Channel (ch. 65) on GOtv.
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