A historic derby between poles City and United in today’s FA Cup final
The English football season will conclude today with a historic summit between Manchester City, City and United in the FA Cup final at the famous Wembley Stadium.
And in the first final between the two teams in the FA Cup, Manchester City, who is crowned champion of the Premier League, appears to be a candidate to win its second title this season, but Dutch coach Eric Ten Hag, United, confirmed that his team will fight to prevent his opponent from achieving his dream in the historic treble, in the first final that brings the two teams together in the Cup. England.
Ten Hag, who won the English League Cup and led United to third place in the league to ensure its participation in the Champions League competition next season, stressed that his team has a good chance to win the local cup, and stand as a stumbling block in front of City’s ambitions to match the achievement that United had previously achieved in 1999.
On the part of Spain’s Josep Guardiola, City coach, he warned his team’s players that their arch-neighbor is capable of spoiling their dream of scoring a rare treble.
The title of the 142nd edition of the FA Cup represents an important step for City, hoping to win its second championship this season, after it was crowned league champion for the third season in a row and the fifth in the last six years, and to enhance its hopes for the treble, as it will be on a date with another Champions League final against Inter, Italy, in June 10, at Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul.
Manchester United is the only team to score the treble in England in 1999, when it was crowned league champion in the last round against Tottenham, then won the FA Cup by defeating Newcastle 2-0, and its historic victory over Bayern Munich 2-1 in the last breath in the League final. Champions, all in the span of 11 days.
And if City would become an extraordinary candidate to beat Inter, who finished third in the Italian league, critics believe that United represents a more fierce test, because the “Red Devils” have talented players who can harm any team.
The Spanish coach of City personally followed the United match against Chelsea last week (4-1) and said after that: “All my focus now is on Manchester United. I watched their game against Chelsea. They made a remarkable show, and therefore I had to review some things after they defeated us at Old Trafford, ”referring to his team’s loss to United 1-2 last January.
He added, “As before, we have to be careful, but after our loss to Brentford, and our opponent’s victory in his last matches, we will prepare in the best possible way.”
Despite Guardiola’s caution, his team remains a candidate to win the FA Cup for the second time since he assumed supervision of the team in 2016. City had achieved 12 consecutive victories in the English Premier League to clinch the title, and previously swept United 6-3 last October. As for the last loss in the league last week against Brentford 0-1, when the coach involved a squad of mostly non-starters, it was the first for the team in 26 matches in various competitions.
Naturally, the Norwegian striker Erling Haaland will be a trump card in the ranks of City, after he scored 52 goals in various competitions this season, including 36 in the domestic league, which is a record.
Haaland had scored a hat-trick during his broad team’s victory last October, but he fasted from scoring in the return match, and contented himself with a single goal in the last 6 matches.
Haaland said on the sidelines of the final meeting: “It would be fantastic to achieve the historic treble. I think that is why the club included me. In order to achieve this, we do not have to hide this matter.” He added, “I will do everything I can for that. This is the biggest dream for me, and I hope that dreams will turn into reality.” But Haaland, 22, also warned that Manchester United and Inter Milan would be “motivated” to squander City’s chances of achieving the treble.
Guardiola pinned his hopes on the experience of Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, who won the title of best playmaker in the Premier League this season (16 assists), but the latter suffered an injury that prevented him and winger Jack Grealish from playing the last league match against Brentford, but they are ready to strengthen The squad for the cup final.
On the other hand, Ten Hag succeeded in exceeding expectations in his first season with the team, as he led it to win the League Cup by defeating Newcastle 2-0 in late February, before finishing third in the league and securing a ticket to the Champions League next season.
Ten Hag became the second coach in the history of Manchester United to lead his team to a title in his first season. The Dutch coach made an appeal to the United fans during the final match, saying: “If you support us, I am sure we have a good chance to bring the (FA) Cup back to Old Trafford… We beat them in January, and United have beaten them several times in the past. The past two years, so we will go into the final meeting knowing that we have the opportunity, and the team knows what is required of it.
United hopes that it will be a stumbling block in the path of its neighbor, not to achieve a hat-trick and equal his number, even in the absence of injured French striker Anthony Martial.
United is counting on its top scorer Marcus Rashford, who is going through an exceptional season, scoring 30 goals in various competitions, and on some elements of experience in its ranks, such as Brazilian Casemiro, French defense magnate Rafael Varane, and Portuguese playmaker and captain Bruno Fernandez.
Varane commented when asked if he was afraid to face Haaland, saying: “Of course not, he is a great player, but we must prevent the balls from reaching him, especially from Kevin De Bruyne.”
The presence of Varane represents a point of confidence for United’s defense in this type of decisive confrontation, as the 30-year-old player has experience in the major occasions of his previous World Cup crowning with France 2018, and winning the Champions League four times with Real Madrid. Varane said, “We want to win the FA Cup. This is the goal for which we are in the final. We want to please the fans at the end of an exciting season.”
And about the competitor’s nominations to win, the French defender commented: “Every match represents a challenge, and I love the challenge. The most important thing is that we believe and believe in our chances. We will do our best to win.” He added, “Pressure is something we are used to, and sometimes you need it to be at the top.
It’s not that kind of pressure that limits you. When the pressure is higher, I scream on the field and run faster. Arsenal holds the record for the number of times to win the FA Cup, with 14 titles, ahead of Manchester United with two titles, while City won the title 6 previous times.