It is THE FIRST EVER all Manchester FA Cup Final Week!
Written By: Natasha Turkington
Natasha Turkington was born and bred in Manchester, and is considered one of soccer’s most prolific and knowledgeable fans. Follow her on Twitter at @natashaturk.
The final curtain falls on the 2022/23 season as the red half and blue half of Manchester spectacularly collide this Saturday, June 3rd at Wembley Stadium for the FA Cup Final, the oldest soccer competition in the world.
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Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag took to the Old Trafford pitch on Sunday afternoon to address the Manchester United fans with a rousing speech following a 2-1 final day win over Fulham:
“There is still one game to go. We will give everything and when I say everything, that is everything. So, the fans can rely on that.”
As a die-hard, match going Manchester United fan, it is keeping me awake at night that City could finish this season as treble winners. The treble is United’s, it has been mine and every Manchester United fan’s treble since our historic win in 1999. United have the chance of securing a second cup win whilst simultaneously ending City’s treble dream; turning a good season in to a superb season. Although, Ten Hag’s debut year will go down a success regardless of what happens at Wembley on Saturday.
During Manchester United’s end-of-season awards ceremony on Monday night, United and England star, Marcus Rashford implored ahead of the final:
“Ensuring Man United remain the only English club to do The Treble, that is the most important thing.”
This is music to my ears.
Can Manchester United Win?
The big question is, can Manchester United beat Manchester City? City are, unsurprisingly, strong favourites to lift the trophy however, the answer is yes, of course United can win!
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At its core this is a derby fixture and, as we know, anything can happen in a derby. Although City won the first derby of the season in resounding fashion at the Etihad, with Phil Foden and Erling Haaland scoring hat-tricks in a 6-3 win, United got their revenge with a 2-1 success at Old Trafford in January.
We would not be true soccer fans if we did not acknowledge the sheer brilliance of Man City this season, and in particular the footballing freak of nature that is Erling Haaland. But, after a loss to Brentford and below par performance at the weekend could it be possible City are feeling fatigue? Have the giddy celebrations of retaining the Premier League title for a third time taken their eye slightly of the FA Cup prize, or could Pep Guardiola’s dogged determination to finally win the Champions League mean the foot is off the gas until June 10th in Istanbul?
I know, I know, wishful thinking, right? Manchester United are very much the underdogs travelling to Wembley and with injury concerns hanging in the balance with Lisandro Martinez and Antony, it is a very tall order.
Manchester City: -205
Manchester United: +475
My belief is this game will be won and lost based on individual player performances, steely confidence, the deep desire to secure Manchester bragging rights, and probably whichever team scores an early goal. Even I can admit, Manchester City have been a joy to watch play soccer this season and they have a sublime squad, however, those who have written Manchester United off before they have even kicked a ball, you do so at your peril.
Manchester is Red. And, who doesn’t love an underdog story?
COME ON UNITED!
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