Competition: FA Cup Final – Crystal Palace FC vs. Manchester United FC
Venue: Wembley Stadium – Saturday, May 21 – 17:30 BST (12:30 ET)
Match Odds: Crystal Palace 17/4 – Draw 12/5 – Man Utd 3/4
Palace finished the Premier League season in 15th place and lost three of their last four games, including a 4-1 loss to Southampton on the final day last weekend.
However, Alan Pardew’s side have been excellent in the FA Cup. They beat Watford in the semifinal and also saw off the likes of Southampton, Stoke, Tottenham and Reading to reach the final.
A win on Saturday would see Palace win the FA Cup for the first time in their history. Their only previous final appearance came in 1990 and was incidentally also against Manchester United.
United won that final 1-0 in a replay after the side’s drew 3-3 in the original clash. Another tight affair is expected this weekend, though the Red Devils remain favourites.
Louis Van Gaal may well be preparing for his final game as Manchester United manager, with speculation about his future not going anywhere.
The team will be solely focused on this game for now, though. They beat Bournemouth 3-1 in their final Premier League game on Tuesday night, which was rescheduled following last Sunday’s abandonment.
The lack of preparation time might affect the squad but they will still be expected to win in 90 minutes on Saturday evening.
They beat Sheffield United, Derby, Shrewsbury, West Ham and Everton to reach this stage and will now want to lift the FA Cup for the first time since 2004.
Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal has eight injury concerns ahead of Saturday’s game. Marcos Rojo, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Will Keane all look certain to miss out, while Adnan Januzaj, Luke Shaw, Matteo Darmian and Morgan Schneiderlin are listed as doubts. Wayne Rooney will likely occupy a midfield position once again, with Marcus Rashford set to start in attack.
Crystal Palace have seven injury worries of their own. Kwesi Appiah, Marouane Chamakh, Brede Hangeland and Joe Ledley are all sidelined, while Connor Wickham, Yohan Cabaye and Wilfried Zaha are all 50/50 ahead of the final.
Crystal Palace’s last five in all competitions: L/W/L/W/L
Manchester United’s last five in all competitions: W/D/W/L/W
Key Stat: United are unbeaten in six games against Palace, conceding just once in that time.
Key Player: Anthony Martial – The United striker has scored four goals and bagged two assists in his last four outings and is in the form of his season. He fired United into the final with his late goal against Everton and will look to shine at Wembley once again here.
Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester United – A low-scoring affair is expected between two sides that don’t tend to score too many. Palace have been in poor form and despite their strong run in the FA Cup, they are underdogs here and look likely to come up short. United have improved towards the end of the season but will need a trophy to feel satisfied, having missed out on the top four. United to win.