Manchester Derby: FA Cup Final Preview – City vs. United

  • Manchester City and Manchester United face off in the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.
  • City seeks to solidify their dominance, while United aims to cap a season of rebuilding with a major trophy.
  • Key players include Erling Haaland for City and Bruno Fernandes for United, with both teams likely employing a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Manchester Derby Showdown: FA Cup Final Preview

Date: May 25, 2024
Time: 14:00 GMT
Venue: Wembley Stadium
Significance: FA Cup Final

The stage is set for one of the most anticipated matches of the season as Manchester City and Manchester United lock horns in the Manchester Derby FA Cup Final at the iconic Wembley Stadium. This match isn’t just about silverware; it’s a battle for supremacy in Manchester, a contest that promises high stakes, high tension, and high drama.

Stakes Involved

For Manchester City, a win would solidify their dominance in English football, After won the league, adding another prestigious trophy to an already impressive haul this season. This victory would also serve as a morale booster and a perfect end to an exceptional campaign.

Manchester United, on the other hand, are eager to claim the FA Cup. A triumph here could act as a springboard for future success, restoring some of the lost glory and providing a solid foundation for next season.

Recent Form and Performances

Manchester City

City come into this fixture with a formidable league form, winning all of their last five matches. They have displayed attacking prowess, scoring 15 goals (average 3.0 per game) and conceding only 2 (average 0.4 per game). Their defensive solidity is evidenced by four clean sheets in these five matches.

Recent notable performances include a 4-0 thrashing of Brighton and a 5-1 demolition of Wolves. City’s biggest league win came with a 5-0 victory at home and a 6-2 rout away. Their most commonly used formation has been the 4-2-3-1, which has allowed them to balance between solid defense and a potent attack.

Manchester United

United have had a strong run as well, with four wins and one draw in their last five league games. They have scored 14 goals (average 2.8 per game) while conceding 8 (average 1.6 per game). However, they have managed only two clean sheets in these matches.

United’s recent performances include a thrilling 4-2 win against Sheffield United and a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Newcastle. The team has shown resilience and a knack for scoring crucial goals, often employing a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Head-to-Head History

The head-to-head history between these two giants favors Manchester City. In their last five encounters, City have won three times, lost once, and drawn once. The most recent meeting was a 3-1 victory for City at Etihad Stadium on March 3, 2024, and a 3-0 win at Old Trafford on October 29, 2023. This record gives City a psychological edge going into the final.

Key Players and Matchups

Manchester City

  • Erling Haaland: The Norwegian striker has been in sensational form, scoring 27 goals in 31 Premier League matches and 5 goals in the FA Cup. His lethal finishing and physical presence make him a constant threat.
  • Phil Foden: With 19 goals and 8 assists in the Premier League, Foden’s creativity and dribbling ability are crucial for City’s attack.
  • Rodri: The midfield maestro has been pivotal, contributing 8 goals and 9 assists in the league. His ability to control the tempo and break up opposition play will be vital.

Manchester United

  • Rasmus Højlund: The young striker has been a revelation, scoring 9 goals in the Premier League and 5 in the UEFA Champions League. His pace and finishing will be key against City’s defense.
  • Bruno Fernandes: The midfield dynamo has been instrumental in United’s attack with his vision and passing. His ability to unlock defenses and score goals makes him a player to watch.
  • Raphaël Varane: The experienced defender will have the crucial task of keeping Haaland in check. His leadership and defensive acumen will be tested.

Tactical Insights

Manchester City

City are likely to stick with their tried-and-tested 4-2-3-1 formation. Expect them to dominate possession, using short, quick passes to control the game. The full-backs will push high up the pitch, providing width and support to the wingers. Rodri will be key in breaking up United’s play and initiating attacks.

City may also employ a high press to disrupt United’s build-up play, forcing turnovers in dangerous areas. Their defensive solidity and quick transitions from defense to attack could be decisive.

Manchester United

United are expected to mirror City’s 4-2-3-1 formation but may adopt a more conservative approach, focusing on counter-attacks. With pacey forwards like Højlund and creative midfielders like Fernandes, United will look to exploit spaces behind City’s high defensive line.

Defensively, United will need to stay compact and organized, limiting City’s chances and protecting the central areas. Set-pieces could be a crucial weapon, given their height advantage in the box.

Possible Outcomes and Consequences

If Manchester City Wins:

A City victory would underline their dominance in English football. It would add another trophy to their cabinet and boost team morale. This win could also influence player selections and tactics for upcoming matches, ensuring a positive end to their season.

If Manchester United Wins:

A United win would be a significant achievement, marking a successful season of rebuilding. It could act as a turning point, instilling belief and confidence in the squad. This victory would also be a statement of intent, showing that United are back in contention for major honors.

If the Match Ends in a Draw:

A draw would mean extra time and potentially penalties, adding to the drama and tension. For both teams, a draw in regular time would be a test of stamina and resilience, with the outcome hinging on mental and physical endurance.

Broader Impacts:

The result of this match will have broader implications, affecting fan sentiment, media coverage, and possibly coaching decisions. A win for either side could see a surge in support and positive media attention, while a loss might lead to scrutiny and pressure on the managers.


Based on recent form, head-to-head history, and key player performances, Manchester City appear to have the edge going into this final. The prediction favors City with a 45% chance to win or draw, while United’s chances of winning stand at 10%. The likelihood of a draw is also at 45%.

The expectation is for both teams to score less than 3.5 goals, indicating a potentially tight and tactical battle. My opinion aligns with the statistical predictions, favoring a Manchester City win or draw, given their superior form and head-to-head record.


The Manchester Derby in the FA Cup Final promises to be a thrilling spectacle, with both teams eager to claim bragging rights and silverware. Manchester City’s recent dominance and comprehensive squad depth give them a slight advantage, but Manchester United’s resilience and attacking flair cannot be underestimated. Wembley Stadium awaits what is sure to be an unforgettable clash.