FA Cup preview: Win or bust for Ten Hag, unwanted records on the line, and a shot at European qualification

Manchester United lock horns with Manchester City at Wembley tomorrow for a second successive FA Cup final between the two cross-city rivals.

It remains to be seen how the result of the tie will impact Erik ten Hag’s future in the United hot-seat. Contrasting reports suggest that the manager may be sacked irrespective of how his side fares, sacked if they lose or that he will be kept on and given another season to prove himself to Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Co.

Nevertheless, for the United faithful, their opinion of the boss could change significantly depending on the outcome. Even if they fall to defeat, seeing the players leave everything on the pitch and actually look up to the challenge that awaits them would count for something after such a dismal campaign.

City, meanwhile, are on the back of being crowned Premier League champions for a fourth straight season, becoming the first club in English history to do so. Therefore, the prospect of a third domestic double is on the line for Pep Guardiola and his men, a feat only previously achieved by the Red Devils and Arsenal (winning the double on three occasions).

Should United lose the final, they will have lost 20 matches in a single term for the first time since 1973-74 (22). Similarly, if City are able to find a way past Andre Onana, the Reds will have conceded more than 84 goals in a season for the first time since 1963-64, when they shipped 89 goals. (Statistics courtesy of The FA).

Academy graduate Marcus Rashford has shown he’s more than capable of slicing through City’s defence, as he has scored six times against the Blues in all competitions, only notching more against Leicester City (8) and Liverpool (7). Four of those contributions have given United the lead in the match.

European football on the cards?

As a win would send the United faithful into pure elation, it’ll likely slip fans’ minds that lifting the trophy also books the team’s place in next season’s Europa League group stages. While the Champions League was, of course, the goal throughout the past nine months, having a form of European football to look forward to is a boost for 2024/2025.

Kick-off is at 3pm on both ITV and BBC in the United Kingdom, while StrettyNews will also be keeping you up to date with a live blog and in-game coverage/highlights.

More Stories Erik ten Hag FA Cup Manchester City Manchester United Marcus Rashford Pep Guardiola

1 Comment

  1. We’re in a bad place right now, and we’re up against an exceedingly rich team who cheat; should be a foregone conclusion. But, I wasn’t expecting to beat the Mickeys so maybe there is hope. Be the best United you can be, United, which means:
    Don’t lose your heads if you concede early.
    Don’t try and settle for 1-0 if you score first.
    Don’t think the match is won if you go 2-0 up ( all right, all right, I know..but, still)
    And, Garnacho: you are our brightest hope. But don’t always let fly the minute you see those white posts – sometimes a pass is the better option.
    Good luck tomorrow lads: make us proud.
    But if you *do* lose to rich cheats, do it with as much dignity as possible: they’re not six goals better than us and never will be.
    U.N.I….T.ED…United are the team for me.
    Nick nack paddy whack, give a dog a bone…why don’t Citeh…
    Well, why don’t they?

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