Manchester City vs Manchester United: Preview and Prediction
The 2022-23 English football season comes to its final chapter where we have already got the crown holders across all divisions and the finale of the country’s premier cup competition is up next.
For the first time in the history of this prestigious 152-year-old competition, we will get to see the Manchester Derby taking place in the final fixture. The Grand Finale of the 142nd FA Cup edition between the reigning EPL champions Manchester City and their arch-rivals Manchester United will be hosted by Wembley Stadium this Monday.
The Cityzens have already clinched the domestic league title and are eying to become only second English side after the United to achieve the treble feat. The Spanish gaffer Pep Guardiola and his boys are determined to register their second domestic double triumph after the heroics of the 2018-19 season.
The Dutch gaffer Erik ten Hag is gradually changing the fortunes of the Red Devils as he is preparing his knights to march towards the second trophy of his maiden season. Earlier in February 2023, the United graced the champions’ podium of the EFL Cup competition which marked their first major club honour since the UEFA Europa League triumph under Jose Mourinho.
The Manchester Reds had a rough start to the final month of their 2022-23 campaign after suffering two consecutive defeats at the hands of Brighton and West Ham United in the first week of May. However, the MUFC side staged a quick bounce-back and went on to win the following four fixtures to turn on the final preparations in full swing. It also includes an emphatic 4-1 triumph over the Big 6 counterparts Chelsea which helped them to secure the second runners-up place.
On the other hand, the reigning Premier League champions have somehow lost the rhythm after their semi-final victory over Real Madrid. They were forced to drop four points in the last two league games which eventually kept them away from crossing the milestone of 90 points in a season. The Sky Blues were defeated by Brentford in the last matchday of EPL where Guardiola rested many of his key knights to keep them fresh ahead of the title bout.
The Manchester Derby is regarded as one of the fiercest local rivalries across the globe as these two English combatants have a long-standing history of battling out against each other since 1881.
The English football fraternity has witnessed 189 Manchester Derby chapters across all domestic competitions till now and the head-to-head record of those encounters currently favours the Red Devils by 78-58. United is also leading the head-to-head record of the FA Cup with six wins over the arch-rivals while the Cityzens have emerged victorious only on three occasions.
The most recent chapter of this epic rivalry was the league fixture staged in the second week of January 2023 at the red fortress Old Trafford. Where the Red Devils ended up on the winning side on the home turf and also avenged their earlier crushing 3-6 defeat.
The deadlock was broken by Jack Grealish for the visitors in the 60th minute but the United’s star attacking duo of Bruno Fernandes (78′) and Marcus Rashford (82′) scored one goal each to snatch the three crucial points from the eventual champions.
Pep Guardiola kept four of his key starters Kevin de Bruyne, Jack Grealish, Ruben Dias and Manual Akanji out of the matchday squad against Brentford owing to fitness concerns.
According to reports, the injury issues were minor and all of them are expected to return to the starting XI on Wednesday. The Premier League golden boot winner Erling Haaland will be lining up with the likes of Grealish and de Bruyne in the Sky Blues’ forward line.
Meanwhile, United’s injury list is long and consists of the names of Tom Heaton, Lisandro Martinez, Marcel Sabitzer and Donny van de Beek. In a recent turn of events, the French striker Anthony Martial has also been ruled out of the final due to a hamstring issue that occurred during his substitute appearance against Fulham.
The 23-year-old Brazilian winger Antony is expected to make the bench after recovering from his ankle blow which caused him to depart from the Chelsea fixture on a stretcher.
Predicted Starting XIs
Manchester City (3-4-2-1): Ederson Moraes, Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji; Ilkay Gundogan, John Stones, Rodri, Kevin de Bruyne; Jack Grealish, Bernardo Silva; Erling Haaland
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): David de Gea; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Raphael Varane, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw; Casemiro, Fred, Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Alejandro Garnacho; Marcus Rashford
Manchester City have had a better campaign in the 2022-23 season than their counterparts however, the current form aspect is with the Red Devils right now. This is going to be the last competitive fixture of the season for United which has a slight advantage for being all focused for this forthcoming clash.
Meanwhile, the Cityzens have the UEFA Champions League final scheduled for the next week as the gaffer Guardiola will be keen on keeping his key players risk-free for the European clash.