FA Cup Final preview: Manchester United, Crystal Palace head to Wembley

Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images
  • “Rematch” of 1990 Final
  • Palace 0-1 in FA Cup Final
  • United has won 11 of 18 finals
  • Last won in 2004

Louis Van Gaal is hoping for his first silverware at Manchester United, while Alan Pardew hopes he fares a bit better in his second FA Cup Final when United and Crystal Palace square off at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

LVG has won 52 percent of his matches since taking over at United, managing the club to fourth and fifth place finishes in the Premier League but failing to add anything to the trophy case while constantly battling rumors of his demise.

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His Selhurst Park counterpart is now fighting his own problems at Palace, having a great start to his spell in charge only to see massive struggles in 2016 as the Eagles dropped into a relegation fight after months in the top half. Pardew won just two PL games once the calendar hit 2016, but is hanging his hat on this run to Wembley.

Pardew was a player (right) in the 1990 Final between the two sides, which needed a replay to decide the result after a 3-3 draw on May 12. Five days later, Lee Martin scored the only goal and Alex Ferguson presided over his first bit of Red Devils silverware in a 1-0 win. There would be a few more trophies for the case before he was done at Old Trafford, of course.

In injury news, Bakary Sako and Wilfried Zaha are back for Palace. They’ll be without Joe Ledley.

On the other side, Morgan Schneiderlin, Marcos Rojo and Matteo Darmian have passed fitness tests, and Marouane Fellaini is back from suspension.

What they’re saying

United’s Daley Blind on the final: “I’ve played there twice now and I’ve never lost at Wembley! I hope we keep it that way. Playing there with such a crowd and an atmosphere like that in such a great stadium, it’s all there, what you need for a final. I’m hoping we can win.”

Palace’s Pardew on the opportunity“The history we take into the game is one final which we lost, so this team, this group of players, have got the opportunity to put something permanent there and that is the first major trophy for Crystal Palace Football Club.”


Tactically the advantage will likely be Van Gaal’s, though the fiery and confident Pardew will have the Eagles embracing the role of underdogs. There’s a lot of championship mettle in United’s lineup, and Wayne Rooney will be aching to put the Red Devils into the record books with a title he can call his own. His last trophy was the 2012-13 Premier League title, on a team with names like Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes still contributing (the latter two far less than the former).

Then again, Yohan Cabaye has experience in stinging the Red Devils back in his days with Newcastle, and Palace has players like Yannick Bolasie who are capable of breaching Van Gaal’s defense. Still, we’re not audacious enough to tab an upset: United 3-1.