Manchester United to win (in 90-minutes) @ 5/6 (1.83) with Ladbrokes
The FA Cup final might not be quite the occasion it once was, but it’s still an opportunity for Crystal Palace and Manchester United, two teams that have had somewhat mixed Premier League campaigns, to end the season with some silverware
Manchester United’s preparations for Wembley haven’t been helped by the farcical postponement of their final Premier League game against Bournemouth last Sunday. Having to reschedule the game for Tuesday must have had some impact on disrupting what Louis van Gaal had planned for his players with regards to training and rest this week.
It’s been a real Jekyll and Hyde 2016 for Crystal Palace, with them winning just two of 19 Premier League games, whilst also coming out victorious in all five FA Cup ties played over the same period. It’s not as if they were given an easy ride in the cup draw either, with four of their five opponents being top-flight clubs (all of whom finished the season above the Eagles in the Premier League table).
Manchester United had only lost two of their last 12 matches in all competitions ahead of the rearranged Bournemouth game, so current form favours the Red Devils. United has also been hugely dominant over Palace down the years, with the Eagles only win in 18 meetings being a 2-1 League Cup victory at Old Trafford after extra-time in November 2011. Even that was against a near total second-string United starting XI.
This season’s Premier League meetings resulted in a goalless draw at Selhurst Park back in October and a 2-0 win for United at Old Trafford almost exactly a month ago. In six top-flight meetings since Palace returned to the Premier League, this season’s draw is the only point the Eagles have taken from a possible 18. It has to be said that goals have been at a premium in recent games between the two, with Manchester United scoring nine and Palace just one in those six matches.
With nobody at Old Trafford seemingly willing or able to confirm Van Gaal’s position at the club next season, it does appear that his future could potentially depend on him ending the season by winning the FA Cup.