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In 1990 Crystal Palace and Manchester United met at Wembley for the FA Cup final and 26 years on, they’re doing it again. The stadium is new, the players are all new but the passion for the cup final never changes and there is sure to be a raucous atmosphere at the home of English football.
Manchester United have had a very strange build up to the showpiece final. They were due to finish their Premier League season at 3pm on Sunday but a fake bomb found in an Old Trafford toilet cause the abandonment of their game against Bournemouth. The hastily arranged replay took place on Tuesday night and must have had a major impact on their preparations for Saturday.
Palace meanwhile had a typical finish to their Premier League season, they lost. Over the first few months of the season the Eagles were being talked up as candidates for European football but their pacey, counterattacking style went AWOL after Christmas. Alan Pardew must gain some credit for managing to drag his side away from the threat of relegation and saving their best performances for the FA Cup though.
Man United 17/20 (Sky Bet)
Draw 5/2 (William Hill)
Crystal Palace 4/1 (Paddy Power)
It has hardly been a vintage season for Manchester United but the bookies are of the opinion that it will end with a silver lining. Time and time again United, and especially their manager Louis van Gaal, have been criticised for their stilted football but they’ve come up with a positive result more often than not. United fans want more than merely getting by in the future but in the FA Cup final anybody would take a scrappy win. At odds of 17/20 with Sky Bet they certainly look like fair favourites against an out of form Palace side.
Romantics who fancy backing the underdog can bet on Palace at 4/1 with Paddy Power but be wary about their recent form if you’re considering backing the Eagles. If you think we could be in line for late drama with extra time or even penalties the draw is 4/1 with Paddy Power.
Man Utd 1-0 @ 5/1 (Paddy Power)
Draw 1-1 @ 11/2 (Coral)
Man Utd 2-0 @ 15/2 (BetVictor)
Draw 0-0 @ 15/2 (Betfair)
Manchester United’s favourite status with the bookies is reflected in the Correct Score market where a Crystal Palace win does not feature in any of the top five selections. You can also tell that this United side do not tend to be involved in too many high scoring affairs. As a team they like to keep the ball and limit their opponent’s chances first and foremost before looking to one of their talented attacking players to come up with the goods at the business end of the pitch.
At 5/1 with Paddy Power the Man Utd 1-0 scoreline looks very tempting. The enormity of the occasion could bear down heavily on Crystal Palace shoulders and it would be no surprise to see United take the fun out of the game and complete a professional job. If you fancy them to be more comfortable 2-0 is at 15/2 with BetVictor while the shortest priced Palace win is 1-0 at 11/1 with Paddy Power.
Wayne Rooney 5/1 (Coral)
Anthony Martial 6/1 (William Hill)
Marcus Rashford 6/1 (Paddy Power)
No Goalscorer 7/1 (Coral)
Juan Mata 8/1 (Coral)
Connor Wickham 9/1 (Paddy Power)
Dwight Dayle 9/1 (Sky Bet)
Jesse Lingard 9/1 (Coral)
It is clear from the First Goalscorer market that Crystal Palace have really struggled in front of goal this season. Pardew has tried a number of different options up front but he’s not yet found a player in his ranks to really trust. It will be interesting to see who starts up front. He could go for the pace of Dwight Gayle who is a 9/1 shot with Sky Bet to score first. Or, he could use the power of Connor Wickham (9/1 with Paddy Power) and hope that he gets on the end of any crosses provided by Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie.
England captain Wayne Rooney would love to remind everybody that he still has the golden touch by scoring first at 5/1 with Coral but he has been playing in a deeper role since returning from injury. That should mean chances for the men in front of him and given the first season in English football that Anthony Martial is having it would be no shock to see him cap it off with the first goal at Wembley. Martial scored the winner in the semi-final and at 6/1 with William Hill he could find the golden touch once more.
Manchester United to win at 17/20 with Sky Bet
Anthony Martial to score first at 6/1 with William Hill