Pep Guardiola has warned ahead of the first all-Manchester FA Cup final that United’s desperation to preserve their Treble legacy will make them even more dangerous for his City players at Wembley this afternoon.
United are bidding to complete a domestic cup double at the same time as trying to stop City from ending their much cherished status as the only English club in history to win the Treble in a single season.
Having claimed a fifth Premier League title in six years last month, City have a golden opportunity to emulate Sir Alex Ferguson’s 1998-99 team by beating United at Wembley and Inter Milan in the Champions League final in Istanbul a week later. Read more: Guardiola – United are dangerous, their Treble legacy is on the line.
When is the FA Cup final?
The FA Cup final will take place this afternoon.
Where is the FA Cup final?
The final at Wembley Stadium in north London.
What time does the FA Cup final kick-off?
The FA Cup final is back to its traditional 3pm kick-off for the first time in more than a decade, after police deemed it a “high-risk” fixture.
Although security and logistical advice is understood to be the main factor driving decisions for the first Manchester derby final, an earlier kick-off will also please fans of both clubs who are making the 170-mile journey.
The last 3pm FA Cup final kick-off was in 2011 but concerns have been raised at the higher risk of disorder associated with later start times.
The final is in June rather than the usual mid-May date after club football was pushed back this season to accommodate a winter World Cup.
This means a date clash with the Epsom Derby, which is also being screened by ITV and is now set to start at 1.30, before the FA Cup final.
What TV channel is the FA Cup final on?
This year the BBC and ITV have shared the broadcast rights for the FA Cup and the final will be shown on both channels.
Who is the referee for the game?
The job has gone to referee Paul Tierney.
The 42-year-old is from Wigan in Greater Manchester and is understood to be a Wigan Athletic fan. He has been a target for Jürgen Klopp this season, although the Liverpool manager has subsequently backtracked on highly critical comments about Tierney, and the decision by the Football Association shows they rate the referee highly.
Tierney will be assisted by Neil Davies and Scott Ledger with fellow referee Peter Banks as fourth official. League Cup final referee David Coote will act as video assistant referee alongside Simon Long.
Could the FA Cup final be disrupted by protests?
By Jeremy Wilson
The Metropolitan Police have warned that any protests at Saturday afternoon’s FA Cup final will be dealt with in a “speedy and robust” way as British sport braces itself for its biggest security test this weekend. The Epsom Derby and the Lord’s Test match could also face protests but the all-Manchester final will have the biggest TV audience and Wembley is on high alert.
Following the chaos earlier this year at the Grand National and then the World Snooker Championships, massive security operations are being planned to prevent environmental and animal rights campaigners from disrupting further “crown jewel” sporting occasions.
The Football Association has spoken to police about the possibility of the FA Cup final being invaded by Just Stop Oil after activists halted the snooker worlds in April and last Saturday’s rugby union Premiership final.
More than 1,000 police will be in and around Wembley Stadium and the Met’s deputy assistant commissioner, Ade Adelekan, said: “Protest is legal but protest that strays into criminal behaviour is illegal and will be met with the response that you have seen. People are likely to be removed and possibly get arrested.”
Security expert Alex Bomberg, chairman of Intelligent Protection International, believes the 90,000 capacity makes it impossible to stop a protester bringing powder into the stadium.
“It is very difficult, especially when you have activists who, like in terrorism, don’t care about trespassing in an area,” he said.
With the Epsom Downs open to the public, the Jockey Club has been granted a High Court injunction banning people from going on to the racetrack or disrupting the race.
Claudia Penna Rojas, a spokesperson for Animal Rising, said she was “prepared to do what’s necessary to do what’s right by these animals”.
Manchester City’s road to the final
Manchester United’s road to the final
Manchester City 8/15
Manchester United 9/2
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United are dangerous - their Treble legacy is on the line
Guardiola, who revealed that No 2 goalkeeper Stefan Ortega will start ahead of his usual first choice Ederson after playing in every round of the tournament this season, has acknowledged that United will have double the motivation to topple City
“I didn’t speak with Bruno Fernandes and company to know exactly the reason why it means more to them – the emotional reason why they are going to play the final,” the City manager said.
“But I could understand it, I could understand… it [the Treble] belongs to them. That’s normal – sport is like that. Records will be broken. [United fans think:] ‘That belongs to us. We don’t want anyone else to do it’. So it’s normal, that feeling. It’s completely understandable. But it’s a football game – who will be better will win.”
Guardiola said there had not been a single mention of the Inter game this week as they focus fully on the threat posed by United.
“No, absolutely not – we didn’t speak once about Inter in these days,” he said. “United deserve full attention and commitment.”
After decades spent playing second fiddle to United, City are now the top dogs and Guardiola has urged his fans to enjoy the moment and to behave ahead of a game that poses both security risks and logistical headaches given the enmity between the clubs, national rail strikes and the threat of pitch invasions from Just Stop Oil protesters.
“They [City fans] have fun these years and this season,” he said. “I will ask our fans to behave properly first and secondly go there to enjoy an incredible event. The players will give everything to beat Man United. The consequences and the result, who knows? I don’t know. Erik ten Hag doesn’t know. Enjoy the moment.
“Tonight, when people travel, and tomorrow – unfortunately with the train strikes still on – enjoy, and enjoy next week to prepare the [Champions League] final. A dream to see the team. I understand completely [what it means] for City fans, who were in the shadow for decades, behind United. Have fun, enjoy the right portion of beers before the game and that’s all. Enjoy it.”
Guardiola’s insistence that Ortega will start ahead of Ederson came as something of a surprise on Friday. The Catalan’s decision to start Ederson’s understudy, Zack Steffen, in the FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool last season backfired spectacularly, with the stand-in goalkeeper at fault for the second goal in a 3-2 defeat at Wembley. But Guardiola said he was confident Ortega would deliver.
“He’s going to play yeah, it’s always like that, even in Barcelona, the keeper who has played FA Cup [stays in goal],” the City manager said. “He plays really good in the FA Cup and the last [league] games [against Chelsea and Brighton] to have a little bit of rhythm that Eddy [Ederson] has. Eddy plays the final of the Champions League.”
Despite Guardiola’s claims, Ten Hag has told his United players to forget all the talk about “Treble busting” and insisted the game is about creating a new legacy for the club, not preserving an old one.
“I know [what the Treble means to the fans], I know what is the thinking from the fans,” the United manager said. “But what we want is to restore Manchester United by winning trophies so on Saturday we have an opportunity to win a trophy and we don’t want to be distracted by anything [else]. If it is important for the fans, it is important for us, so we will give everything to win the Cup.”
Asked why he was not using it as extra motivation, Ten Hag added: “Because it is not necessary. It will not give more motivation for the team because their motivation is already enough – it can’t be more. They want to win a cup and they have an opportunity.”
Ten Hag said it was “unlikely” winger Antony would recover from an ankle injury in time and revealed that Anthony Martial is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a hamstring tear, a situation that could complicate any plans to sell the fitful France striker this summer.
“Yeah it’s going to be a long one but how long we don’t know, we have to do more assessment,” Ten Hag said of Martial’s injury.