There is heightened tension because United have a chance to stop City securing a treble to match their own in 1999. There were 34 arrests when the teams met in the semi-finals at Wembley in 2011 and authorities will be hoping to avoid a repeat.
Kick-off was moved forward to 3pm at the Metropolitan police’s request because of the high-risk nature of the fixture. Train strikes on Saturday are making travel from Manchester more complicated for supporters. The clubs have been given designated service stations en route to London and there will be separate fan zones around Wembley in an attempt to avoid clashes.
“I will ask our fans to behave properly first and, secondly, go there to enjoy an incredible event,” Guardiola said. “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 it, so it’s going to be a football game. Enjoy the moment. When the people travel – unfortunately with the train strikes – enjoy [the occasion] and enjoy next week to prepare the [Champions League] final, dream to see the team. It’s the best way.
“It’s a football game, everything can happen. We will do everything to beat United. I understand completely that City fans were in the shadow [of United] for decades, behind United, playing the first time in the history of the FA Cup a final against them. Try to do the best game possible. Have fun, enjoy the right portion of beers before the game and that’s all.”
A victory would earn the Premier League winners’ second trophy of the season, with Internazionale to come in the Champions League in Istanbul.
City have not won the FA Cup since 2019 when they thrashed Watford in the final. Another winner’s medal would be an 11th major trophy for Guardiola at City.
He has no injury worries. Manuel Akanji, Rúben Dias, Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish missed the final-day defeat at Brentford but will be available. Definitely starting for City is the second-choice goalkeeper Stefan Ortega. The German has played every game in the competition and is yet to concede a goal, so he keeps his place ahead of Ederson as his reward.
“Stefan will play tomorrow [Saturday],” Guardiola said. “He played really good in the FA Cup and the last games to have a little bit of rhythm that Eddy has already. Eddy plays the final of the Champions League.”