Van Gaal can end Man Utd’s wait for silverware with FA Cup final win over Crystal Palace
Lee Gormley | May 19, 2016
Manchester United v Crystal Palace
- FA Cup final
- Saturday, May 21st
- Kick-off: 17:30 BST
- Wembley Stadium, London
- Live on BBC One
Man Utd look to end FA Cup wait
Louis van Gaal will look to end Manchester United’s wait for an FA Cup trophy when they contest Crystal Palace in the final at Wembley this Saturday evening, and the Red Devils will be confident of doing so having not lost this fixture since November 2011.
In fact, the men from Manchester have lost just that one game to the Eagles in an incredible 20 previous meetings, stretching back to 1991, and will take to the capital hoping to secure their first competition success since 2004.
The Red Devils have lost two finals, both 2005 and 2007, since last triumphing over a decade ago, but cup specialist boss Van Gaal will hope to add to his collection, which includes Copa del Rey and DFB-Pokal victories, in London this weekend.
Man Utd are the overwhelming favourites to lift their 12th FA Cup crown, which would tie them level with record holders Arsenal, and they are 31/20 with Coral to win to nil in normal time, while Alan Pardew’s Palace enter at 4/1 to cause an upset.
Cup coup crucial for Van Gaal
Under-fire United coach Van Gaal has recently maintained that his position in the Old Trafford dugout is safe, despite increased speculation linking Jose Mourinho as his imminent replacement, and the Dutchman will know all too well the significance of winning his first major honour at the club on Saturday.
Although, securing a cup crown in a fourth country in his managerial career may still not be enough to save his job, with Man Utd having already lost on 14 occasions this tumultuous campaign, including losses to Bournemouth, Sunderland, Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion.
The Eagles will take confidence from the Red Devils’ previous upsets this term but, with just one defeat in their previous eight outings, Man Utd look in a strong position to clinch their first major silverware success since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
Lingard urges Man Utd to avoid complacency
Ending the campaign without that crown secured would spell disaster for Man Utd and would likely see Van Gaal dismissed, but it’s a scenario wideman Jesse Lingard has urged his teammates to avoid this weekend ahead of a repeat of the 1990 FA Cup final.
“You’ve seen it at Old Trafford, Palace have got a lot of pace up front and a lot of power,” stated Lingard, who is 10/3 to net anytime in 90 minutes.
“They didn’t sit back and let us play, they made it hard for us most of the game. I think we’ll have to be patient and careful not to force anything too early on. We have to quieten their fans down.”
Joining the Old Trafford starlet in the Red Devils attack will be France international Anthony Martial, and the world’s most expensive teenager is 5/1 to strike last at Wembley, while in-form 18-year-old marksman Marcus Rashford is 5/1 to open proceedings. Marouane Fellaini has served his required suspension and is available for Van Gaal, with the Belgium targetman 7/2 to dispatch.
Skipper Wayne Rooney is on the cusp of becoming the club’s all-time leading goalscorer, as he sits just four goals shy of Sir Bobby Charlton’s record, and he is 5/4 to edge closer to that feat by firing in anytime, as he prepares for another potential shift in midfield.
Cabaye key to Eagles soaring
Rooney’s deployment in a deeper role could see him involved in a key battle with France midfield maestro and Palace star man Yohan Cabaye on the Wembley turf, with the latter Premier League star 5/1 to get on the scoresheet.
Connor Wickham is fit and ready to lead the Palace line, with the striker 11/4 to strike anytime, while Dwight Gayle (10/3 anytime) and Yannick Bolasie (7/2) could have an impact on the clash. Wilfried Zaha has the added incentive of facing his former employers in London, and the rejuvenated winger is 11/2 to show them what they are missing out on by finding the target.
Only one of the last eight FA Cup finals have gone to extra-time but a draw after 90 minutes between the latest finalists is 5/2 to occur, while Man Utd and Palace are odds-on 1/3 and 9/4 respectively to lift the trophy in the world’s oldest cup competition.