FA Cup Final betting: United priced too short to win 12th trophy

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Updated: May 21, 2016

FA Cup Final betting preview – Crystal Palace v Manchester United: Wembley Stadium, London, England; Sunday, May 22, 2.30am

 

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It’s been 26 years since Crystal Palace last made the short trip from south London to Wembley to contest an FA Cup Final, and again awaiting the Eagles are 11-time winners Manchester United. On that occasion in 1990, Crystal Palace came agonizingly close to causing an upset when taking a 3-2 lead in extra time, only for United to equalise seven minutes from the end. In those days, it meant a replay, which United won 1-0 in a far more sedate affair.

Alan Pardew (pictured below) has been a key component of both Palace sides – as a player in 1990, and now the manager. This cup run has been the highlight of their season. Despite a bright start under Pardew, their season petered out towards the end of 2015, with some of their counter-attacking quality proving not quite as effective in the second half of the season. They finished 15th on the league table with 42 points from 38 matches, just five above relegated Newcastle United.

 

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However, it would be misguided to write them out of FA Cup contention as they defeated Southampton (away), Stoke (home), Tottenham (away), Reading (away) and Watford (Wembley) all in 90 minutes to earn this opportunity. In their five FA Cup matches this season, Palace have only conceded three goals. Wilfried Zaha is expected to return for Palace after missing the last three games with a hamstring injury. Bakary Sako has also been passed fit for Palace, whose only absentee is midfielder Joe Ledley.

Alex Ferguson was feeling the heat when he led United into that 1990 Cup Final but victory would kick-start the most successful period in the club’s celebrated history. Louis van Gaal faces a similar scenario this afternoon but, unlike Ferguson, lifting the trophy may not be enough to save his job. That initial triumph under Ferguson was the first of five FA Cup wins for United in 15 seasons, and victory this weekend would be their 12th overall, moving them level with Arsenal at the top of the all-time list.

 

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United are playing their first FA Cup final since 2007. It’s their 19th FA Cup final appearance, equalling all-time record holders Arsenal. Back in the FA Cup Final for the first time since 2007, United have only lost one of their previous 20 meetings with Palace in all competitions, a League Cup quarter-final in 2011. Matteo Darmian, Morgan Schneiderlin and Marcos Rojo return for United, while Marouane Fellaini is back after a ban.

Adnan Januzaj and Timothy Fonsu-Mensah are unlikely to be fit, while Bastian Schweinsteiger and Luke Shaw are unfit and Memphis Depay is not in the squad. Van Gaal could have rested starters in the rearranged Premier League finale with Bournemouth on Tuesday knowing that Manchester City were no longer in range, but instead went full strength for a 3-1 win. They carry more momentum than perhaps at any prior point this campaign, having won eight times in 11 outings.

 

 

Confirmed bets (card finalised)

Crystal Palace/double chance (90 mins only) v Manchester United (one unit @ $1.90) WIN (1-1)

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT); prices with thanks to Bet365 (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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