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On Saturday afternoon, Manchester City and Manchester United will go head-to-head in the first-ever Manchester derby FA Cup final. If that didn’t make the match big enough, there is also the added factor of Manchester City being on course to match the historic treble that Manchester United achieved back in 1999.
As things stand, United are the only English club to have won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in the same season but a Manchester City win on Saturday would move them to within just one win of matching it. Guardiola may well have one eye on the Champions League final next week in Istanbul but will surely be aware of just how much this one means to the club’s supporters.
For Manchester United and Erik Ten Hag, the matter is a lot simpler. This is their final match of the season and the last chance to do anything about City potentially stealing their thunder. It has been a positive opening campaign for Ten Hag as the Manchester United boss and he has led the team to a Carabao Cup title and a third-place finish in the league, however, a win on Saturday would make it a truly tremendous one.
The match is set to kick off at 15:00 UK time and viewers in the United Kingdom will be able to watch all the action unfold on either BBC One or ITV One.
Manchester City Team News: Guardiola confirms goalkeeper decision
Over the past week, there has been much debate in the media around whether Pep Guardiola would continue with Stefan Ortega as his goalkeeper for the final or if he would bring in Ederson. Ortega has played in every cup match for City this season and Guardiola has confirmed that he is set to stick with the German for the final despite the stakes involved.
🗣 "He is going to play." ✅
Pep Guardiola is staying loyal to Stefan Ortega for the FA Cup final 🧤 pic.twitter.com/Z5YbcLZ5h3
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) June 2, 2023
In other news for Manchester City, everyone in the squad is fit and available again after a couple of injury concerns in recent weeks. Kevin De Bruyne, Jack Grealish, Manuel Akanji and Ruben Dias have all missed matches since City wrapped up the league with Guardiola insisting that all four were dealing with problems. However, in his final press conference before the final, the Spaniard confirmed that they were all available for selection.
While much of the City team picks itself, there is one big decision left for Guardiola to make. Nathan Ake, who has been sublime for the Blues all season, only returned from a hamstring injury against Brentford last weekend and looked rusty on his return to action. Whether Guardiola risks him against the pace of Marcus Rashford remains to be seen, with Manuel Akanji waiting in the wings.
Manchester United Team News: Antony is unlikely to make the squad
Erik Ten Hag has had to deal with several injury problems throughout his debut season at Old Trafford, and ten days ago he saw his £80m man, Antony, stretchered off with an ankle injury. Although Ten Hag suggested last weekend that the Brazilian still had a chance of playing in the final he has since conceded that he is “unlikely” to make it.
Ten Hag says Antony is unlikely to be fit for the FA Cup final: "Dos Santos still has a chance but it’s a really small chance – he didn’t make the progress, so he still has a chance but unlikely he is available."
— utdreport (@utdreport) June 2, 2023
Anthony Martial has also been ruled out this week, meaning that United are without five first-team players this weekend. With Martial and Antony ruled out, Ten Hag may be tempted to play Alejandro Garnacho from the start. The winger, who signed a new long-term deal at the club earlier this year, changed the game in the most recent Manchester derby and he may well be set for a starting birth on Saturday.
Another big decision that Ten Hag has to make relates to his midfield. Christian Eriksen has been poor since returning from injury in April and perhaps doesn’t have the legs for a game like this. This could mean that Fred or Scott McTominay could get the nod in midfield alongside Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes.
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