Jamie Ohara FA Cup Preview

O’Hara’s Hunch: FA Cup Final Preview

With the Premier League season over we enter cup final territory, with the FA Cup final taking place on Saturday at Wembley.

Grosvenor Sport ambassador Jamie O’Hara previews this weekend’s huge game, which sees Treble-hunting Manchester City take on fierce rivals Manchester United.

Manchester City v Manchester United – Saturday, 15:00

Score prediction: Manchester City 2 – 1 Manchester United 7/1

Anytime goalscorer: Erling Haaland 13/20

I think it will be a tight game, I don’t think Manchester City will walk it. Recently we’ve seen big finals being very tight, like the playoff finals and Europa League final. They all seem to be very close, and at Wembley I think it will be a tight affair.

I still think City will win but Manchester United are going to do everything they can to stop the Treble. I think City will be too strong over the course of the 90 minutes and I can just see them winning it 2-1 with Erling Haaland scoring because it’s what he’s about, he steps up in big moments. But I don’t think it will be a walk in the park.

I think United can end City’s Treble hopes, and they will do everything in their power to because it’s the only thing they’ve got over everyone else. They’ve got the Treble-winning team from the 1999 season, similar to how Arsenal have got the Invincibles. They can say they’re the best team because they have those achievements, and everyone remembers what they’ve done. Of course, that means United will want to stop City from being able to say that they’re the greatest team. It is crazy to think that United are the team that can stop it and they will do everything in their power to do so, something special could happen and it could be written in the stars. On the other hand, this Pep Guardiola side is so strong, they’re such a force, they know what they need to do, and I just can’t see them not winning this.

If City win this game, I’d back them to go on and win the Treble because I think this is the tougher of the two games, as opposed to the Champions League final against Inter Milan. It’s Manchester United, a derby, it’s a cup final, everything is on the line including the 1999 season. The whole thing is built up for it to be a massive game.

If City can get through that game, then the Champions League final against Inter Milan could be a bit of a walk in the park. I think they’re way too good for Inter Milan, and I think they got through the toughest test which was Real Madrid in the semi-finals. If they can get past United, I think the Treble is done.

If City win the Treble, they’re right alongside Manchester United’s 1999 season and Arsenal’s Invincible season as one of the greatest teams of all-time. There is a debate to be had around whether they are the greatest team ever, but because of the modern era and how many good teams there are in the Premier League and the standard of football, the goals they’re scoring, and the teams they’ve beaten along the way you could argue that they are the greatest. It’s hard to compare eras but I would go so far as to say that if they win this Treble, I think they’re the best team ever.

FA Cup final combined XI

I don’t think I can make an argument for putting any Manchester United players in a combined XI! I don’t think there is a single United player who gets in.

You can’t put Casemiro in in front of Rodri when you’ve got Rodri and Kevin De Bruyne. The only way I could really fit him in to the side is if he played next to Rodri with Kevin De Bruyne ahead of them. But City have got Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish, Bernardo Silva, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake, who has been unbelievable, and Ederson, who has been unreal. I can’t say I’d put any United player in there.

City have conceded fewer goals, they’ve been better at the back, they’re physically better, better going forward, better in midfield, they’re just an all-round better team.

Goalkeeper: Ederson

When you look at the goalkeeper, there isn’t really a comparison between David de Gea and Ederson. De Gea is nowhere near good enough and although he’s been good over the years, I think he’s probably made the most mistakes in the league this season, and obviously Ederson is unbelievable so De Gea can’t really be in there.

Defenders: Kyle Walker, John Stones, Ruben Dias, Nathan Ake

There is no way I’d put Aaron Wan-Bissaka in over Kyle Walker. Walker is unbelievable and he’s probably the best right-back England have ever produced. His performance in the Champions League against Vinicius, who is one of the best players in the world, was so impressive.

Lisandro Martinez has had a good season and proven a lot of people wrong, but he’s still got holes in his game and in big games they’ve folded sometimes – they’ve been on the back of some absolute hidings. Ruben Dias has been brilliant, whilst John Stones has been sensational as well, even adopting a new role. Martinez has a had a really good first season at United, but they’re still conceding too many goals.

Midfielders: Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne, Casemiro

The only way I would put someone from United in is if you put Casemiro in alongside Rodri and played De Bruyne as a number 10. Casemiro has had a great season, but I don’t think anyone from United deserves to be in there in terms of what they’ve done this season. Casemiro only gets in there because he is the only one who I believe is a good enough player to play in City’s side, the rest of them wouldn’t get in their team.

Bruno Fernandes is a top-class player and he’s United’s star player, but he isn’t Kevin De Bruyne. If we’re talking about a player who would get in at Manchester City, you would say Bruno could potentially get in the side, but if they’re picking their best 11 then it’s De Bruyne over Fernandes every day of the week. De Bruyne has been up for Player of the Season, and although Fernandes has had a good season, it’s De Bruyne all day for me.

Forwards: Bernardo Silva, Erling Haaland, Jack Grealish

City’s attack has been immense this season, they’ve scored 94 goals in the league this season and these three have been at the centre of all of it. Bernardo Silva is a brilliant player and he showed it most in the second leg against Real Madrid in the Champions League, he can play anywhere across the front three and in midfield which is a real asset for any team.

Jack Grealish has really stepped up this season and he’s starting to look like the player we all thought he would be at City. He looks much more confident, and he has really bought into Pep’s system this year, which has really benefitted him and the team.

What more can you say about Erling Haaland? The number speak for themselves. Scoring 52 goals in all competitions is just ridiculous for a Premier League player and no one has come close to that for a long time. I think he’s probably the first name on this team sheet, he’s non-negotiable.





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