Ake, Stones and Kovacic return as City make three changes for FA Cup final

City boss Pep Guardiola makes three changes for Saturday’s highly anticipated 2024 FA Cup final against Manchester United at Wembley.

Men’s team

What the derby means to me

John Stones, Nathan Ake and Mateo Kovacic all come into the starting XI of the team which secured a 3-1 victory over West Ham last Sunday to secure a historic fourth successive Men’s Premier League title.

Ruben Dias, Manuel Akanji and Jeremy Doku are all moved to the substitutes’ bench for the team that started against the Hammers.

With Ederson out for the season due to a fractured eye socket, Stefan Ortega Moreno retains his position in goal.

In what is the first ever all-English repeat of an FA Cup final, City will head to Wembley looking to emulate our triumph 12 months ago when we beat United 2-1 en route to the treble .


CITY XI: Ortega Moreno, Walker (C), Stones, Ake, Gvardiol, Rodrigo, Kovacic, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Foden, Haaland

Submarines: Carson, Dias, Grealish, Doku, Alvarez, Akanji, Nunes, Bobb, Lewis

XI UNITED: Onana, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Dalot, Amrabat, Mainoo, McTominay, Fernandes (C), Rashford, Garnacho.

Submarines: Bayindir, Lindelof, Evans, Mount, Hojlund, Eriksen, Diallo, Kambwala, Antony.


Goalkeeper Stefan Ortega Moreno was a mainstay of City’s march to Wembley, playing every second and the impressive German keeper lines up between the sticks again this afternoon.

He will be protected by a back four made up of skipper Kyle Walker, Stones, Ake and Josko Gvardiol.

Men’s team

Corrigan: Ortega Moreno outstanding so important for City

Rodrigo will act as the midfield anchor with Kevin De Bruyne and Mateo Kovacic also operating in the crucial engine room.

Erling Haaland, fresh from winning a second successive Premier League Golden Boot, will be the familiar attacking spearhead with Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden also set to be part of City’s attacking triumvirate.

Of course, City’s flexibility and tactical fluidity could well change as the afternoon goes on.

History calls us

Manchester City have become accustomed to rewriting the record books under the inspired leadership of manager Pep Guardiola.

Since the Centurions 100-point Premier League campaign we scored in 2017/18, our Fourmidables season of 2018/19 and our incredible trebles in the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup last season, City have reached a milestone. series of extremely important milestones over the past season. last years.

English football’s momentous victory last Sunday, which secured the first ever fourth consecutive title in the men’s top flight, only served to help establish Guardiola City as pioneers of excellence.

Now, in the final match of what has been a truly memorable 2023/24 campaign, City have the chance to create another notable first.

Because no other team in the long and memorable history of English football has achieved the feat of recording consecutive doubles.

It is also the first time that two English teams have met consecutively in a Cup final in the history of these famous competitions which dates back to 1871/72.

Men’s team

Gundogan: I’ll cheer for the boys!

The only other time two teams met in successive finals was in 1884 and 1885, when Blackburn Rovers met the Scottish team at Queen’s Park.

On those occasions Rovers came out on top in both finals – let’s hope that’s an omen this afternoon!

The four summits?

City will enter the match on the back of a superb 35-game unbeaten run in all competitions, a club record.

Today also marks the culmination of a season in which Pep Guardiola’s side have already won three major pieces of silverware.

Last August we won the UEFA Super Cup, beating Sevilla 5-4 on penalties in Athens after a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes and extra time.

This was followed in late December by the FIFA Club World Cup title, with City overcoming the challenge of Brazilian club Fluminense 4-0 in the final held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

A third trophy duly followed last Sunday at a packed and joyous Etihad as City beat West Ham 3-1 to secure a fourth successive Premier League title.

Now comes the final mission of another marathon 58-game campaign – and a chance to finish on another historic record by winning the FA Cup and thus secure a fourth major trophy of the season.

What an incentive…

Men’s team

Spotlight on other major global derbies

Statistics and facts

● This match is a repeat of last year’s FA Cup final, where City beat Manchester United 2-1 to complete the second part of their league title, FA Cup and Champions League treble. This is the second time in the history of the FA Cup that the same match has been played in the final in consecutive years, following Blackburn Rovers v Queen’s Park in 1884 and 1885.

● City have won both Premier League meetings against Manchester United this season, beating them 3-0 at Old Trafford and 3-1 at the Etihad. The last time we beat our neighbors three times in the same campaign was in 1969-70.

● Manchester United have lost six of their last seven meetings with City in all competitions (1 victory), including each of the last three in a row. They lost four times in a row against us between 2013 and 2014.

● Manchester United have won five of their last seven FA Cup matches against City. However, both defeats in this series came in matches at Wembley Stadium (2011 semi-final, 2023 final).

● City could achieve the league title and FA Cup double for a third time, a feat only achieved by Manchester United (1993-94, 1995-96 and 1998-99) and Arsenal (1970-71, 1997-98 and 2001- 02) had never succeeded before. ). We did it in 2018-19 and 2022-23, and could become the first team to do so in back-to-back campaigns.

● Manchester United finished eighth in the Premier League this season, the lowest-ranked team to appear in the FA Cup final since Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 in 2020. There have been six previous occasions when a team finished eighth or lower against this season’s champions. in the showpiece – Aston Villa (10th) beat Manchester United 2-1 in 1957, but since then these teams have lost all five finals by an aggregate score of 15-0.

● Manchester United are hoping to win the FA Cup for the 13th time, something only Arsenal (14) have done more. However, the Red Devils have failed to win the trophy in four of their last five final appearances, with the exception of 2016 against Crystal Palace under Louis van Gaal (2-1).

● City are aiming to win the FA Cup for the eighth time and for the first time in a row. Meanwhile, Manchester United have lost the showpiece in consecutive years once before, in 1957 (against Aston Villa) and 1958 (against Bolton).

● City are unbeaten in our last 35 matches in all competitions (W29 D6) – the second longest run by a top club in the history of English football, after 40 Nottingham Forest in 1978.

● Manchester United have lost 19 matches and conceded 84 goals in all competitions this season. They last lost 20 in a campaign in 1973-74 (22) and last conceded more than 84 in 1963-64 (89).

● City have won each of our last 11 FA Cup matches; excluding byes and canceled matches, there have been only two longer winning streaks in the history of the competition: Blackburn Rovers (20 between 1883 and 1886) and Chelsea (13 between 2009 and 2011) .

● Manchester United beat Liverpool 4-3 in the FA Cup quarter-final and drew 3-3 with Coventry City in the semi-final; The Red Devils had only conceded more than 3 goals in two of their previous 111 matches in the competition combined, while they have never done so in three consecutive matches.

● With City manager Pep Guardiola meeting Man Utd’s Erik Ten Hag last year, it is the first time two Championship managers have faced each other in more than one FA Cup final (excluding replays ).

● City’s Phil Foden has been involved in 10 goals in his last nine appearances in all competitions, scoring nine and providing one assist. He has also scored six goals in his last five games against Manchester United, while only against Brighton (8) has he scored more career goals than his six against the Red Devils.

● City’s Erling Haaland is the Premier League’s top scorer in all competitions this season with 38 goals. He scored 52 times last season and could become the first Premier League player to score more than 40 goals in consecutive campaigns.

● Erling Haaland was involved in nine goals in five matches against Manchester United in all competitions (6 goals, 3 assists), more than against any other team as a City player.

● Bruno Fernandes scored from the penalty spot for Manchester United in last season’s FA Cup final. He could become the fifth Manchester United player to score in the final in two different years, after Bryan Robson (1983 and 1990), Norman Whiteside (1983 and 1985), Mark Hughes (1990 and 1994) and Eric Cantona ( 1994 and 1996). .

● City’s Kevin De Bruyne has scored three assists in the FA Cup final, including Gabriel Jesus in 2019 and Ilkay Gündogan’s two goals last season. No player on record (since 1962) has provided more assists in an FA Cup final than the Belgian (Olivier Giroud also three).

● Phil Foden and Erling Haaland have both scored for City in both Premier League meetings against Manchester United this season; In the history of the Manchester derby, only two players have scored in three separate matches in the same season, with Dennis Viollet (1956-57) and Paul Scholes (2003-04) both doing so for the Devils Reds.

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