We’ve got the team news right here for the FA Cup final between Man City and Stoke City. Plus some other news to up the word count…nothing’s changed since University.
So, Carlos Tevez has scored 22 goals this season for City and his return to action last week couldn’t have been timed better as he’s now set to play a part in today’s final at Wembley. The Argentine controversially handed in a transfer request last December before withdrawing in January. City manager, Roberto Mancini believes nobody should be at the club if they don’t believe in the ‘project’ the blue side of Manchester is carrying out.
This word ‘project’ gets battered about the City of Manchester Stadium (was well better when it was just Eastlands), all season and kind of makes the club sound like one of those AirFix models my Granddad pretends to build in the shed. The principal is there though and there’s no denying that City have progressed this season – qualifying for the Champion’s League is a milestone achievement in the club’s history and this FA Cup final is a big bonus.
Still, after such an investment from Sheikh Mansour, this ‘party’ is a little overdue and there still might not be any silverware by the end of today. When Roman Abramovich injected his Roubles into Chelsea, the club went on to win the league and reach the Champion’s League semi-final, in the second season under his reign. City, in comparison, haven’t won a bean yet and have spent over £1 billion of the Sheikh’s money.
This FA Cup is not just a traditional, domestic, honour for Man City – this FA Cup is the chance to make a statement and get the trophy ball rolling. The only thing standing in their way is a Stoke side who sniped a tactical 3-1 victory over Arsenal last week.
Stoke qualified for the Europa League by default this season, courtesy of Man City finishing fourth and sending their rival FA Cup finalists into Europe’s second grade competition. There will be no thank you from Tony Pulis’ side today though and Stoke will do everything to prove they would have qualified anyway!
The final itself has somehow become a bridesmaid to the bride that is Man U v Blackburn today, which finished 1-1, granting United a record 19th League title. However, I’ve got a feeling it could turn out to be a Pippa Middleton and steal the show. FA Cup final day is the only day (apart from World Cup final day) that has a magical effect on the most anti-footballing wives/mums of the country – who either step aside or actively pretend to be interested in what goes on:
“Who’s winning? Oh, I like that fella in the suit but why is he wearing a scarf? Where’s David Beckham?”
The competition deserves more recognition these days and just in case you’re wondering why the FA have decided to host the game on such a busy weekend, here’s why…Because the Champion’s league final is being played at Wembley this year, UEFA don’t want anyone stepping on the pitch for at least two weeks before the game – just like my mum with the kitchen floor prior to a family birthday.
Make no doubt about it, this FA Cup final is the One to Watch and no other game in sport, let alone football, should be able to take that away from what is a fantastic tournament.
ITV 1 – KO 3.00pm.
Here’s the team news for everybody who read this article and for the people who just scrolled down and skipped it all:
CM: de Jong
AM: Yaya Toure