On Saturday May 21, Manchester United and Crystal Palace fans will head to Wembley to watch their teams battle to win the FA Cup. So how did the teams reach the final and what can we expect on the big day? Here’s our guide to the FA Cup Final 2016.
Manchester United – Looking for a Twelfth FA Cup Win
The Reds began their 2016 campaign to win one of the world’s best-known football trophies for the twelfth time with a shaky third round performance at home. They squeaked through with a 1 – 0 win against Sheffield United, thanks to an injury-time penalty from Rooney.
Goals from Rooney, Blind and Mata resulted in a fourth round victory over Derby County at Pride Park. They then beat Shrewsbury at New Meadow easily, with Smalling, Mata and Lingard scoring one apiece, while the home team failed to get one past the keeper.
United’s FA Cup journey looked to be coming to a premature end in their sixth round tie with West Ham, when Dimitri Payet scored, but Martial rescued them with a late goal. They earned a place in the semi-finals at the replay at Upton Park, with Rashford and Fellaini scoring.
The final team standing between Manchester United and a place in the final was Everton. The Toffees never really got going in the first half and a goal from Fellaini put United into the lead before half-time. A penalty save from de Gea kept them ahead until the seventy-fifth minute when Smalling scored an own goal. Martial scored the decider in injury-time, taking United into their nineteenth FA Cup Final.
Crystal Palace – The Road to Wembley
Crystal Palace’s first 2016 FA Cup tournament triumph was over Southampton at St. Mary’s Stadium. Ward and Zaha scored for the Eagles, while only Romeu managed to put one past the post for the Saints. A home tie with Stoke City followed and another Zaha goal there sent the Eagles flying into the fifth round.
Next on the list was a trip across the Thames to take on Tottenham at White Hart Lane. A superb performance from goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and a goal from Martin Kelly secured Palace a place in the final eight.
In the quarter-finals, Palace ended Reading’s hopes of a dream cup run. Cabaye and Campbell goals sealed a win for the Eagles while the home team failed to score. Their prize was a Wembley semi-final with Watford. Palace took an early lead, thanks to Bolasie, but Deeney equalised for Watford in the fifty-fifth minute. It took just six minutes for Palace’s Wickham to respond, however, taking the Eagles into the FA Cup Final for the first time in 26 years.
The FA Cup Final 2016 – Will the Reds Triumph or Will The Eagles Soar?
On paper, Manchester United are certainly the favourites. They’ve beaten Palace at 31 of their 48 meetings, with ten matches ending in draws. In their most recent match, a Premier League tie in April at Old Trafford, the Reds won by 2 – 0.
However, Manchester United’s performance has been patchy recently, while Crystal Palace have been on form for most of the season. The teams have met in one FA Cup Final, back in 1990. Although the Reds clinched the trophy in the end, Palace forced them into a replay first, and the Eagles will be desperate to seize the trophy this time.
Are you a Manchester United or Crystal Palace fan? Who do you think will win the FA Cup in 2016? Leave a comment and let us know.