By Andy Hyslop
- United looking to lift FA Cup for first time since 2004
- Fellaini available after suspension
- Darmian, Rojo and Schneiderlin all fit and available
Manchester United face Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final on Saturday, it’s United first final since 2007 and they looking to lift the trophy for the first time since 2004.
The FA Cup is a competition United have had a great history in the past but it’s been twelve years they lifted the trophy for the eleventh time. United were last in the final in 2007, losing 1-0 to Chelsea after extra-time in the first final at the new Wembley Stadium.
Despite their long successful careers with United, the FA Cup is the one thing missing off the CV’s of Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney.
As for Crystal Palace this is their second appearance in an FA Cup final, with their only previous appearance coming in 1990 against United.
United won that one after a replay. The replay was won 1-0 with full-back Lee Martin getting the winner after the first game finishing 3-3. We won’t get a replay from this one as the winner must be decided on the day.
That success in 1990 was the first major success in the Sir Alex Ferguson reign and one that may have kept Ferguson in a job.
Should Louis Van Gaal guide his team to FA Cup success, it will be the first major trophy since Sir Alex Ferguson retired after winning the Premier League at the end of the 2012/13 season.
Crystal Palace manager was in the Palace team in 1990 and he took West Ham to final in 2006, losing on penalties to Liverpool. He will be desperate to avoid a hat-trick of FA Cup final defeats.
After a season that has seen Van Gaal’s squad hit by a high number of injuries, we have reached the last game of the domestic season and United have virtually a fully fit squad.
The absentees through injury are likely to be Luke Shaw and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Shaw has returned to training but this game has probably come just a few weeks too early for him.
Van Gaal confirmed in his pre-match press conference that defenders Darmian and Rojo are both fit and available for the final after missing recent games.
Schneiderlin and Fellaini are likely to be fighting out for a midfield berth. Fellaini is available after suspension while Schneiderlin missed the win over Bournemouth with illness.
When fit Rojo has been selected at left-back for the majority of the season and we expect this game to be no different with the Argentinian returning in place of Borthwick-Jackson.
In midfield we expect Carrick and Rooney to keep their places, while we expect Fellaini to come into the side in place of Mata.
A front three of Martial, Rashford and Lingard would mean that Van Gaal would start with pretty much the team that started the semi-final win over Everton.
Crystal Palace had an encouraging start to the Premier League season but their form dropped off in the second half the season and they eventually finished 15th.
They focus in the second half of the season has appeared to be on their FA Cup run, beating Southampton, Stoke, Tottenham, Reading and Watford to reach the final.
Wilfried Zaha is expected to be fit for Palace after missing the last three games with a hamstring injury, Bakary Sako has also been pass fit. Welshman Joe Ledley is their only absentee.