Manchester United v Crystal Palace Betting Preview
Back Manchester United to seal FA Cup glory with a win
After their convincing 3-1 win over Bournemouth in Tuesday’s re-arranged final league game, Manchester United will head into this weekend’s FA Cup final with a lot of confidence. Tuesday’s win ensured United of Europa League football next season, something an FA Cup win would have secured anyway. Louis van Gaal’s men have seen off tough Premier League opposition in West Ham and more recently Everton on their way to the final, and with only one defeat in their last seven games, United will know FA Cup glory on Saturday is well within their grasp.
The only thing that will worry Louis van Gaal is his side’s often unreliable defence, after keeping only five clean sheets in their last 13 games in all competitions. However, the Red Devils haven’t conceded more than one goal in any of their six FA Cup appearances this season, and I can’t see a Crystal Palace side who have struggled in the final third for the majority of the season to pose a serious threat to David de Gea’s goal. United’s most recent FA Cup victory came back in 2004 when they defeated Millwall 3-0, before going on to lose to Arsenal on penalties the following year. They’ve won the competition 11 times, and with four wins in their last six Wembley appearances, I wouldn’t be surprised if they made it 12 on Saturday. I’m backing Manchester United to win the tie.
Despite a poor league campaign, Crystal Palace still have the chance to lift domestic silverware after reaching the FA Cup final in impressive fashion. The Eagles defeated four Premier League teams on their way to the final: Tottenham, Southampton, Stoke and most recently Watford. Alan Pardew’s men have shown resilience and character in what has been a difficult season for the club, and conceded only two goals in their six FA Cup matches to make it to the last two.
Palace ended the Premier League season in 15th position, only five points above the relegation zone. They’ve also only won four of their last 14 games in all competitions, two of which came in the FA Cup. They’ve also conceded in 14 of their last 18 matches, and with United scoring in 11 of their last 12, Alan Pardew’s side will have good reason to fear van Gaal’s team on Saturday. Palace have never won the FA Cup, and only reached the final for the second time in their history this year. The only other time they reached the last two came back in 1990, when they were beaten by none other than Manchester United. I’m backing history to repeat itself this weekend.
Crystal Palace haven’t beaten United in their last 18 attempts, with the Red Devils winning 14 and drawing the other four. A League Cup win for the Eagles back in 2011 came in extra time, after the two sides played out a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes. Palace’s last win over United came back in 1991 when they came away 3-0 victors, however I can’t see them beating a strong Manchester United side to the trophy this weekend.
To score – Marcus Rashford 15/8
The teenager has gone from an unknown call-up to Manchester United’s FA Cup final frontman in the space of a matter of months. Rashford has scored seven goals in only 17 senior appearances for United this season, including one in three FA Cup starts, netting a stunner against West Ham in their quarter-final replay. He’s also booked a place in Roy Hodgson’s provisional 26-man England squad for the European Championships in June, as well as playing a vital role in United’s 3-1 win over Bournemouth on Tuesday. He’s shown composure under pressure and no signs of nerves on the big stage, and I’m backing him to find the net on Saturday, priced at 15/8.
Both teams to score in 90 minutes – Yes 5/4
Although I’m backing United to win the game, I think it’s likely that they’ll concede at some point during the 90 minutes. The Red Devils have conceded in all but two of their six FA Cup games this season, and although Palace have only conceded two in their five appearances, United’s 12 goals in the competition suggests that Palace’s defence will be in for a tough afternoon. I recommend backing good odds of 5/4 for both teams to score.
Match odds – Manchester United 8/11
United, unsurprisingly, are the favourites to lift the trophy on Saturday, and when you consider the recent form of both these sides it looks very much like it’s theirs to lose. You can collect odds of 8/11 for van Gaal’s men to win the game in 90 minutes. Never rule out an upset in the FA Cup, and Crystal Palace head into the game with odds of 9/2 to lift the trophy in normal time. The draw, and therefore the need for extra time, is priced at 13/5.
Writer’s prediction: Manchester United 2 – 1 Crystal Palace
*Odds correct at the time of publication, click here for all the latest odds on upcoming football matches.