Monday, June 17, 2024

Manchester City 2-1 Manchester United: What Did We Learn As Guardiola’s Side Are Crowned FA Cup Champions And Take Another Giant Step Towards Treble Immortality At Wembley?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, FA Cup 4 Jun 2023

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With all eyes falling on Wembley on Saturday afternoon, Manchester City claimed a seventh FA Cup crown as they edged past bitter local rivals Manchester United thanks to a lively 2-1 win in the capital.

Opening the scoring in a remarkable fashion as the red-hot Ilkay Gundogan produced a thunderous volley after just 12 seconds, Pep Guardiola’s men will now know that they are just 90 minutes away from being crowned treble champions.

While Bruno Fernandes might have dragged the top-four returners level from the penalty spot 12 minutes before the half-time break, City’s superstar squad were a more than worthy winner at Wembley.

With Gundogan eventually notching the winner in north London and notching his third domestic strike in his previous four appearances, the Sky Blues are in the midst of what has quickly become a history-making flurry.

Although Erik ten Hag’s side might have suffered real FA Cup final heartbreak in north London, the Reds should look back on their domestic adventure with plenty of positives.

On an afternoon when Manchester City got their hands on a seventh FA Cup crown, what did we learn from Saturday’s heavyweight showdown at Wembley?

City are just 90 minutes away from immortality

While Manchester City might have marked their return from the World Cup’s festive break facing a real uphill battle in their bid to defend their Premier League crown, Guardiola’s men are now just days away from making major history.

Despite signing off the 2022/23 campaign with a 1-0 loss at the hands of Brentford, the former Barcelona boss has only seen his stacked squad extend on a history-making purple patch since opening the New Year.

Coming past their historic local rivals on Saturday afternoon and now ticking both domestic crowns off of their wishlist, City know that they don’t have much time to celebrate as they face another date with Destiny next weekend.

Punching just their second Champions League final ticket last month as they stormed their way to a famous 5-1 aggregate romp against Real Madrid, the Sky Blues will now have their full attention focused on European glory.

Making the trip out to Istanbul in seven days time when they meet Italian giants Inter Milan at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium, it is no secret that Guardiola’s side are seen as a landslide favourite to claim a maiden European crown this month.

Looking to become the first English club since United in 1999 to be crowned treble champions, City will travel out to Turkey with the mood in their camp at a red-hot high.

United should still take plenty of positives away from domestic adventure

Although Manchester United might have eventually missed out on the chance to end their noisy neighbours bid to be crowned treble champions, the Reds should take plenty of positives away from a maiden campaign under ten Hag.

While the Premier League heavyweights might have failed to find much stability since returning from the World Cup’s winter break, United have achieved everything that they were hoping for at the start of the season.

Despite opening ten Hag’s tenure in charge with back-to-back Premier League defeats when opening the 2022/23 campaign, the former Ajax boss has seen his squad come bouncing back in some style.

Ending their six-year wait to lift a piece of silverware back in February as they were crowned EFL Cup champions thanks to a 2-0 victory against Newcastle at Wembley, ten Hag has seen his side impress many among England’s elite this season.

Officially clinching a crucial Champions League return last month as they stormed their way to a stellar 4-1 romp at home against Chelsea, ten Hag’s side shouldn’t be to disheartened by their FA Cup heartbreak on Saturday afternoon.

Expected to break the bank this summer ahead of their Champions League return next season, Manchester United have proven that they are on the right track under the Dutch tactician.

Although they might still appear someway off genuinely challenging their bitter local rivals in a title scrap, the Reds will look back on their domestic adventure as a positive.

Gundogan cements his spot as a modern-day icon at the Etihad

While the record-breaking Erling Haaland might have stollen most of Manchester City’s headlines since arriving in the Premier League last summer, it has been another ex-Borussia Dortmund ace that has spearheaded Guardiola’s charge over the past few weeks.

Although Gundogan might remain heavily linked with a potential blockbuster switch to Spanish giants Barcelona when the transfer window reopens, the German international has only continued to demonstrate just why City are so desperate to keep their midfield talisman in the blue half of Manchester.

Opening the scoring at Wembley after just 12 seconds thanks to a stunning volley, Gundogan eventually dragged City seventh FA Cup crown on Saturday afternoon after bagging what was a famous brace in the capital.

Certainly cementing his spot as one of City’s modern-day icons since returning from March’s international break, the 32-year-old has hit a rich run of form at the back end of the 2022/23 campaign.

In fact, handed a well-deserved rest as Guardiola’s side signed off their Premier League romp with a 1-0 loss at the hands of Brentford on May 28th, Gundogan has now notched a brace in three of his last four appearances against top-flight opposition.

Although City’s midfield icon might be heading for the Etihad exit this summer, there is no doubt that Gundogan is desperate to complete the Sky Blues’ charge for the history books over the next few days.

Match Report

Manchester City: Ortega, Walker, Dias, Akanji, Stones, Rodri, Silva, De Bruyne, Gundogan, Grealish, Haaland

Subs: Foden, Laporte, Ake

Manchester United: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Varane, Shaw, Fred, Casemiro, Fernandes, Eriksen, Sancho, Rashford

Subs: Garnacho, Weghorst, McTominay

Goals: Manchester City: Gundogan (1’, 51’) – Manchester United: Fernandes (33’ P)

Yellow Cards: Manchester City: Ortega, Rodri – Manchester United: Fred, Wan-Bissaka

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Paul Tierney

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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