Manchester is one of the most important cities in England. Apart from its historic significance as the industrial powerhouse of Britain, today it carries a reputation as one of the most football-loving cities in the world. It hosts two great clubs, Manchester United and Manchester City. Manchester United being the older of the two has been more successful, while City's upward trajectory began when the club was bought by billionaires in 2009.
Just 3 days ago, both teams had high expectations of winning the oldest prize in club football- the FA Cup. But we saw that the dream of one side became a reality, the other was beaten squarely by a team from Leicester. Why the difference in outcomes? Why did United crash and City soar?
We will find out below.
1. City were more disciplined defensively while Man United was sloppy at the back.
City has metamorphosed into one of the best defenses in Europe. This has been a fundamental change in Pep Guardiola's philosophy over the years. This season, Pep has developed a system of mass attack, mass defense, with little emphasis on high pressing and more emphasis on being compact and not being caught out of shape. Conversely, all 3 goals conceded by United were defensive errors. All could have been avoided had the players done their jobs of marking a man and passing the ball to their teammates, and not the opposition.
2. Leicester were 100% set, City's bench was too much for Everton
Another fact to note was that Leicester was set for the game. They had no commitment in Europe during the week, so they could rest and prepare very well for the game. According to Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans, the Foxes knew United would be trying to get over their Thursday game against Milan in Italy and decided that they were going to be very physical and press United at every opportunity. Indeed, this was what led to the first goal. Everton on the other hand had the game under control for 80 minutes, but once Kevin De Bruyne was called in, Everton could not hold out.
The fixture has been drawn to take place on the 17th of April 2021. Let's give a sneak peek.
With City still in good form on four fronts, their dream of an unprecedented quadruple continues. The Citizens are on top of the Premier League, they're on course in the Champions League quarter-finals and will be playing in Carabao Cup final in a matter of weeks. Also, City have now reached the semifinals of the FA Cup for the last 3 years. Chelsea on the other hand, under new manager Thomas Tuchel extended the club's record-breaking unbeaten start to 14 games with a comfortable 2-0 win over Sheffield United in the quarterfinal. Chelsea will look to right last season's loss to Arsenal in the final, by clinch9ng the trophy they last won in 2018. City have over 60% chance of beating Chelsea in normal time, while Chelsea has a 21.7% chance of getting the better of City in regulation time. Bet the match now.
After subduing United, one would be tempted to predict an easy win for Leicester. But Sou'ton is no pushovers. They comfortably beat Bournemouth to qualify for the semifinal, and for a tournament that began with over 50 teams, the FA Cup's reputation for big kills by unlikely teams could surface. This season, the Saints have held Chelsea, beat Liverpool, Arsenal, and Everton. We are predicting that they have a 29% chance of beating the Foxes this time. Bet the match now.
So there you have. It's better to place a wager early on, and not miss out.
Bonus FA Cup Fact: The FA Cup final on May 12th could be played in front of 20,000 fans as one of the proposed pilot events to test the return of crowds to stadiums in England following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.