Who could possibly have thought it is going to be an all-London FA Cup final rather than an historic Manchester affair at Wembley on August 1?
I certainly didn’t, with City outright favourites to beat Arsenal in the first weekend semi final, and United just favourites to triumph over top four rivals Chelsea.
What happened is more proof that anything can happen in sport…and particularly in a two horse race!
Here is an eye-opening stat that will give Pep Guardiola (below) food for thought – City had 71 per cent possession but managed just one shot on goal against the Gunners.
Arsenal knew exactly what to expect with Guardiola’s lieutenant Mikel Arteta at the helm. For example, the tendency to leave gaps at the back and insistence on playing out from defence, rather than vary their tactics.
I do fear that City, despite their undoubted ability to maintain possession, will have to be much better if they are to win the club’s Holy Grail, the Champions League, for the first time in their history.
Betfred still have them 3/1 favourites, especially as they are 2-1 up against Real Madrid in their last 16 tie.
But there is substantial backing at Betfred for PSG who are now 9/2 shots, as they are in the easier half of the draw.
United, meanwhile, have a huge game to prepare for on the last day of the restarted season. Sunday’s encounter with Leicester, together with Chelsea’s clash with Wolves, will be fascinating as it will finally determine who finishes third and fourth in the table, behind Liverpool and City.
I’ve already picked out a City stat, well, ponder this one – before the weekend United had not conceded three goals in an FA Cup game for 22 years.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer clearly thought from his starting selection that Champions League qualification was more important than the world’s biggest and most famous knock out competition.
The big question for Reds like me, is whether David de Gea can remain our keeper. Our defence is floundering and his poor form means that he’s not able to boost confidence at the back.
So Solskjaer and Guardiola have the same problem…bolstering their defences. It should be an interesting summer on the transfer front, that’s for sure!
As for the golden boot, well Leicester’s Jamie Vardy (above) is now 2/9 with Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 13/2. Next up, is Southampton hotshot Danny Ings at 10/1 – and Liverpool’s Mo Salah who has drifted to 16/1.