Soccer-More history beckons Man City as ailing United stand in their way

soccer-more history beckons man city as ailing united stand in their way

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v West Ham United - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - May 19, 2024 Manchester City's Kyle Walker lifts the trophy on the podium and celebrates with teammates after winning the Premier League Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Twenty five years ago Manchester United were winning an historic treble while Manchester City were just about clawing their way out of the English soccer's third tier.

On Saturday in the FA Cup final at Wembley, City will be looking to follow up their own treble last season with a double to underline just how far the pendulum has swung.

For the second season in succession, United stand in the way of City and another landmark triumph.

Only eight clubs in English history have won the English league title and FA Cup in the same season, United managing it three times during their pomp.

But no club has achieved the feat in successive seasons so City, who sealed an unprecedented fourth Premier League title in a row last weekend, have the opportunity to inflict yet another blow to the pride of their neighbours.

soccer-more history beckons man city as ailing united stand in their way

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Burnley - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - April 27, 2024 General view of the corner flag inside the stadium before the match REUTERS/Carl Recine

Last season United gave City a run for their money despite conceding a goal to Ilkay Gundogan inside 15 seconds, Erik Ten Hag's side eventually losing 2-1.

This season, however, while City have again looked untouchable, United have regressed and finished eighth in the Premier League, 31 points behind Pep Guardiola's side, having scored 39 fewer goals and conceding 24 more.

United also showed their vulnerability as they let slip a 3-0 lead in the semi-final against second-tier Coventry City before winning on penalties to ensure the same two clubs contest the FA Cup final two years in a row for the first time since 1885.

LAST HURRAH

With speculation swirling about Ten Hag's future, Saturday's showdown could turn out to be his last hurrah, even if the Dutchman does pull of a masterstroke and add the FA Cup to the League Cup he won his first season in charge.

United are seeking their first FA Cup triumph since 2016 when they beat Crystal Palace and could be boosted by the availability of midfielder Mason Mount.

But they will still start as huge underdogs and will need to produce the sort of display that sunk Liverpool in a quarter-final classic -- one of the few highlights in a season of mediocrity for the club.

"There's always that hope that they will turn up and produce some sort of performance, or moments," United treble winner Roy Keane told former The Overlap podcast.

"I think they have moments. You still have to have belief if you are a Manchester United player. Are City stronger and better? Yeah, of course, but you still have to believe you can turn up in a cup final."

For City, Saturday's clash will be tinged with regret. But for a penalty shootout defeat by Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-finals they could have arrived at Wembley with a consecutive treble very much on the cards.

That was the only blip in a relentless run which has seen them go unbeaten in open play since Dec. 6.

Any United fan hoping Guardiola's team might let their guard slip after the title celebrations will be sadly mistaken.

"We focus on the club mentality because we are going to need all of them and the lads showed they are ready for every challenge and it's even more when we're talking about a final," defensive lynchpin Rodri said.

"Every final is special for a reason and of course when you win it, it's special in its own way."

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

OTHER NEWS

21 minutes ago

Aryna Sabalenka to skip Paris Olympics to ‘take care of health’

21 minutes ago

Surgeon general asks Congress to require warning labels for social media, like those on cigarettes

21 minutes ago

BJP names election in-charges for Maha, Jharkhand, Haryana, J-K

21 minutes ago

ICC Will Rethink Keeping India And Pakistan in Same Group: Virender Sehwag

21 minutes ago

Saquon Barkley's Average Spring Not Indication Of What's To Come

21 minutes ago

Former MLB infielder and Braves coach Mike Brumley, 61, dies in car crash in Mississippi

21 minutes ago

Rory McIlroy and Erica Stoll 'held secret meetings at their $22m Florida home for a month' in a bid to salvage their marriage before his shock divorce U-turn

21 minutes ago

Video: Terrified calf repeatedly rammed by police 4x4 is 'limping, sulky and bruised' - as cow's furious farmer accuses officers of 'trying to kill' her amid backlash

21 minutes ago

'The Outsiders' wins best musical and 'Stereophonic' best play as women make strides at Tony Awards

21 minutes ago

Dark Knight Rises' Huge Batman Villain Connection (That Only Real Fans Noticed)

28 minutes ago

Ukraine will hold peace talks with Russia within hours if its troops pulls out of the country, Zelensky says

28 minutes ago

Travel insurance warning as holidaymakers told to be prepared this summer

28 minutes ago

Queen’s schedule and order of play for day one at Cinch Championships

28 minutes ago

Scotland vs Switzerland lineups: Confirmed team news, predicted XIs, injury latest for Euro 2024 game

28 minutes ago

Shopper airs frustrations after opening new hygiene product: 'Don't let companies convince you'

28 minutes ago

A Day in the Life of a California Fast-Food Manager Who Makes $174,000 a Year

29 minutes ago

AFL boss Kane admits umpire error late in Pies' win

29 minutes ago

Tesla owner shares photos of aftermath of dangerous crash: 'The safest cars in the world'

29 minutes ago

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway trims its stake in Chinese EV maker BYD to 6.9%

32 minutes ago

Tartan Army, and Switzerland, expecting Scotland backlash

32 minutes ago

Ukraine take on Romania with LaLiga top scorer Dovbyk up front

32 minutes ago

Germany's title credentials to be tested in Hungary grudge match

33 minutes ago

Why have the England players cut holes in their socks at Euro 2024?

33 minutes ago

Food bank hosts day camp to empower kids to fight hunger

34 minutes ago

Labour will not change council tax bands, shadow minister says

34 minutes ago

Trains cancelled as drivers refuse to work extra shifts on day of England match

34 minutes ago

Jewish senators alarmed by Alito’s pro-Christian agenda

34 minutes ago

E.coli outbreak - what do we know and what food should I avoid?

34 minutes ago

Apple Watch Series 10 will reportedly be a huge upgrade

34 minutes ago

If I’d put £10,000 into Meta stock at the start of 2024, here’s what I’d have now

34 minutes ago

"He would signal to coach to sub out Ilgauskas" - Gilbert Arenas recalls LeBron James' insane IQ in his first-ever playoff series

34 minutes ago

BTS RM: "Time Flows Differently Outside After a Long While"

34 minutes ago

Brave moment fearless former rugby star chased after teenage stabbers

37 minutes ago

7 warning signs your computer has been hacked — and what to do

40 minutes ago

Netanyahu has dissolved Israel’s war cabinet, officials say

42 minutes ago

Injured cow mowed down by police officer offered ‘idyllic’ retirement home after escaping breeding farm

42 minutes ago

Sparkles and showstoppers reigned supreme at the Tony Awards 2024

42 minutes ago

2024 MLB mock draft roundup: Here's what experts believe will happen in upcoming draft

42 minutes ago

Football fever inspires unusual opera in Germany

42 minutes ago

Free sunscreen as fans dodge heavy rain at Euro 2024