Manchester City vs Manchester United Predictions

Manchester City vs Manchester United predictions for this FA Cup Final at Wembley. Manchester City aims to complete a double double by winning the FA Cup final against Manchester United. Read on for all our free betting tips and predictions.

Manchester City
Man Utd

FA Cup | Final – May 25, 2024 at 3pm UK at Wembley Stadium

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Manchester City vs Manchester United Predictions

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FA Cup Final Clash: Can Manchester United Upset Dominant Manchester City?

Key Stats

– Manchester City have averaged three goals per game in the last seven Manchester derbies.

– Erling Haaland has scored 27 goals this Premier League season.

– Manchester United have conceded 27 goals in their final 14 games of the season.

In a repeat of last year’s FA Cup final, Manchester City and Manchester United will face off at Wembley Stadium this Saturday. With both teams bringing different narratives into this clash, the stakes could not be higher. Manchester City, fresh from their fourth consecutive Premier League title, aim to add another trophy to their cabinet, while Manchester United look to salvage their season with a major silverware win.

Match Preview

Manchester City secured their place in the FA Cup final with a narrow 1-0 victory over Chelsea in the semi-finals. Pep Guardiola’s side have been dominant this season, not only clinching the Premier League title but also showcasing their prowess in cup competitions. Their route to the final has been marked by clinical performances and solid defence, attributes that have made them favourites for this encounter.

Manchester United, in contrast, have had a more tumultuous path to the final. Erik ten Hag’s men endured a shaky Premier League campaign, finishing eighth, and had to dig deep to overcome Coventry City in a penalty shootout in the semi-finals. Despite their inconsistent form, United possess the quality to challenge their city rivals, making this a potentially gripping contest.

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Team News and Tactical Analysis

Manchester City Expected Lineup:

  • Goalkeeper: Ortega
  • Defenders: Walker, Akanji, Dias, Gvardiol
  • Midfielders: Bernardo, Rodri, De Bruyne, Doku, Foden
  • Forward: Haaland

Manchester United Expected Lineup:

  • Goalkeeper: Onana
  • Defenders: Dalot, Martinez, Casemiro, Wan-Bissaka
  • Midfielders: Mainoo, Amrabat
  • Forwards: Amad, Garnacho, Fernandes, Højlund

City’s lineup indicates a blend of experience and youthful energy. Ortega’s presence in goal provides reliability, while the defensive quartet led by Dias aims to maintain a tight backline. The midfield, orchestrated by Rodri and De Bruyne, will be pivotal in controlling the tempo and launching attacks. Haaland, supported by Foden and Doku, is expected to lead the charge up front.

United, on the other hand, will look to leverage the creativity and tenacity of Fernandes in midfield. The defensive setup, anchored by Martinez and Casemiro, will be crucial in withstanding City’s potent attack. Højlund, expected to start as the focal point in attack, will need to capitalise on the chances created by Garnacho and Amad.

Gameplay Expectations

The gameplay is likely to reflect City’s dominance in possession and United’s reliance on counter-attacks. City will aim to dictate the tempo, using their midfield to control the game and create scoring opportunities through intricate passing and movement. United, however, will look to disrupt this rhythm with high pressing and quick transitions, utilising the pace of their forwards to catch City on the break.

Key duels will include Haaland against United’s central defenders, and the midfield battle where De Bruyne and Rodri will face off against Fernandes and Amrabat. The tactical nous of both managers will also be tested, with Guardiola’s emphasis on ball control and Ten Hag’s focus on defensive solidity and swift counter-attacks.

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Expected Goals Averages Analysis

City have averaged 2.5 goals per game this season, highlighting their attacking efficiency. Their ability to score from various situations, including set-pieces and open play, makes them a formidable force. Defensively, they have conceded just 0.9 goals per game, underscoring their solidity at the back.

United’s goal average stands at 1.5 per game, indicating a decent attacking output, but their defensive record is less impressive, conceding 1.5 goals per match. This disparity in defensive capabilities could be a critical factor, with City’s robust defence potentially nullifying United’s attacking threats.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Manchester City:

  • Strengths: Exceptional ball control, high pressing efficiency, and a versatile attacking lineup led by Haaland.
  • Weaknesses: Occasionally vulnerable to counter-attacks, reliance on a few key players for creativity.

Manchester United:

  • Strengths: Strong on counter-attacks, resilience in high-pressure situations, and the creative flair of Fernandes.
  • Weaknesses: Inconsistent defensive performances, over-reliance on individual brilliance, and a lack of depth in certain positions.

Tactical Analysis: Deep-Dive

Offensive and Defensive Strategies

Manchester City:

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are renowned for their possession-based, attacking football. The strategy hinges on quick ball circulation, exploiting spaces, and relentless pressing when out of possession. In recent matches, City have consistently dominated possession, averaging 65.4%, which underpins their offensive strategy. Key players like Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden orchestrate the attack with their vision and creativity, while Erling Haaland, with 27 goals this season, leads the line effectively.

Defensively, City maintain a high line, relying on the composure and positioning of Ruben Dias and Joško Gvardiol. Their defensive solidity is reflected in conceding only 0.9 goals per game and keeping 13 clean sheets. The pressing starts from the front, with Bernardo Silva and De Bruyne disrupting the opponent’s build-up play, forcing errors and regaining possession high up the pitch.

Manchester United:

Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United adopt a more pragmatic approach, balancing between possession and counter-attacking football. With 50.5% average possession, they are less dominant on the ball compared to City but are dangerous on the break. Bruno Fernandes is pivotal in transition, often initiating counter-attacks with his incisive passing. Rasmus Højlund and Alejandro Garnacho provide the pace and finishing required to capitalise on these transitions.

Defensively, United have struggled, conceding 1.5 goals per game. Their backline, led by Lisandro Martínez and Casemiro, has shown vulnerability, particularly against high-pressing teams like City. United’s defensive strategy often involves sitting deeper and soaking up pressure, looking to hit on the break, but this has led to inconsistencies, especially when faced with sustained attacking pressure.

Individual Performances of Key Players

Manchester City:

  • Erling Haaland: With 27 goals this season, Haaland has been a revelation. His physical presence and clinical finishing make him a constant threat in the box.
  • Kevin De Bruyne: The midfield maestro has contributed 10 assists, showcasing his ability to unlock defences with precise passes.
  • Phil Foden: Foden’s versatility and recent form, scoring six goals in the last five derbies, highlight his importance in City’s attacking setup.

Manchester United:

  • Bruno Fernandes: Fernandes has been United’s standout performer, with 10 goals and 8 assists. His vision and work rate are crucial for United’s attacking and defensive transitions.
  • Rasmus Højlund: Emerging as a key striker, Højlund’s tenacity and finishing have provided United with a focal point in attack.
  • Lisandro Martínez: Martínez’s defensive prowess and leadership are vital for United’s backline, although his aggressiveness can sometimes lead to disciplinary issues.

Impact of Management

Pep Guardiola:

Guardiola’s influence on Manchester City is profound, with his philosophy of total football shaping their playing style. His tactical flexibility, ability to adapt mid-game, and emphasis on possession and pressing have made City a formidable force. Guardiola’s meticulous planning and strategic acumen ensure City maintain their dominance in both domestic and European competitions. However, his tendency to overthink in crucial matches has occasionally backfired, adding an element of unpredictability.

Erik ten Hag:

Ten Hag has brought stability to Manchester United, instilling a more structured approach. His emphasis on balance between defence and attack has yielded mixed results. While his pragmatic style suits United’s current squad, it has also exposed defensive frailties. Ten Hag’s ability to motivate and adapt strategies based on the opposition is commendable, but his reluctance to deviate from a cautious approach in high-stakes matches has drawn criticism.

Man Utd

Expected Goals Analysis

Expected goals (xG) provide a quantitative measure of the quality of scoring chances. Manchester City, with their high shot volume and creativity, boast a higher xG, reflecting their potent attack. Their ability to create high-quality chances is a testament to their attacking strategy and player capabilities.

Manchester United, while effective in transition, have a lower xG due to their reliance on fewer, higher-risk opportunities. This disparity in xG highlights City’s superiority in creating consistent scoring chances, which could be decisive in the final.

Comparative Tactics and Performances

Comparing the two teams, City’s tactical approach is more refined, characterised by sustained possession, high pressing, and creating multiple scoring opportunities. Their defensive organisation and transition play are seamless, making them difficult to break down.

United’s tactics revolve around pragmatism and counter-attacking. While effective in certain scenarios, their defensive vulnerabilities and reliance on individual brilliance often leave them exposed. Players like Fernandes and Højlund have performed admirably, but the lack of consistency in defensive performances has been a recurring issue.

Suggestions for Improvement

Manchester City:

  • Defensive Transitions: While City’s high pressing is effective, quick transitions against them can be problematic. Improving their recovery runs and positioning during turnovers can mitigate this.
  • Overthinking Tactics: Guardiola should avoid overcomplicating strategies in high-stakes matches, focusing instead on their proven playing style.

Manchester United:

  • Defensive Solidity: United need to bolster their defensive organisation, possibly by adopting a more compact shape and improving communication among defenders.
  • Consistent Pressing: Enhancing their pressing strategy can disrupt opponents’ build-up play, reducing the defensive load and creating more attacking opportunities.

Pro and Cons of Strategies

Manchester City:

  • Strengths: Possession dominance, high pressing, and multiple attacking outlets. Their ability to control the game’s tempo is unmatched.
  • Weaknesses: Vulnerable to quick counter-attacks and occasional overthinking in crucial matches.

Manchester United:

  • Strengths: Effective counter-attacks, individual brilliance, and resilience in high-pressure situations.
  • Weaknesses: Defensive inconsistencies, reliance on counter-attacks, and occasional lack of cohesion in build-up play.

Controversial Critique of Managers

Pep Guardiola is often lauded for his tactical genius, but his propensity to overthink in critical matches sometimes undermines his team’s performance. This tendency to tinker excessively with tactics can lead to confusion and inefficiency on the pitch, which has been evident in some of City’s high-profile losses.

Erik ten Hag, while providing much-needed stability at Manchester United, has shown a conservative approach that can stifle creativity. His reluctance to adopt a more attacking mindset, especially in matches where United have the quality to dominate, has led to missed opportunities and drawn ire from fans and pundits alike.



Best Bet: Manchester City to Win and Both Teams to Score

Given Manchester City’s formidable attacking prowess and Manchester United’s inconsistent defensive record, this prediction stands on solid ground. City have been prolific in front of goal, averaging 2.5 goals per game this season, which speaks volumes about their attacking depth. Erling Haaland has been a constant menace to defences, supported by the creativity of Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden.

On the other hand, Manchester United have shown a propensity to score, particularly in high-stakes matches. Bruno Fernandes’ creativity and the finishing ability of players like Rasmus Højlund suggest that United can breach City’s defence at least once. However, their defensive vulnerabilities, having conceded 27 goals in their final 14 league games, indicate that City are likely to outscore them. Thus, a City win with both teams finding the net appears the most plausible outcome.

Correct Score Prediction: Manchester City 3-1 Manchester United

Considering Manchester City’s dominant form and their attacking statistics, predicting a 3-1 scoreline is consistent with their recent performances against top-tier opposition. City have regularly scored three or more goals against Manchester United, including two meetings this season where they netted three goals each time.

United’s defensive frailties further support this prediction. While United are capable of scoring through their dynamic forwards, their defensive lapses are likely to be exploited by City’s clinical attackers. The combination of City’s offensive firepower and United’s shaky defence makes a 3-1 victory for City a likely scenario.

Goalscorer Prediction: Erling Haaland to Score

Erling Haaland has been the standout striker in the Premier League, leading the scoring charts with 27 goals. His ability to find space, combined with his clinical finishing, makes him a constant goal threat. Haaland’s performance in big matches has been exceptional, often stepping up when it matters most.

Given United’s defensive vulnerabilities, Haaland is poised to take advantage of any lapses. His physical presence and instinct in front of goal mean he is likely to be at the end of City’s attacking moves. Betting on Haaland to score is a sound choice based on his form and the defensive record of Manchester United.

Corner Prediction: Total Corners Over 10.5

Both Manchester City and Manchester United average a high number of corners per match. City’s possession-based style leads to numerous attacking opportunities and set-pieces, averaging 7.5 corners per game. United, with their counter-attacking approach, also generate a fair number of corners, averaging 5.9 per match.

In a high-stakes final, both teams are expected to push forward aggressively, increasing the likelihood of corners. City’s sustained pressure and United’s counter-attacks should contribute to a high corner count. Thus, predicting over 10.5 corners in the match aligns with their season averages and playing styles.

Shot on Target Prediction: Phil Foden to Have Over 2.5 Shots on Target

Phil Foden has been in excellent form, particularly in matches against Manchester United. His ability to find space and create shooting opportunities makes him a constant threat. Foden’s performance in the previous encounters against United, where he consistently got into shooting positions, supports this prediction.

Given City’s dominance in possession and Foden’s role in their attacking setup, he is likely to have several opportunities to test the goalkeeper. His knack for cutting inside and taking shots increases the probability of him having over 2.5 shots on target during the match.

Yellow Card Prediction: Casemiro to Receive a Yellow Card

Casemiro’s aggressive style of play and his pivotal role in breaking up opposition attacks make him a prime candidate for receiving a yellow card. He is tasked with disrupting City’s fluid midfield, a job that often involves tactical fouls.

Throughout the season, Casemiro has accumulated a significant number of bookings, reflecting his combative nature on the field. In a high-tension final, where controlling the midfield is crucial, Casemiro’s aggressive tackles and interventions are likely to attract the referee’s attention, making him a likely candidate for a yellow card.

Assist Prediction: Kevin De Bruyne to Provide an Assist

Kevin De Bruyne’s vision and passing ability make him one of the most prolific assist providers in the Premier League. With 10 assists this season, De Bruyne is central to City’s attacking play. His ability to deliver precise passes and create goal-scoring opportunities is unmatched.

In a final where City will look to dominate possession and create chances, De Bruyne is likely to be at the heart of their attacking moves. His understanding with Haaland and Foden ensures that he will have ample opportunities to provide assists. Betting on De Bruyne to provide an assist is supported by his track record and the attacking nature of City’s play.

Innovative Market Prediction: Total Team Shots on Target – Manchester City Over 7.5

Manchester City’s attacking statistics underline their ability to generate numerous shots on target. Averaging 7.3 shots on target per game, City’s relentless attacking pressure ensures they consistently test the opposition goalkeeper.

In a final where City are expected to dominate possession and create multiple scoring opportunities, predicting over 7.5 shots on target is reasonable. Their array of attacking talents, including Haaland, Foden, and De Bruyne, guarantees a high number of attempts on goal. This prediction aligns with their season averages and the expected dynamics of the match.

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Tyler Morris
Sports writer and analyst Tyler Morris has more than eight years of experience writing about a range of sports. He has considerable knowledge of football, and he has also covered US sports extensively, offering in-depth comments and analysis on the most recent events in these sports. Tyler is a respected specialist in the field since he utilises his knowledge to provide incisive analysis and opinion on the most recent sports events with a track record of successful tips.