THE first FA Cup final at the ‘new' Wembley was an absolute stinker between Chelsea and Man Utd. Let's hope they serve up far better on Saturday! Daniel McCulloch (@danmcc84) gives us his thoughts.
Chelsea v Manchester United | Saturday 17:15 | BBC One
In the build up to tomorrow’s game, I have seen plenty of reminders of the 2006 FA Cup Final between Liverpool and West Ham. To be honest, I think the reason for this is that it was the last truly great final. Since that game there have been just 23 goals in 11 matches and unsurprisingly the bookmakers are not expecting a goal fest, with under 2.5 goals priced as short as 3/5.
In all honesty, I do not blame them. Even before you factor in the significance of a Wembley final, the records of the two managers does not suggest a thriller. Between them under their current clubs, they have played 40 games against other members of ‘The Big Six’ and just 94 goals have been scored at an average of 2.35.
There were a few angles I liked the look of; A goalless fixture looks like it’s of reasonable value at 7/1 and the game being 0-0 at half time also holds some appeal at 6/4.
However, it is United to win by a single goal at 7/2 that gets my vote. This term, five of their ten fixtures against other members of ‘The Big Six’ have seen them emerge victorious by the tightest of margins. Indeed, they’ve beaten all five other sides in this manner. Additionally, they beat Spurs in the semi-final in this manner.
Chelsea have lost three of their ten fixtures by a single goal, including their last game against tomorrow’s opponents.
Only one of their ten fixtures against their peers this term has been settled by a wider margin – a 3-1 reverse to Tottenham – so I am confident it will be a closely fought game and believe that at 7/2, United winning such an encounter represents value.
I was tempted to also back 1-0 but I wouldn’t rule out United winning from behind. They managed this in their last encounter with Chelsea, as well as the semi-final against Tottenham and, of course, that magnificent comeback against Manchester City to prevent The Citizens winning the title that day.
He gets it wrong occasionally, but Jose Mourinho is the master of winning tight matches against sides of similar ability and I believe the value is in him doing the same at Wembley tomorrow afternoon.
Chelsea v Manchester United – Manchester United to win by exactly one goal (7/2 Paddy Power)