This highly anticipated clash marks the first all-Manchester final in the history of the competition.
Despite ongoing national train strikes causing travel disruptions for tens of thousands of fans, a near 90,000-strong crowd is expected to fill Wembley, demonstrating the immense excitement surrounding the match.
Manchester City, having already secured the Premier League title and preparing to face Inter Milan in the upcoming Champions League final on June 10th, are vying for victory in the FA Cup to maintain their pursuit of an extraordinary Treble.
Meanwhile, Manchester United, who have previously defeated City this season, seek to build on their success in the Carabao Cup earlier this year and complete a domestic cup double.
Manchester United’s Manager, Erik Ten Hag expressed the team’s desire to win the cup, emphasizing their focus on their own aspirations rather than stopping City.
He acknowledged the great opportunity that lies ahead and conveyed his excitement at the prospect of playing at the renowned Wembley Stadium for the cup final.
Meanwhile, Manchester City’s Manager Pep Guardiola announced that he would field second-choice goalkeeper Stefan Ortega, who has started all five FA Cup matches this season, instead of their regular starter Ederson.
This decision highlights Guardiola’s trust in Ortega’s abilities and his desire to provide him with an opportunity on such a significant stage.
This year’s FA Cup final kicks off at 15:00 BST, a significant change from the 16:45 start time of the previous season’s final between Liverpool and Chelsea.
The decision to schedule the match at this time was influenced by security concerns raised by London’s Metropolitan Police, which classified the derby as high risk.
Furthermore, the 2023 FA Cup final has been pushed to June due to fixture congestion resulting from the World Cup in Qatar held in November and December the previous year.
This rescheduling marks the first time the final has taken place in June, breaking from the traditional May timeframe.
The match takes place 70 days before the start of the 2023-24 Premier League season, which is scheduled for Saturday, August 12th.
In terms of team news, Anthony Martial of Manchester United, will miss the final due to a hamstring injury, while Antony’s participation remains uncertain as United strives to win the FA Cup for the first time since 2016.
Antony suffered an injury in the victory over Chelsea on May 25th and, although there is a slim chance of his availability, Ten Hag indicated that it is unlikely.
On the City side, Guardiola confirmed that there are no fresh injuries within the squad. Additionally, Jack Grealish, who has been absent from play since May 17th, and Kevin de Bruyne, who missed the recent defeat against Brentford, have resumed training.
Guardiola expressed his pleasure at reaching the FA Cup final, emphasizing the importance of performing in the present moment rather than relying solely on past achievements.
He recognized the improvements Manchester United has made since the beginning of the season and acknowledged the quality of their team.
Guardiola’s side aims to emulate Manchester United’s historic 1998-99 season when they won the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League, while also seeking their second Premier League and FA Cup double following their achievement in the 2018-19 season.
Manchester City has reached the final without conceding a single goal, having scored 17 times in their five matches.
Erling Haaland, who joined City from Borussia Dortmund a year ago, has been instrumental in their success, scoring a remarkable 52 league and cup goals.
Haaland described achieving a historic treble in his first season with Manchester City as his “biggest dream.”
He acknowledged that the club brought him in with the aim of attaining such accolades and expressed their determination to make that dream a reality.
On the other side, Manchester United is no stranger to FA Cup finals, as this marks their 21st appearance in the prestigious tournament’s final—an achievement matched only by Arsenal in the competition’s history.
Alongside their Carabao Cup triumph, the 12-time FA Cup winners have secured a spot in next season’s Champions League by finishing third in the Premier League, albeit trailing City by 14 points.
Overall, United’s progress under the guidance of Erik ten Hag has been commendable. The manager highlighted the team’s journey from their starting point and the significant development they have experienced throughout a challenging league.
With a third-place finish, a League Cup victory, and an FA Cup final appearance, he believes the team has reasons to be content with the season.
However, he emphasized that the team will start from scratch in the summer, setting new goals and aiming for further progress.
United’s path to the final has been marked by victories over four fellow Premier League rivals, including Everton, West Ham, Fulham, and Brighton.
Their journey has showcased their resilience and determination to overcome formidable opponents.
As the anticipation for the all-Manchester final continues to build, fans from both sides eagerly await the clash between these two football powerhouses.
The stage is set at Wembley Stadium, and with the remarkable records and achievements of both teams, the 2023 FA Cup final promises to be a thrilling and historic encounter that will leave an indelible mark in the annals of Manchester football.