Kick Off: 17:30 (BST)
Crystal Palace square off against Manchester United in the final of the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday and the Eagles will be making history if they manage to earn a victory on the day.
Following a brilliant start to the season, Crystal Palace’s form during the second half of the campaign has been simply atrocious and a 15th placed finish can certainly be seen as very disappointing at the end.
The poor run of form has somewhat raised question marks regarding if Alan Pardew is the right man to lead Palace’s hopes of becoming an established a top half table team.
Nonetheless, Pardew has guided Palace to the FA Cup final and the 54-year-old will be able to preserve his status as a club legend if he is able to guide the Eagles to their first ever triumph in the competition.
However, Palace are faced with the daunting task of going up against giants Manchester United and while the Red Devils are no longer the force they used to be, the match is surely going to be a tough encounter for the Eagles.
Crystal Palace FC Team News
Joe Ledley has been ruled out of the clash due to injury and Pardew has labeled his absence as ‘a terrible shame’. As a huge boost though, Wilfried Zaha and Bakary Sako have been passed fit and will be available to feature on the day.
In goal, Wayne Hennessey looks a certain starter and he will surely have a huge role to play if Palace are to earn a victory from the encounter.
At the back, Pardew should go with his tried and tested backline consisting of Danny Ward, Scott Dann, Damien Delaney and Pape Souare while Martin Kelly will also be hopeful of featuring on the day.
Yohan Cabaye did not feature in the 4-1 defeat against Southampton last week but he is certain to start on Saturday and it will be interesting to see if Pardew goes with either James McArthur or Mile Jedinak to partner the Frenchman at the middle of the park.
Zaha fit for the clash against his former club
Jason Puncheon will be starting in the attacking midfield position while the duo of Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie are the players who are set to be deployed on the wide areas.
Connor Wickham got the winner in the semi final against Watford last time out but Dwight Gayle has been hitting form and Pardew will certainly have a selection dilemma on his hands.
Emmanuel Adebayor has already revealed that the FA Cup final will be his last game for Palace and one can be sure that the Togolese international will be keen on making an impact during the encounter.
Crystal Palace FC vs Manchester United FC Probable Lineups
Crystal Palace FC: Hennessey; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare; Cabaye, McArthur, Puncheon; Bolasie, Wickham, Zaha
Manchester United FC: De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Blind, Borthwick-Jackson; Carrick, Rooney; Martial, Mata, Lingard; Rashford
Crystal Palace FC vs Manchester United FC Head to Head
20/04/2016 Manchester United 2 – 0 Crystal Palace
31/10/2015 Crystal Palace 0 – 0 Manchester United
Crystal Palace’s Route to the final
3rd Round: Southampton 1-2 Crystal Palace
4th Round: Crystal Palace 1-0 Stoke City
5th Round: Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Crystal Palace
Quarter-Finals: Reading 0-2 Crystal Palace
Semi-Finals: Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford
Manchester United’s Route to the final
3rd Round: Manchester United 1-0 Sheffield United
4th Round: Derby County 1-3 Manchester United
5th Round: Shrewsbury Town 0-3 Manchester United
Quarter-Finals: Manchester United 1-1 West Ham United
(Replay) West Ham United 1-2 Manchester United
Semi-Finals: Everton 1-2 Manchester United
Crystal Palace FC vs Manchester United FC Match Prediction
Crystal Palace have never won the FA Cup and this is only the second time the Eagles will be making an appearance in the final of the historic competition. As for Manchester United, they have already lifted the trophy on 11 occasions and clearly boast a rich tradition.
However, this does not mean that Palace necessarily have to fear United heading into the encounter on Saturday as past history means little in such one off encounters and while the Red Devils might be favourites, the Eagles certainly have enough about them to cause problems.
In saying that, a bit of history is relevant here as Palace faced United in their last appearance in the FA Cup final back in 1990 and current boss Pardew featured in the side for the Eagles.
Therefore, Pardew will surely be hoping that his side can take revenge for his painful defeat 26 years ago and if Palace are able to win on the day, the entire squad will surely go down as legends.
The match will be a very close encounter and Palace will need to contain United’s possession style play and hurt them on the counter attack by using the pace of the wide players. Yohan Cabaye will also have a crucial role in controlling things at the middle of the park.
Palace are admittedly underdogs heading into the encounter but the FA Cup is known for its upsets and with tactical nous and a bit of luck, there is no reason why the Eagles will not be able to claim the famous trophy.