Manchester City have already been crowned Premier League champions, but it would be viewed as a disappointing season at the Etihad if that is where their accomplishments end.
City are on the hunt for the ultimate treble, and that hunt will continue when they face their city rivals, Manchester United, in the FA Cup Final this weekend, before taking on Inter in the Champions League showpiece.
Surprisingly, this will be the first ever all-Manchester FA Cup Final. United have won the trophy 12 times – behind only Arsenal with 14 – while City are searching for their seventh title.
Pep Guardiola’s side are favourites for the trophy, having once again shown their dominance over English football this season. However, United did win the last meeting between the two sides – a 2-1 comeback victory in the league at Old Trafford in January.
When is the 2023 FA Cup Final?
The FA Cup Final takes place on Saturday 3 June at Wembley Stadium. Kick-off is at 3pm.
Normally the cup final is held in mid-May, but it has been pushed back two weeks due to the second half of the season being delayed because of the World Cup.
This will be the first time since 2011 that the final has been played at 3pm – what many view as the traditional time. In recent years it has been held later in the afternoon.
The final will be shown live on BBC One and ITV1. You will also be able to watch online via BBC iPlayer and ITVX.
What should we expect from the game?
United will be desperate to protect their greatest ever achievement and prevent City from moving one step closer to a league, FA Cup and Champions League treble. United famously achieved the feat in 1999.
If they succeed it will be their second trophy of the season – after the League Cup in February that ended the club’s six-year title drought.
City start as the undoubted favorite on the back of their stunning form since February that saw them reel in long-time leaders Arsenal in the Premier League race and sweep aside Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in the Champions League knockout stage.
Before a much-weakened team – featuring a bunch of youth players – lost at Brentford 1-0 in a league match with little riding on it last Sunday, City went on a 25-match unbeaten run in all competitions and won 20 of them. Along the way, they beat Madrid 4-0, Bayern 3-0 and Arsenal 4-1. Back in October, City thrashed United 6-3.
All those games were at home, though, and City haven’t been quite so machine-like on the road. And that’s not the only source of hope for United, who are seeking their 13th FA Cup title – only Arsenal (14) have more.
City manager, Pep Guardiola, talks often of his players having “rhythm” but that might have been lost after he chose to rotate his line-ups for the final two league games, with the title wrapped up. Before the loss at Brentford, City were possibly fortunate to come away from Brighton with a 1-1 draw.
Erling Haaland has 52 goals in all competitions in a stunning first season, but it’s just one goal in his last six games for the Norway striker.
Meanwhile, United won their final four games in the league, conceding just two goals in that period. And in the last meeting between the teams, United won at Old Trafford 2-1 in January – albeit after a debatable equalising goal from Marcus Rashford.
City are a different proposition four-and-a-half months on, though, and have more experience of these big, defining games than United in recent years. Guardiola certainly does – he is looking to claim the 34th trophy of his managerial career, and the 13th in his seven years at City.
That, of course, would set up City for a shot at standing shoulder to shoulder with United’s class of ’99.
“I will start to think about the treble,” Guardiola said, “when I go to Istanbul with two titles in my pocket.”