The FA Cup Final is historically one of the most prestigious and well respected tournaments in Europe. It has been host to some unforgettable moments in football, including the famous strike from Stephen Gerrard in 2006 against West Ham to take the game to 3-3 and into extra time, or my favourite ever Ryan Giggs goal in which he effortlessly tore Arsenal apart at Villa Park to put United through to the FA cup Final held at the Old Wembley Stadium. That year, might I add, United went on to win the Treble of the FA Cup, Premiership and the Champions League.
In recent years however, the FA Cup has lost its sparkle. The Cup that was once so coveted by the best in England has become something of a consolation prize for those who would much rather concentrate on their European campaigns. This year is no different, as Manchester City face Stoke at Wembley Stadium on Saturday the 14th of May. This will be the first ever Cup final for Stoke and they will look to upset the mighty Manchester City, who will be competing in their 8th FA Cup Final.
Stoke will be high on confidence after beating Arsenal 3-1 at the weekend, and will look to solidify their place as a respected top flight team with a strong performance at the weekend. Currently sitting in 8th in the league, this will mark the most successful season in Stoke’s history and manager Tony Pulis has been praised as one of the managers of the season. Manchester City will hope that Carlos Tevez is fit for the occasion and the pressure is on for them to bring home some silverware after very up and down season.
The FA Cup is currently under review from The FA as they look to reinstall the excitement that the competition once generated. The idea of scrapping replays will make teams play a more attacking style of football as opposed to settling for a draw to take the game back to their home territory. This would also allow for the proposed ‘winter-break’ in the Premier League to take place, freeing up mid-week slots to allow for more games to be played before and after the Christmas Period. I was having a discussion with my Dad at the weekend and I asked him if he was going to watch the game. He responded with the answer “no” and went on to tell me that as a boy, the whole country would have stopped and got together to watch the Final, no matter who was playing. Nowadays the competition has been dwarfed by the might of the European Trophies, with The FA Cup being placed on the back burner for the top 4 clubs. Hopefully we can reinstall a sense of pride about a competition that has now been running for 139 years, and as a Manchester United Supporter I will be cheering on Stoke hoping that they can ruin City’s day.
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