But then, things that seem too good to be true often are – ask any City fan. The League Cup final last season fell on the 34th anniversary of the last time they won a trophy. The giddy twats were designing pictures of Roberto Mancini stood in front of Wembley with “The Future Is Almost Here”. United then went to beat them in injury time at Old Trafford and three weeks after that Stoke knocked them out of the FA Cup. Another year without a trophy and “the future”, assuming they believe that to be a place where trophies are waiting for them, wasn’t close enough.
So, City have finally got their day at Wembley, but only because the FA want to rinse the fans in this country of their hard earned cash by arranging the semi-finals at the national stadium. All four semi-finalist have to make the journey down to London this weekend, as well as Wigan fans (all 27 of them!) and West Brom fans, and anyone taking part in the London marathon. Oh and the M1 will be closed too. Excellent.
I suppose I am relieved that the FA isn’t a fix though, because if it was, we’d certainly have to wait until the final to face City, knowing that 90 minutes of football could decide whether we’d win the Double (assuming we win the league) or whether City end their 35 year trophy drought. Unbearable. As it is, we’re potentially their penultimate challenge in their quest for silverware and United have far bigger fish to fry, in the form of a league title and European Cup semi-finals, after the weekend. Maybe that’s what makes the fixture as a semi-far more bearable. Saturday isn’t the end of our season, win or lose, so whilst I certainly want us to book our place in another FA Cup final and certainly want us to deny City of silverware, our priorities have to be winning that record 19th title and booking another date at Wembley in the Champions League.
What is disappointing is Wayne Rooney missing out on the occasion, given how well he tends to do against them. Despite both Chicharito (17 goals) and Dimitar Berbatov (21 goals) scoring more this season, Rooney is really starting to hit form so it’s a shame he won’t be playing.
To counter-balance this, Carlos Tevez is missing for City, after doing his hamstring in their 3-0 defeat to Liverpool. After Tevez, Mario Balotelli is their 2nd highest scorer this season, with just 6 league goals and 10 in total. Tevez isn’t just important to them, he’s vital, and his absence will effect them mentally as well as anything else. They looked like battered men at Anfield this week with their chins on the floor. Does Mancini have it in him to inspire a performance from them? Possibly, but I fancy Sir Alex Ferguson to do a better job of that with our players, not that they need too much help from the manager, with that winning mentality so deeply ingrained in our players.
The ideal thing to happen tomorrow would be to get an early goal and force them in to Plan B. Their defensive display at Wastelands this season was appalling but they seemed more up for it at Old Trafford. If we can get them early and draw them out, you’d have faith in our strikers being able to finish the job.
I just hope our lads do themselves justice. We’re better than City and I want us to go out and show that. We’ve had two gruelling games against Chelsea in the past week and a half which could have potentially taken something out of us. But we have to trust in the manager to pick the best players for the job.
COME on United!
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