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The Red Devils Beat the Cityzens to End Season on a High With a Trophy | Three Takeaways From the Man United vs Man City FA Cup Final

Manchester City vs Manchester United, FA Cup

Manchester United beat Manchester City 2-1 in the FA Cup final at the Wembley Stadium last Sunday. The win meant the Red Devils finished the 2023-24 season on a high, having endured a very disappointing league campaign. It is United’s second trophy under manager Erik ten Hag after the EFL Cup triumph last season.

Having finished eighth in the Premier League season, Ten Hag’s men will be somewhat boosted by their FA Cup win over the PL champions. Moreover, the club have also now ensured participation in the Europa League next season by winning the domestic knockout cup.

MAnchester United, Manchester City, FA Cup, FA Cup winners 2024
Image Obtained Via Fox Sports

Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo scored for the Red Devils in the first half to give them a 2-0 lead. Jeremy Doku reduced the deficit for Man City in the second half but United held on to win the coveted FA Cup for the 13th time. On that note, let us take a look at three takeaways from the match:

#1. Manchester United’s Counter-attacking Football Did The Trick For Them:

Manchester United started with a 4-3-3 formation, using Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay in tandem as the false nine. Mainoo and Sofyan Amrabat played as the two defensive midfielders to lend solidity to their defensive set-up.

The Red Devils scored both their goals from counter-attacks, resulting from long balls played to their forwards from inside their own half. It was a predictable ploy against the Cityzens, who played with a high defensive line for the most part.

Kobbie Mainoo and Alejandro Garnacho, Manchester United 2-1 City FA Cup
Image Obtained Via The Telegraph

Moreover, a miscommunication between defender Josko Gvardiol and goalkeeper Stefan Ortega was also to be blamed for the first goal Pep Guardiola’s side conceeded. Overall, it was an unsatisfactory defensive performance from the Cityzens.

#2. Manchester City Dominated Possession, But Their Attack Lacked Teeth:

Manchester City ended the match with a staggering 74% ball-possession, which indicates that the match was largely played inside United’s half. However, Guardiola’s men were able to have only four shots on target, which implies that Ten Hag’s ultra-defensive strategy was executed well by his players.

There was always an extra United player to take care of the opponent’s attacking players and the Red Devils’ defenders kept crowding their penalty box to keep striker Erling Haaland at bay. The likes of Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva were off-color, as City struggled to create openings.

#3. Manchester City’s Team Selection Raised A Few Eyebrows:

Pep Guardiola’s decision to leave Doku on the bench to play Foden on the left flank was a questionable one. It is quite clear that Foden does not enjoy playing on the left much and it was also evident that Man United would adopt an ultra-defensive approach in the FA Cup final, just as most teams do against Man City.

The Spanish boss took Kevin De Bruyne and Mateo Kovacic, who started alongside Rodri in the double-pivot in City’s 4-2-3-1, off and introduced Doku and Julian Alvarez in the second half. Alvarez failed to impress much, but Doku was instrumental in spearheading the Cityzens’ attacks.

The Belgian attacker had a great battle with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and managed to dribble past opposition defenders a number of times. He also scored their only goal of the match to finish a season that has seen him rise to prominence in world football.

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A huge win for the Red Devils after a disastrous campaign, ending the 2023-24 season with a trophy. United will sign off with some positives and knowing a lot of work will need to be done behind the scenes. An important transfer window awaits Manchester United.

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Subhadeep Roy
Subhadeep Roy has been covering football for different websites for the last six years. He supports Manchester United and follows them quite closely.

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