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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at Wembley Stadium

Manchester FA Cup final derby is United's this time - here are some of the top talking points

FA Cup Final

Man City 1-2 Man United

So, no double Double for City then. First half goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo all-but settled it - the first the result of a defensive blunder between Josko Gvardiol and Stefan Ortega, the second the result of a great ball from Marcus Rashford out to Garnacho, which was transferred to Mainoo by Bruno Fernandes' deft touch. Jermey Doku came on and carried the biggest threat for City but his late goal could not deny United revenge for last season's FA Cup final loss to City.

Here we look at some of the key talking points of the afternoon.

Sometimes the narrative just seems written in the stars

So often in FA Cup finals, the team seizing the moment manages to collect the added confidence and luck that goes with it to get the job done. United's simple but effective game plan - massing in the centre in defence and using the pace of Rashford and Alejandro Garnacho on the break - worked its magic. Sure Erling Haaland hit the crossbar and City started fashioning openings after the break, but it somehow felt it was not meant to be for them.

Even a team as seemingly invincible and relentless as City can have an off-day, while supposedly inferior opponents grow in belief that it is all somehow going their way. When Julian Alvarez was played in and angled a shot wide, from close range, Onana punched the air in glee. He knew. The keeper then made a fantastic leaping save to keep out a Kyle Walker piledriver and it was suddenly hard to see how the story would change. In the end, his howler to allow Doku's strike to squirm past him came just too late for the blue half of Manchester.

End of Erik ten Hag?

There is every chance the Dutchman's fate was decided before the game, much like in 2016, when Louis van Gaal was dismissed the day after the FA Cup final victory over Crystal Palace. United have scraped into Europe with this win but the new owner, Sir Jim Ratcliffe will not have ignored the team's worst showing in the Premier League era. This compact and focused United was absent for too many matches this season for the Dutchman to feel safe - even if it represents two pieces of silverware in two seasons, following on from last year's Carabao Cup triumph.

Are FA Cup finals still cool?

Abide With Me was beautifully observed, in stark contrast to when Liverpool are in town, and the noise generated by both sets of fans was impressive. Not just a cup final, but a derby too, with all the bitter connotations. United fans were really up for it, sensing the chance to make amends for a dismal season while also avenging last year's defeat to City at Wembley. It is still a game that matters and captures the feeling of importance and history. This is a game United fans will dine out on for years, such is the power of the competition.

Pep won't be wearing that suit again

He looked stylish, but no doubt the City boss must have regretted not turning up in his lucky fisherman's sweater, even if if would have been too hot for it. He is a man of some superstition and will blame himself for the sartorial faux pas. On a more serious note, it was clear too many of the normally metronomic City players were off key for once. Kevin de Bruyne's radar was off and his passing was iffy. Haaland was again mostly missing in action in a big game. Phil Foden did very little and was unable to reproduce the scintillating form of recent weeks and Bernardo Silva could not get in behind a resolute United rearguard.

United had players who really shone on the day

Lisandro Martinez and Rafael Varane were steadfast at the back. It was a great way for the Frenchman to sign off his United career. Kobbie Mainoo enhanced his reputation by adding to the thicket of players City could not pass their way through. A goal in a cup final and the Euros to come, this was another great staging post in the young man's rise and rise. Fernandes is also one who always seem to be able to make them tick. He has been their biggest shining light of the campaign.


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