manchester derby

FA Cup final tips: Manchester City vs Manchester United best bets and preview

Football betting tips: FA Cup final

2pts Under 4.5 cards at evens (Unibet)

1pt Under 2.5 cards at 9/2 (Betfair, Paddy Power)

*All bets 90 minutes

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair

BuildABet @ 13/1

  • Josko Gvardiol 1+ total shot
  • Bernardo Silva to commit 2+ fouls
  • Kobbie Mainoo to commit 1+ foul
  • Bruno Fernandes 1+ fouls won

Click here to back with Sky Bet

Kick-off time: 15:00 BST, Saturday

TV channel: BBC One

Home 3/10 | Draw 9/2 | Away 15/2

It may not have been back-to-back trebles for Manchester City, a feat no club in the world has ever managed, but Pep Guardiola's domination over England football reached new heights last weekend on becoming the first side to win four straight Premier League titles.

This weekend, they could become the first English side to do the double double - win the league and FA Cup in back-to-back campaigns. It would be with incredible symmetry too, pipping Arsenal to the league title in both seasons and beating their city rivals Manchester United in both FA Cup finals.

Manchester City with the Premier League trophy

United's season has featured very few highs, and theirs could end with some similar symmetry to 2016. It's widely reported that Erik ten Hag will be sacked in the summer, and if were to go out with victory in the FA Cup final, he would follow fellow Dutchman Louis van Gaal in winning this competition and then being axed.

As the odds suggest, with City 3/10 to win in 90 minutes, that seems unlikely, but the Red Devils have more players fit than they have had in a long time, so they perhaps have more of a chance than many believe.

What are the best bets?

FA Cup finals have been generally good for backers of UNDER CARDS. Whether that's because referees let the game go more than they would during the season, or maybe it's the nerves of the occasion that means players take fewer risks, but either way the card count has been low in recent editions.

Last season's repeat between the two Manchester sides saw just four cards, Liverpool vs Chelsea in 2022 saw just one card and Chelsea's defeat to Leicester witnessed two cards. Arsenal vs Chelsea in 2020 gave us a huge eight cards, but the two finals prior to that both saw three cards.

In total, five of the last six FA Cup finals went UNDER 4.5 CARDS, and it looks worth chancing a repeat here at even money.

The referee appointment of Andy Madley increases my excitement for this bet. He's averaged just 3.5 cards per game this season, but over the last few months of the season he's been even more lenient.

andy madley

Across his last 19 matches in all competitions, he's gone Under 4.5 cards on 17 occasions, averaging just 2.4 cards per game.

As well as the FA Cup final being a historically low card game, so is the Manchester derby. Across the last 10 head-to-heads, there have been an average of 3.0 cards per game, with nine of the 10 going Under 4.5.

All of the above has me wanting to back a more aggressive line too, with UNDER 2.5 CARDS worth chancing at 9/2.

This bet would have landed in two of the last three FA Cup finals, three of the last 10 Manchester derbies and in 11 of Mr Madley's last 18 matches.

No cards is just under 60/1 for those who want to take a bigger risk, but I think 2.5 is where I draw the line. There are just two many cynical players on the pitch, and too many petulant ones as well for there to be no cards at all.

Team news

Manchester City have almost no injury issues heading to Wembley. Only Ederson will miss out after he has failed to recover in time from a facial injury, meaning Stefan Ortega will start between the sticks.

As for United, Erik ten Hag confirmed that Harry Maguire won't be fit enough to make the squad on Saturday. Luke Shaw won't make it back in time either, meaning Diogo Dalot should again start at left back.

Raphael Varane came on as a substitute last weekend, meaning he could be fit to start alongside Lisandro Martinez which will be a huge boost for United.

Raphael Varane celebrates
Raphael Varane could be back for United

That could see Casemiro move back into midfield in place of Sofyan Amrabat. Marcus Rashford is the other question, as he looks fit to play a part here.

Whether ten Hag brings him in from the start remains to be seen, with both Amad Diallo and Alejandro Garnacho performing well in recent weeks.

The Dutchman could also play Bruno Fernandes as a false nine, drop Rasmus Hojlund and bring in an extra midfielder in Scott McTominay in a bid to congest the centre of the pitch.

Predicted line-ups

Man City: Ortega; Walker, Akanji, Dias, Gvardiol; Rodri, Kovacic; Bernardo, De Bruyne, Foden; Haaland

Man Utd: Onana; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Dalot; Mainoo, Amrabat; Diallo, Fernandes, Garnacho; Hojlund

Odds correct at 1345 BST (24/05/24)

More from Sporting Life

Safer gambling

We are committed in our support of safer gambling. Recommended bets are advised to over-18s and we strongly encourage readers to wager only what they can afford to lose.

If you are concerned about your gambling, please call the National Gambling Helpline / GamCare on 0808 8020 133.

Further support and information can be found at and

Like what you've read?


Sporting Life
Join for free!
Access to exclusive features all for FREE - No monthly subscription fee
Race Replays
My stable horse tracker
giftOffers and prize draws
newsExclusive content