Manchester City vs. Stoke City
Saturday, May 14th 2011, 16.00 CET
Ah, the long-expected FA Cup Final (and the long expected football prediction I was going to make, of course 🙂 ). Altough not at all as appealing as we would expect an FA Cup Final to be, two teams that haven’t won anything in years are battling against this famous british silverware.
Manchester City is in great shape, after defeating their arch-rivals Manchester United in the semi-finals 1-0 thanks to a goal from Yaya Toure. That was enough for Mancini’s boys to advance in the prestigious final of the FA Cup. They have been here 8 times before, winning four and losing four. But I am sure every sports bet tipster feels different about this one: ever since the wealthy Sheik Mansour took over the club in 2008, City fans started seeing big names showing up at their stadium, and unheard-of victories happening before their eyes. The 1 billion dollars investment over the years by the sheik is starting to pay dividends.
Fourth in Premier League this season, Man City are already qualified for next season’s Champions League, the first ever in the club’s history. Despite this promissing progress, Manchester City haven’t won any trophy since winning the League Cup in 1976 (over 35 years ago). Plus, as a team traditionally deeply embedded within the local community (having arguably more fans in Manchester than Manchester United), the “recent” take over of the club and its parrading around Europe as marketing for the Sheik has made a lot of fans turn away from their once-loved club.
Manchester City are heading to Wembley as clear favourites, with big names in their team such as Mario Balotelli, Yaya Toure, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko. They have some injuries though, but I’m sure Mancini can easily overcome them:
- Tevez is doubtful before today’s game. He has a hamstring injury which might put him on the bench today, replaced most probably by Dzeko.
- Boateng has a knee injury and he’s out at least until May 22nd.
- Johnson is out with a knee injury as well.
- Kala Toure is suspended for this game.
Stoke City is a real surprise in the FA Cup final this year. I’m sure that not even their most optimist fans would have expected the club to get this far. Apart from being one of the oldest clubs in the UK (148 years of history), they only managed to one just one major award: the League Cup in 1972. But they have had a fantastic run this season: despite being only the 8th team in English Premier League, they can be proud of a 3-1 victory against Arsenal and a 5-0 win against Bolton in the FA Cup Semi-finals.
It is very likely that Stoke will keep the same players on field as in their 5-0 win over Bolton in the semi-finals. Matthew Etherington and Robert Huth are a bit doubtful before the game, but Tony Pulis, Stoke City’s manager is likely to use them nevertheless.
Lots of sports betting tipsters out there are saying that, given the amount of time passed since either one of these clubs won anything, they will each be on the defense. And since both teams are famous for their defensive style of football, they will most probably favour counter-attacks and fight for ball possession. In this case, the soccer bet on U2.5 looks good at 1.70 odds on bwin. But I don’t tend to buy this sports tip, given the teams’ (especially Stoke’s) previous results. I think it’s likely that the game will end somewhere at 2-1 for Man City, so my football prediction is an over 2.5 goals at 2.05 odds on Bwin. And I also suggest a soccer tip for Manchester City to win at 1.75 odds on Bwin. Fingers crossed.
O2.5 goals for 2 units and Man City to win for 2 units