Manchester United enter the 135th FA Cup final on Saturday as massive favourites but Crystal Palace are determine to make history and take a cue from the success of Leicester City in the premier league.
United are seeking their first FA Cup since 2004 while Crystal Palace are seeking their first major title after the Red Devils denied them an FA Cup final win in 1990 where they lost the replay 1-0 after drawing 3-3 in the first game.
Interestingly, Palace will enter the match having won their last three matches at Wembley and having been victorious in six of their last seven FA Cup ties against fellow Premier League opposition.
So, it will not be a straight forward game for the Louis van Gaal’s men who beat Sheffield United, Derby County, Shrewsbury Town, West Ham United, and Everton 2-1 in the semi-finals courtesy a late winner from Anthony Martial.
Crystal Palace will be in the home kit while Manchester United are billed to wear their away jersey of all white after a toss of coin favoured the Eagles.
Palace will be boosted by the return of Bacary Sako, but Joe Ledley is missing due to injury.
Luke Shaw and Bastian Schweinsteiger unavailable for the Red Devils but Marouane Fellaini returns after serving his three-game suspension while both Matteo Darmian and Marcos Rojo have both overcome recent injuries and available for selection.
Last five games head-to-head
Man Utd 2-0 Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace 0-0 Manchester United
Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester United
Manchester United 1-0 Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester United
Overall, Manchester United have only lost seven of their 48 fixtures with Palace since their first documented clash in 1922.
Manchester United finished the premier league season fifth with 66points while Crystal Palace earned 42points in 15th position.
Joel Ward vs Anthony Martial
The 26-year-old will have his hands full against the most expensive youngster in the world as Anthony Martial will produce his usual burst of pace and dribbling runs.
Scott Dann vs Marcus Rashford
Rashford has been a revelation for the Red Devils this season and Scott Dann will have to be on alert to stop the wonderkid from enhancing his reputation with another vital goal which he has continued to show he has a knack for.
Wilfred Zaha vs Marco Rojo
Zaha will want to prove to his former team that he still got the qualities that made retired Sir Alex Ferguson sign him for the Old Trafford side. However, it will be a long battle with Argentine defender Rojo which will be interesting to watch.
Yannick Bolasie vs Antonio Valencia
Congolese international is a firm fan of Cristiano Ronaldo and have a burst of pace like the Portuguese and can be a tricky customer on his day. Van Gaal in his bid of playing square pegs in round holes is expected to continue with Valencia at right back instead of the natural choice of Darmian and the Ecuadorian will definitely have a tough day against Bolasie.
Connor Wickham vs Chris Smalling
Wickham have gradually come into his own at Selhurst Park after leaving Sunderland and will provide a heavyweight battle for Chris Smalling. The England defender will need to focus for the whole duration of the game and avoid mistakes like the one which saw him score an own goal in the final match of the premier league season against Bournemouth.
Alan Pardew (Crystal Palace)
“I’m up against the biggest club in the world. I’m looking forward to it, my players are looking forward to it,” Pardew told reporters.
“They’ll dominate possession and we’ll be very, very dangerous when they over commit. Martial, Rooney, Mata, Fellaini… These are top players. In the height of their careers and that’s why they play at Man United.”
Louis van Gaal (Manchester United)
“Your starting point is always to impress and perform good, but that depends on a lot of factors, including your opponent,” he told reporters. “Our starting point is to win well and score beautiful goals. But if we win 1-0 that is also enough.
“Winning is the most important thing in a final, otherwise you have nothing. It is always important to win silverware. For players, qualification is not a title. A title is the FA Cup and championship.
“They can look and hold the cup. That is exciting. The FA Cup is a big title in England. We are playing in the most prestigious temple of England. It confirms how important it is.”
Prediction: Crystal Palace 2-3 Manchester United