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Where to watch Manchester City vs. Manchester United live stream: FA Cup TV channel, online, start time, odds

The FA Cup final might be between two neighboring clubs, but Manchester City and Manchester United enter Saturday’s season finale in dramatically different circumstances and the stakes vary for each of them.

A few short days after winning their fourth successive Premier League title, the FA Cup feels more like the cherry on top of another important season for City. The race may have gone to the last day but second place Arsenal could never challenge the feeling of inevitability that is associated with City’s triumphs, and that is no different heading into Saturday’s FA Cup final. Boasting a star-studded squad that includes Premier League player of the season Phil Foden and the unbeatable Rodri, they are the heavy favorites to win the trophy for a second year running.

City’s sheer dominance means Saturday’s match is positioned to be an uphill battle for United, their longtime rivals. The Red Devils eye a silver lining in a season full of dark clouds, which includes a group stage exit in the Champions League and an eighth place finish in the Premier League. Their journey to Wembley Stadium was not entirely covered in glory, either — they nearly exited the competition in the semifinals, blowing a 3-0 lead against Championship side Coventry City and needing a penalty shootout to advance. Saturday’s showcase offers not just the chance to briefly ignore this season’s shortcomings, but also the club’s lone opportunity to qualify for European competition.

Here are three things to keep an eye on ahead of an FA Cup final full of intrigue.

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Attacking strengths

City have few weaknesses, but perhaps their biggest strength in recent weeks is their remarkable ability to outscore the opposition. Pep Guardiola’s side have gone on a tear to finish out the season, outsourcing their opponents 38 to nine in their last 12 games across all competitions. Erling Haaland won the golden boot again after a 27 goal season in the Premier League, while Foden’s 19 goal season won him the FWA Premier League Player of the Year award for the first time, making them well positioned to take advantage of United’s leaky back line.

It’s the same exact category that United excel in, too, though obviously to a lesser degree than City. A large reason why the Red Devils’ season has been incredibly chaotic is because they can score in huge numbers, scoring 26 times in their last 12 games. They run a little streaky, though — they were goalless in two of those games and the focal points of their attack, Marcus Rashford and Rasmus Hojlund, have been inconsistent this season. United are coming into this game on a two-match winning run, with Hojlund scoring twice in that stretch, so their abilities up top might be their most obvious path to success on Saturday. That’s especially true considering that City are prone to let in a goal more often than not.

Tactical resolve

Goalscoring ability is where the similarities end for City and United. There are many differences between the two teams on the field, but chief among them — City are stacked with world class talent in every area of the pitch, allowing Guardiola to build a tactically solid side that executes his possession and passing based plan on almost every occasion.

The task for City, to put it simply, is to keep up the good work. Guardiola’s go-to style works against nearly everyone including United, who they beat 3-1 at home at 3-0 at Old Trafford during their Premier League meetings this season. Success on Saturday will not solely require a strong tactical set-up for City, but also an ability to stay motivated despite the familiarity of the challenge. They were incredibly driven to follow up last season’s treble with another title win, something Guardiola seemed to concede would be difficult to maintain for another year — and therefore something the manager needs to keep in mind after the hard-fought Premier League triumph.

As for United, they may not have had success against City this season but they have managed to keep some attack-minded teams at bay this season by leaning on a defense-first approach. Considering United’s defensive instability, it is a risky approach. Erik ten Hag’s side concedes shots at an arguably exponential rate — look no further than their 0-0 draw at Liverpool in December, when goalkeeper Andre Onana had to face 34 shots. They have held it together on a few occasions, though, and the return of center back Lisandro Martinez might help.

Ten Hag’s future

Ten Hag may have bought himself an extra week on United’s payroll with Saturday’s FA Cup final, but let’s face it — even if he delivers a miraculous masterclass and the Red Devils lift the trophy, there is probably no way for him to save his job. The number of people who have been linked to the role suggest the team, now run by new minority investor Sir Jim Ratcliffe, is just waiting to cut ties with him, but the poor performances before that really say more than his prospects than the hiring rumors.

It almost forces the question: What could possibly motivate ten Hag to deliver the best possible performance on Saturday with the odds against him and unemployment likely a few hours away? The immediate answer is likely ten Hag’s own delusion, which has been on full display as it became clear the end was near. To cite just one example, he claimed their win over Coventry was “not an embarrassment” and later described criticism of his team’s performance by members of the media as a “disgrace.” That version of ten Hag will likely show up during the FA Cup weekend in some form, whether anyone likes it or not.

In all seriousness, though, Saturday’s match should not be about ten Hag’s future at Old Trafford but rather his prospects after the fact. The Red Devils’ descent into chaos will likely follow ten Hag for a little while and it may just mean he misses out on a new job despite the excessive number of high-profile vacancies in Europe this summer. If he can find a way to stop the bleeding on Saturday — be it through the performance or the actual result — it might be a reminder to many that he was once a promising manager. If he can drop the act in which he pretends everything is fine, too, he might be able to remind prospective bosses that he can be a professional manager, too.

How to watch and odds

  • Date: Saturday, May 25 | Time: 10 a.m. ET
  • Location: Wembley Stadium — London
  • TV: None  | Live stream: ESPN+
  • Odds: Manchester City -310; Draw +430; Manchester United +750

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