Crystal Palace - Manchester United FA Cup Final Preview: Reds chase glory

It's been a rough season for United fans, and Palace fans too, but one team can smooth things over with a win at Wembley on Saturday evening.

Crystal Palace - Manchester United FA Cup Final Preview: Reds chase glory
Photo: Harry Robinson/VAVEL UK

Louis van Gaal takes his Manchester United side to Wembley stadium to face Crystal Palace in the FA Cup Final as the Reds look to end the season with a trophy.

After dismantling AFC Bournemouth 3-1 at Old Trafford in midweek, they go into their final match of the campaign under considerable pressure having missed out on Champions League football.

The Reds have many questions looming over both the players and manager van Gaal as the future looks uncertain going into next season.

The Dutchman could be dismissed by the club after a poor season, and an FA Cup triumph may not satisfy United fans, who have become frustrated with the former-Barcelona manager's mundane style of football.

Despite difficult times at the club, the future of those under pressure will be put to one side on Saturday as United bid to give their fans something rare to celebrate this season.

Ahead of the tie, van Gaal has admitted that he wants United to “win and score beautiful goals” though realistically stated that simply “winning is the most important thing in a final” and would graciously accept a 1-0 victory.

Palace not an easy opponent for favourites United

Despite Saturday’s opponents finishing a lowly 15th in the Premier League this season, they are sure to be a threat with blistering pace on the wings, through former-United player Wilfried Zaha, along with fellow winger Yannick Bolasie.

Palace boss Alan Pardew has already identified that his side will be the underdogs on the day and will have to “fight that bit harder” if they wish to leave Wembley with the Cup.

Palace haven’t beaten United since their 2-1 win at Old Trafford in the League Cup in 2011, but with Saturday’s match a one-off tie, Eagles fans will travel to Wembley optimistic of causing an upset against a United side which are beatable.

Roads to Wembley

United navigated their way to Saturday’s showpiece event by beating Everton 2-1 in the semi-final, with goals from Marouane Fellaini and Anthony Martial. The Reds also beat West Ham United, Shrewsbury Town, Derby County and Sheffield United on their way to Wembley.

Anthony Martial netted United's winner in the semi-final against Everton | Photo: Getty images

Palace had a rather more difficult run to the final and impressively beat Premier League rivals Watford in the other semi-final 2-1. They also beat Reading, Tottenham, Stoke City ,and Southampton.

Team news

In his pre-match press conference, United boss van Gaal revealed that Matteo Darmian, Morgan Schneiderlin, and Marcos Rojo are all now available for selection after missing out in midweek. Marouane Fellaini could also return after his suspension has now ended.

Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Luke Shaw, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Adnan Januzaj all look set to miss out through injury.

As for Palace, Wilfried Zaha will make his return after missing the last three games with a hamstring injury, though Joe Ledley will miss out.

Previous meetings

United have won five of the last six matches with Palace, with the Reds scoring nine goals in the process.

The sides last met in the FA Cup final 26 years ago as United ran out winners. That match was Sir Alex Ferguson's first of five FA Cup triumphs.