FA Cup Final
Chelsea vs Manchester United
It is THE showpiece of the English football season.
The competition which, in many ways, has more tradition and grandeur than any other.
Now, after 14 rounds and numerous football games involving 737 teams, it all comes down to this.
The 2018 FA Cup Final has the potential to be a cracker for football betting fans and, of course, particularly for supporters of the winning club.
Betting odds slightly favour Manchester United, but there’s nothing in it as you would expect from two evenly matched clubs.
The focus for many at Wembley will be on the men who won’t actually be on the pitch other than when they lead their teams out.
Managers Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte do not appear to get on, and their battles in England over the past two years have comprised various exchanges and differences of opinion.
When they last were in combat in February, however, that was all put to one side and the chemistry on the touchline will be carefully explored by many to see if this occasion, high pressure for both clubs, lights the touch paper.
Of course, there is not just history between the two rivals but also between Mourinho and Chelsea for the Portuguese coach is facing the club where he first made his name in England.
Can Mourinho guide United to cup glory and a second successful season? Or will Conte repair his reputation at the end of a campaign in which his flaws have been exposed?
Even victory may not be enough to save the Italian’s job for the chemistry between manager and club has seemed ill at ease all season.
One thing’s for sure: for the winners, it will be a successful season, for the losers quite the opposite.
How fitting that the winners will receive the FA Cup from Jackie Wilkins, wife of the late Ray whose passing last month shocked and saddened the world of football.
During a stellar career, he was an FA Cup winner in 1983 with United when he scored one of the finest final goals Wembley has ever seen.
He also won it three times as Chelsea assistant manager, and banners will be unveiled by both sets of fans in his memory before kick-off.
So can United win a record-equalling 13th FA Cup and continue their undoubted progress under Mourinho? Or will Conte and Chelsea go one better than last year when they were defeated in the final by Arsenal?
It should be quite a contest.
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