Pep Guardiola eyes more history, Erik ten Hag hopes to keep job after FA Cup showdown

Fresh off becoming the first club to win four top-flight English titles in a row, Manchester City can become the first to win the ‘double’ for two consecutive seasons when it faces Manchester United in the FA Cup final on May 25 (10pm Malaysian time).

Last season, Pep Guardiola guided City to the English Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League crowns to become the second English club to do so. United was the first to win all three in the same year in 1999.

While Guardiola can become the first manager to win back-to-back EPL and FA Cup titles, the situation is different for United. Its manager, Erik ten Hag, may need to win the Cup to stay in his job.

United finished eighth in the EPL – its worst position of the Premier League era, and had a negative goal difference (minus one). The last time United finished a season with a negative goal difference was in the 1989-90 season.

Back then, it was 13th but won the FA Cup to qualify for Europe and save Sir Alex Ferguson’s job. Ten Hag will hope for a repeat on Saturday.

However, one United fan, Trinity Lim, feels ten Hag must go, no matter what happens in the final.

“Ten Hag has destroyed the club. If we win the FA Cup, I feel United must still get a new boss next season,” said Lim, 31.

“It was so painful watching the team play this season. We need to regain our identity. The best way to do so is with a new manager.”

Suthan Narayanan, 52, agreed with Lim that the season had been a disaster but said the Red Devils would edge the final.

“There are bigger issues at United that need straightening out. I would hold on to ten Hag, unless we can get someone like Carlo Ancelotti as boss,” said Suthan, a public relations practitioner.

“Despite the problems, I still think United will win the final 2-1.”

Doyle De Costa, a communications manager at a private hospital, also believes United doesn’t need to change managers.

“The season hasn’t been great, as the team suffered too many injuries,” said the 39-year-old.

“Because of that, we should give ten Hag at least another season.”

For the record, United suffered 35 injuries to players, who missed a total of 233 games – the fourth most among EPL teams.

Chelsea suffered the most with 54 injuries and 309 games missed. Newcastle (38, 258), Brentford (21, 255), and Liverpool (34, 221) made up the top five teams affected by injuries.

Asked about his prediction for the final, De Costa said: “If Manchester United can hang on until extra time, we will win the cup on penalties.”

Not surprisingly, City fans are confident of winning more silverware on Saturday. Content creator Tabitha Rebecca Long predicted a 3-1 win for her beloved team.

“It has been another great season, although City never makes it easy for us fans,” said the 29-year-old.

“For the longest time, we were fourth, third, and second, before eventually overtaking Arsenal to retain the league title.

“I’m sad we couldn’t defend the Champions League, but at least we have the chance to add the FA Cup to our collection.”

Katrina Johari, 45, also predicted a 3-1 victory for City.

“It’s going to be an exciting nail-biter but I don’t doubt we will come away victorious even though my blood pressure and stress levels might be through the roof,” said the teacher.

“It would be fantastic to get another early goal just to settle the nerves. We have scored lots of goals this season, and it is good to see many get on the scoresheet.”

In last year’s final, Ilkay Gundogan opened the scoring for City after 12 seconds as the Blue half of Manchester won the derby 2-1.

Mark Darren Savuriar, now based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, can’t wait for the final.

“What a season it has been. To top it off, I will be at Wembley for the final,” said Savuriar, who hails from Port Dickson.

“It will be intense. I am excited, confident, and can’t wait for the game, but I don’t want to comment on the outcome.”

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