Sunday 25 February 2018

Potential records abound for Manchester United with FA Cup triumph over Crystal Palace

Wayne Rooney is yet to win an FA Cup with Manchester United
Wayne Rooney is yet to win an FA Cup with Manchester United

Tom Rooney

The fact-checkers at Manchester United have done some research ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup final against Crystal Palace, and they’ve uncovered that there’s more than just silverware on the line for both individuals and the collective.

It may seem much longer, mainly because their brand of football could cure even the most stubborn case of insomnia, but it’s been just three years since Manchester United last added to the trophy cabinet at Old Trafford.

Of course, Alex Ferguson bowed out as manager with yet another Premier League title in 2013, before heading for the Directors’ booth and the after dinner speech circuit.

In the interim, the behemoth of the modern game Fergie created in his own image has plodded along from one disappointed to another, under three managers no less.

Over £300m has been largely squandered on competent, but underwhelming, talent as United have plummeted into mediocrity at a rate of knots.

However, tomorrow afternoon they return to Wembley in search of the FA Cup, a competition Louis van Gaal has conveniently described as a 'title'.

While the Dutch coach has increasingly been a source of derision, victory against Palace would ensure an indisputably impressive record for him.

Van Gaal has won domestic cups in very country he’s managed; Ajax (KNVB Cup), Barcelona (Copa del Rey) and Bayern Munich (DFB-Pokal). He might just complete the set.

Will it be enough to save his job?

If Marcus Rashford was to add to the eight goals he’s accrued during a wonderful breakout campaign, he would became the second youngest Manchester United player to score in an FA Cup final at 18 years, six months and 20 days.

Norman Whiteside was 18 years and 19 days when he netted the winner in the replay against Brighton in 1983.

United have not won the FA Cup since 2004. A Ruud van Nistelrooy brace was added to by Cristiano Ronaldo as they handily dispatched of Millwall by 3-0. It was the 11th time the Red Devils won the competition.

Should they repeat the feat tomorrow, United will equal Arsenal’s record of 12.

Believe it or not, Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick were still playing for Everton and Spurs respectively when Roy Keane hoisted the trophy 12 years ago.

Since joining United, the pair have won the Premier League, League Cup, Community Shield, Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup, but never the oldest football competition on the planet.

It’s a hugely impressive haul, but without the FA Cup the lads probably can’t look Ryan Giggs- who won it four times- in the face at team meetings.

Finally, tomorrow is a rematch of the 1990 edition, which United won in a replay thanks to Lee Martin’s winner. It was Alex Ferguson’s first trophy at the helm and proved the catalyst for two decades of unprecedented success.

Online Editors

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