Home Football The Big Preview(s): The 2018 English + Scottish FA Cup Finals
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The Big Preview(s): The 2018 English + Scottish FA Cup Finals

The Big Preview(s): The 2018 English + Scottish FA Cup Finals
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It’s a good job we’ve got the World Cup to look forward to this summer, eh? Only the season’s just ended and while we love the FA Cup Final, it kind of represents an end to the footballing season, doesn’t it? And that always leaves us a little sad. Still, we don’t have to worry about that this year – June and July will have more football on show that you can shake a lino’s flag at.

But before we get to the excitement of the World Cup in Russia, we’ve the not insignificant matter of the Champion’s League and FA Cup finals to enjoy. So without further waffling, let’s get down to it and preview the upcoming cup final. And, as a little bonus, we’ll take a look at the FA Cup final that’s happening north of the border too.

Let’s go…

 

The 2018 English FA Cup Final

FA Cup Finals

Who’s playing?

This year’s cup final sees a couple of old stalwarts taking to the field. Both Manchester United and Chelsea will be scrapping it out for the 2017/18 season’s final piece of domestic silverware.

United put out Derby County, Yeovil Town, Huddersfield Town, Brighton & Hove Albion and Tottenham to reach the final. While the Blues saw off Norwich City, Newcastle United, Hull City, Leicester City and Southampton.

 

When and where’s it happening?

Hey, don’t worry, alright? The FA Cup Final doesn’t clash with the Royal Wedding… We know you were concerned. The cup final is this Saturday (19th May). But it’s not due to take place until 5.15pm (quarter of an hour earlier than last year).

It’ll be the 12th FA Cup Final to be played at the ‘new’ Wembley Stadium. You can watch the game either on BBC One or over on BT Sports, as both broadcasters have shared TV coverage of the competition this season. For a bit of atmos, head down to your nearest Rileys. We’ll be showing it (of course).

 

Team news

For United, they will almost certainly be without Frenchman Anthony Martial, who missed last weekend’s game against Watford with a knee knock. Romelu Lukaku also looks set to miss out on a place in the starting eleven, with his ankle injury still giving him gip. That said, who would put it past Mourinho to overplay the injury to his main striker and end up starting him…?

As far as Chelsea are concerned, they’ve no new injury worries to, well, worry about. David Luiz is still out, but that won’t concern too many supporters of the West London club. Goalkeepr Thibaut Courtois returned to the starting line-up at the weekend, so he’ll be taking his place between the sticks, no doubt.

 

What else do you need to know?

Well, VAR is coming into play for the very first time in a FA Cup Final. Will it be needed? It’s impossible to predict, but it would probably have been used in last year’s final and seen Alexis Sanchez’s opening goal chalked off for handball.

It’s also worth mentioning that if the game ends in a draw, we’ve got extra time then penalties. No replays, no golden goals, no Rock, Paper, Scissors.

 

Our prediction

The odds are fairly similar for both winning, United being 8/5 favourites and Chelsea available at 2/1. Jose Mourinho will be keen to get one over on his former employers, but with Romelu Lukaku out, we think Conte might just nick this one. True, his side capitulated against Newcastle on the last day of the season, but this looks to us like it may just be a case of Conte’s Last Stand. The wily Italian, just like an Old Wild West General won’t go down without a fight. And it’s a fight we think his Chelsea side can win (so long as Eden Hazard is let off his leash). We fancy a surprise one goal snick for the Londoners. 1-0 or 2-1.

 

The 2018 Scottish FA Cup Final

FA Cup Finals (1)

Who’s playing?

The Scottish FA Cup final will see two of the big hitters of the country’s game clashing. It kind of goes without saying that Celtic are to be one of the finalists. The team trying to take them down? Motherwell, who finished 7th in the Premier League. A full 34 points behind Brendan Rodgers’ men. It’s a replay of the season’s earlier Betfred Cup (which Celtic won 2-0). A win for the Glasgow club means another treble.

 

When and where’s it happening?

As ever, Hampden Park will host the big event, on the same day as the English cup final. Saturday May 19th. The game kicks off at 3pm, so it’s possible to enjoy both FA Cup finals. As well as the Royal Wedding, of course. We know you’re excited for that too.

You can watch all the action on Sky Sports or BBC Scotland (or down Rileys…).

 

Team news

Celtic will be without on-loan PSG star Odsonne Edouard for the big clash. But ‘keeper Craig Gordon should be fit enough to make his return to the starting line-up.

As for Motherwell, loan striker Nadir Ciftci can’t play against his parent club, so he misses out. As does fellow striker George Newell. Striker Curtis Main escaped a wrist break on Saturday and is expected to make the final. As is midfielder Andy Rose, despite him managing to fracture his collarbone against Ross County on Saturday.

 

What else do you need to know?

As you can imagine, there’s not a great amount of value in backing Celtic here. The Bhoys are best-priced 3/10 in 90 minutes and 1/6 to pick up the trophy. You can get 10s on Motherwell to win in 90, though. They’re 5/1 to win the cup in any way.

 

Our prediction

Who can seriously see past Celtic here? The ‘well might have stood a bigger chance were Ciftci available, but with him ruled out, we can’t look past the champions to do the business once again. We think they’ll do it normal time too. But it’ll be no rout. Motherwell are a plucky outfit and they’ll do their bit. We’ll go for a high-scoring affair edged by the side with more quality. 3-2 to Celtic.

It kind of goes without saying that you can catch both of these huge games down at your local Rileys. But we’ll say it anyway… You can catch both of these huge games down at your local Rileys!

To guarantee the best seats in the house, buy one of our Pitchside Tickets. For just £13.99 per person you’ll get a Rileys beefburger, a serving of skin-on fries plus a selected drink. Not only that but our helpful staff will be on hand to top up your refreshments throughout the entire game!

Steve Charnock A freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card. Follow him on Twitter or follow him into the pub and buy him a drink.