United's possession control v Palace's counter-attacks
Saturday, 17:30, Live on BBC One
The exciting atmosphere and huge pitch at Wembley often favours the counter-attacking under-dogs, and - since Man United look flat under Louis van Gaal whilst Palace play with the passion of their local hero Alan Pardew - the explosive breakaways of Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie could decide the final.
Man United will dominate possession with their low tempo, high line football. This will suit Palace nicely. They happily retreat into a deep-lying formation against the bigger teams, shimmying across the edge of their own penalty area and awaiting the opportunity to pounce forward. United's goalscoring problems are largely because their tactical approach - a wide formation with little positional overlap - is not fluid or complex enough to pull opponents out of position.
From central attacking midfield (and with little support) Wayne Rooney will pull all the strings, but if Yohan Cabaye (3.2 tackles, 3.6 interceptions per game) can dominate this zone of the pitch and then release the ball quickly into the channel for Zaha or Bolasie then United could get caught out. Zaha managed nine dribbles at Old Trafford last month, whilst Cabaye amassed eight interceptions; their interplay will be crucial.
Back Crystal Place to lift the FA Cup at 9/4 (incl ET & Pen)
Sergio Busquets v Sevilla's high press (& Banega)
Sunday, 20:30, Live on Sky Sports 1
As exemplified in previous encounters between these two teams, Unai Emery's Sevilla will press aggressively onto Barcelona's back four in a narrow 4-4-2 formation that forces Barca to pass the ball into the channels. The idea is to use the flanks as an extra defender, luring them out wide before making the tackle and bursting forward via the second-striker weaving of Ever Banega.
In Barca's 2-1 win at the Camp Nou in February Sevilla were almost very successful, making seven tackles and three interceptions in the Barcelona half as the home side made nine unsuccessful passes in their own third. To prevent Sevilla from ruffling their feathers, Sergio Busquets will need to constantly make himself available to those full-backs, darting back and forth to sew the line together and outmanoeuvre a very well organised press. Unfortunately for Sevilla, his quick feet, intelligent one-touch passing, and remarkable composure when under pressure make Busquets arguably the best player in the world at performing this role.
However, if Sevilla successfully win the ball back in high areas then Barcelona will be in trouble. Banega, who drops deep to become a central midfielder when Sevilla enjoy sustained periods of pressure, is superb at floating in the half-space and bursting towards goal. If their pressing game proves successful then he will, more often than not, get the better of Busquets and create chances for Kevin Gameiro.
Back over 3.5 goals at 5/6
Hummels v Muller/Lewandowski
Saturday, 19:00, Live on BT Sport Europe
Thomas Tuchel's move to a 3-5-2 for the 0-0 draw with Bayern Munich in March is likely to be repeated, since his clever tactical switch was so effective at nullifying Bayern's forward line. In this system, one of the three central defenders (usually Mats Hummels) vacated the back line and pressed forward, closely tracking the movements of Robert Lewandowski or Thomas Muller - who love to alternate dropping off the back line.
The extra cover from Hummels also allowed Dortmund's central midfield two to press aggressively onto the deep-lying Arturo Vidal and Xabi Alonso, safe in the knowledge that they were not leaving a big gap behind them to exploit. If this system is used again, it will be intriguing to see how Pep Guardiola changes his tactics; expect Douglas Costa to cut inside more frequently than usual to cause havoc in the gap between the back three and midfield two, and for the full-backs to take a gamble and stride ahead of the Dortmund wing-backs.
Few coaches dramatically shift their tactical strategy as often as Guardiola. Undoubtedly he will have a plan to prevent the 3-5-2 from earning Dortmund consecutive clean-sheets against the German champions, but it won't be successful unless Hummels - on his way to Munich in the summer - has an off day.
Back the draw after 90 minutes at 23/10
Milan's diamond shape v Juventus wing-backs
Saturday, 19:45, Live on Sky Sports 2
Cristian Brocchi has only had six weeks in the AC Milan dugout but reports indicate that, after two wins from his first six games in charge, he is already on his way out. Milan have won just three times in eleven matches and enter the Coppa Italia on the back of a resounding 3-1 defeat to Roma; this should be an easy win for Juventus.
Brocchi has begun to play in a narrow diamond 4-4-2, with the aim of remaining strong in central midfield whilst getting the best out of Carlos Bacca and Mario Balotelli in their best positions. However, the main problem with this formation is that it can be vulnerable on the flanks - particularly when used against a 3-5-2 formation.
Juventus possess a significantly more talented squad with much higher confidence, but also enter the match with the superior formation. Juve's two strikers will keep the three Milan defenders occupied, their three central midfielders match Milan's number of bodies in this area, and their own three pronged defence can mark Bacca, Ballotelli, and Keisuke Honda man-for-man. Meanwhile, Patrice Evra and Stephan Lichtsteiner have the freedom of the flanks, up against under-protected Milan full-backs. The favourites should easily overwhelm Brocchi's team in this area.
Back Juventus to win and over 1.5 goals at 6/5