English FA Cup

Man City v Man Utd: Back 2/1 for under goals and cards in FA Cup final

Man City boss Pep Guardiola
Man City boss Pep Guardiola is hunting a domestic double

Sky Sports' betting expert Lewis Jones - aka 'Jones Knows' - has a strong goals and cards fancy lined up for Saturday's FA Cup final at 2/13.00...

FA Cup Final Superboost

In what is a repeat of the 2023 FA Cup Final, the two halves of Manchester collide once again at Wembley on Saturday, in what could be Erik Ten Hag's final match in charge of the Red Devils.

Pep Gurdiola's Man City are looking for a domestic double following yet another Premier League crown and are buoyed by the fact they did the league double over their rivals this season.

An FA Cup Final calls for an epic Betfair Superboost this weekend, and we are heading to Bruno Fernandes to come up with the goods for us this time out due to his foul count. Captain Bruno averages 2.0 foul involvements per game this season (fouls committed + to be fouled) whilst he has both committed and has been fouled in each of his last two games, and in three of his last five.

Indeed, if we look at the FA Cup and Wembley specifically, this has landed in four of his five appearances in the competition, and, in three of his last four outings at Wembley.

One of which was in this exact fixture against Manchester City last season.

He has either committed (21) or has been fouled (12) 33 times in his last 10 Manchester derbies, managing both in 70% of those games (7/10).

Man City v Man Utd
Saturday 25 May, 15:00 kick-off
Live on BBC One

The FA Cup final always sparks a nostalgia in me, reminding me why I love football.

My first football team, Woodham Radars, always made FA Cup final day special for us as kids obsessed with the game. The morning was filled playing football non-stop before the excitement of watching the final on a big screen to the backdrop of BBQ's and fizzy sweets are memories to cherish.

But even back then, FA Cup finals were always low scoring, rubbish games - during that period where the final was a big deal for our youth team between 1994-2000 - all six of them went under 2.5 goals. Maybe subconsciously that's where my love for backing under goals at Wembley comes from.

And, opposing goals in matches at Wembley is a sustainable long-term betting strategy, almost to the point it's an automatic play no matter the teams on show. It is here.

The numbers paint some hard evidence behind low scoring matches. In the last 36 domestic matches played at Wembley the average total goals per 90 stands at a miserly 1.94 in normal time. Only four of those games have gone above the 3.5 goals line.

And, since the 1994 FA Cup final, 18 of the last 29 finals have seen under 2.5 goals - a 62 per cent strike rate.

And such is the market expectation for goals here in a football world that is going mad for goals, we don't even need to play the under 2.5 line at 2.8415/8 to get a value bet at a decent price as the under 3.5 line is 1.845/6 on the Betfair Exchange or 4/61.67 on the Sportsbook.

I'm in the camp of Manchester United making this a competitive final, so the chances of a City landslide win are slim.

A low scoring City win looks the most likely outcome so backing the under goal line seems a smart play to get those correct scores on your side plus the insurance of scores like 0-0 and 1-1 if United are able to dig in for large periods to get a result.

Ref appointment points to low card count

I'm also very interested in the under cards lines. The under 4.5 cards options especially at 4/51.80 with the Sportsbook is a fantastic price that should be shorter.

The referee appointment is a great one for us under cards backers. It's Andy Madley, who likes to let the game flow without delving into his pocket. From the last three seasons of referees to have overseen 30 Premier League games or more - that's 16 referees - Madley is the third most lenient for cards shown at an average of 3.66 yellow cards shown per 90 minutes.

That average has been dragged down by his recent outings as just one of his last 14 fixtures have seen more than four cards shown. This includes when he took charge of Everton v Liverpool. Merseyside derbies are usually hot for cards but Madley only showed three and two of those came in injury time for dissent to both Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz.

Also, six of the last seven major domestic finals, so the Carabao Cup or FA Cup final, have gone under 4.5 cards - the only exception being the Newcastle v Man Utd Carabao Cup final where nine were shown.

Low scoring matches go in hand-in-hand with low card counts and this game does have the look of a drifty kind of FA Cup final where United are keen to soak up pressure and potentially be happy to keep City within one-goal until the latter stages where they'll then push for an equaliser.

Using the Bet Builder you can combine the under goals and cards angle to conjure up a very juicy 2/13.00 shot to attack.

Follow Lewis Jones' Premier League tips and predictions across Sky Sports each week.

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