Live on ITV: Sat 15.00: Stoke could cap off a Europa League qualifying season by lifting the FA Cup as well at Wembley on Saturday.
UEFA’s desire for the Wembley pitch to remain unused for two weeks before the Champions League final, means that there is a Premiership programme alongside an earlier-than-usual FA Cup final this weekend and for Manchester City, this is likely to mean that they will take to the hallowed turf moments after neighbours and bitter rivals Manchester United have wrapped up the title.
Roberto Mancini’s charges are nevertheless strong favourites at 2/5 with Betfred to be unaffected and clinch their first major piece of silverware since 1976 while rate them at 10/11 to emerge triumphant across 90 minutes.
However, the Potters are in decent shape having lost just one of their last nine in all competitions, the 3-1 victory over Arsenal last weekend also showing that Tony Pulis’ side are capable of troubling the best teams and they’re therefore a touch overpriced at 7/2 with Totesport to prevail in normal time.
Of course, there’s an element of risk to that given that City are on a high having secured Champions League football but a case can nevertheless be made for Stoke in the handicaps where they kick-off with a goal start at odds of 20/21 with Partybets.
Alternatively, Betdaq mark 3.6 (13/5) against a stalemate, Pulis’ men are 9/4 with Stan James ‘Draw No Bet’ and for punters wary of the potential for extra-time or even penalties, Sportingbet rate the Potters at 15/8 to ultimately lift the famous trophy.
Both teams are 10/1 (William Hill) to win a dramatic shootout and in terms of the first scorer, Stoke marksman Kenwyne Jones, who has been in blistering form of late, will arguably be the stand out bet at 8/1 with Ladbrokes, especially if Mancini doesn’t deem Carlos Tevez fit enough to start for City.
Tevez will certainly play some part, having appeared as a substitute against Tottenham and bet365 rate the Argentine striker at 5/4 to notch at any time. Meanwhile, staying with goals, it’s 10/11 courtesy of Coral for both teams to find the net and Paddy Power quote evens for the opener to arrive after the 26th minute.