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Manchester United are in pole position to bring a trophy back to Old Trafford for the first time in three years after reaching the FA Cup final. United met Everton in an edgy semi-final encounter in Wembley where Anthony Martial grabbed an injury time winner to finish the game at 2-1.
The FA Cup hasn’t exactly been United’s favorite cup competition. In truth, the Red devils last won it in 2005, while Saturday’s final will be their first appearance since 2007.
Nonetheless, here are four players who could help deliver the FA Cup for Manchester United.
David De Gea
Since signing for Manchester United in 2012, David De Gea has made remarkable progress behind the sticks. He is no longer the shy, skinny, Spanish speaking goalkeeper who was bullied by the likes of Tottenham and Manchester City on his maiden season.
In fact, the Spaniard has completed a hat-trick of Manchester United Player of the Year Awards, not to mention he finished second on the charts in the Ballon d’Or awards behind Manuel Neuer.
Having rescued United aplenty throughout the season with his sure save reflexes, it wouldn’t hurt doing it one more time before Real Madrid come back knocking.
He may have been inadvertently referred to as Mike Smalling by Louis van Gaal during a press conference once, but Chris Smalling has truly come of age.
A little over a year ago he left United fans venting their spleens after being sent off during the Manchester derby, but the 26-year old has since redeemed himself as the cornerstone of United’s back four.
Rarely does he put a wrong foot and when he does, it never quite leads to a sending off. His consistency, leadership and impetus had left many calling for his installation as the future skipper for the Red devils. Well as long as he doesn’t score an own goal, he’ll do alright in the final.
The name Anthony Martial was a subject of ridicule at the start of the season when he signed from Monaco for a whooping £36M. The most volatile argument was how such a transfer fee could ever justify the signing of a 19-year old, relatively unknown to the English press.
Martial however was to hear none of it, and his first outing at Old Trafford was all it took for him to win over the approval of Manchester United supporters.
In front of a capacity crowd at the Theatre of Dreams, Martial made a name for himself by scoring on his debut against Liverpool. The French international has not looked back since, scoring 17 goals in all competitions.
The striker-cum-winger will without a doubt be integral in the final against Palace.
Marcus Rashford may have scored a brace against Midtjylland in the Europa League, but the 18-year old didn’t quite grab the headlines until he scored two goals to the good against Arsenal a few days later.
Rashford already has eight goals in United colors, and his craft and guile compounded with composure in front of goal will certainly make Crystal Palace wary.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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