They may be City rivals but Manchester United will be hoping for a Man City FA cup win when the Citizens take on Watford in Saturday’s showpiece at the Wembley stadium. The two Premier League sides clash in the grand finale of the oldest cup competition in the world and United will be taking a keen interest on the match.
That’s because the Red Devils finish in sixth place in the Premier League and will have to play in the Europa League next season. But it gets more complicated if the Hornets beat City in the FA Cup final.
FA Cup winners are guaranteed a group stage spot in the Europa League with the sixth place in the Premier League playing qualifiers. However, if the FA Cup winners have secured a place in Europe through their league position, then the sixth-placed side will avoid the qualifiers and go directly into the group stage.
A Watford win means United season will start as early as July 25 and that will disrupt their pre-season plans. The early start to the season would play havoc with a preseason schedule that is already in place, including friendlies in Australia, Singapore, China and Cardiff.
United are set to play Tottenham in Shanghai on July 25 — the same day as the potential Europa League second qualifying round first leg. If City can complete the final leg of their domestic treble, United will enter the Europa League in the group phase.
If not, they will have to play on six consecutive Thursdays — in the second qualifying round, third qualifying round and play-off round — before being entered into the draw for the group stage on Aug. 30. The first group games will be played on Sep. 19.
Sources have told ESPN FC that United have also agreed a deal with Kristiansund — Solskjaer’s hometown team — to play an additional friendly in Oslo on July 30. However, the club have been forced to delay the announcement until after their Europa League schedule is more clear.
The squad are due to report back for Carrington for the start of preseason training on July 1 before flying to Australia on July 7. They are due to play Perth Glory in Perth on July 13 before a game against Leeds United, also in Perth, on July 17.
Meanwhile, Martial will remain at Manchester United this summer with co-chairman Joel Glazer a big fan of the Frenchman, according to reports. Martial‘s attitude has recently been called into question over his warm-up before United’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea a couple of weeks ago, that all but ended their Champions League qualification hopes.
The France international didn’t get on the pitch but a video was circulated showing the Frenchman standing still with one foot on the ball while his teammates went through a series of drills. And the Daily Mail claimed at the time that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had become ‘exasperated’ by his apparent attitude problems.
However, according to the Daily Mirror on Wednesday, Martial’s future at the club is ‘secure’ as he is viewed by Glazer as ‘viewed as the club’s Pele’. Well, he did make our ‘perfect’ team of the season.
The report adds that former boss Jose Mourinho wanted Martial out of the club but Glazer and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward ‘see him as a key part of United’s future’. A move for Ivan Perisic, who Mourinho wanted, failed to materialise because of the pair’s ‘total belief in Martial’ and he is now set to stay this summer too.