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FA Cup Final Wagers: A Tale of Two Cities


It’s one of the most anticipated weekends in the English footballing calendar: Stoke City and Manchester City will be heading down to London to battle it out to see who will bookend an eventful season by winning the FA Cup in front of an expected 90,000 at Wembley.

Manchester City, bankrolled by wealthy oil tycoons who have invested £500m into the club to date, will head into the match as the favourites. Roberto Mancini’s side are keen to end a 35 year spell without silverware.

It’s this weekend’s magic number, it seems – it’s been 35 years in football for Tony Pulis, who started his playing career in 1975 with Bristol Rovers. After 19 years in management, he reaches his first final, and is not about to cave to the multi-millionaires of City just yet.

It will also be Stoke City’s first final. Their previous best in the competition includes two successive years as losing semi-finalists (1970-71 and 1971-72).

There are some fantastic priced odds ahead of the big game.

City’s danger man is unquestionably Carlos Tevez, but the Argentinean forward still faces an 11th hour battle to be fit for the game. In his place, City may start their 4-2-3-1 formation with Mario Balotelli as the lone striker, supported by Adam Johnson and David Silva on the flanks.

Balotelli is 5/1 (bet365) to score either the first or last goal of the game.

City will have England international goalkeeper Joe Hart between the sticks – the young City shot-stopper is 5/2 to keep a clean sheet (William Hill).

Despite being 15/8 to lift the trophy compared to the Man City's 2/5 (Stan James), Stoke are not to be underestimated by any means. Beating Bolton 5-0 in the semi-final shows that they are unafraid of the electric Wembley atmosphere, and may take advantage of City’s frailties away from Eastlands.

Kenwyne Jones is 5/2 (Ladbrokes) to score at any time during the match, whilst Stoke are 7/2 to go into the half-time break leading.

Stoke knocked Manchester City out of the competition last year – a 3-1 extra-time win last February was a hammer blow to Mancini’s campaign. A similar scoreline this year is priced at 40/1 (bet365), with odds of 6/1 available if the game needs to be settled beyond the allotted 90 minutes.

Both sides will meet again in the league in midweek, but the world’s eyes will be very much fixed on what could be a tremendous final.