Guardiola confirms surprise starter
Manchester City should have a fully fit squad for Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup final, although Pep Guardiola has confirmed a surprise starter.
The Spaniard said during Friday’s pre-match press conference that Stefan Ortega will play in goal for City at Wembley, rather than usual no.1, Ederson.
“He’s going to play yeah,” he said. “It’s always been like that, in FA Cups, even in Barcelona and Bayern Munich or wherever.
“The keeper who has played FA Cup will play in the FA Cup [final].”
Ortega, who joined from Arminia Bielefeld last summer, has been named in the XI for all eight of the Blues’ domestic cup matches this season and is yet to concede a goal in the FA Cup.
Guardiola was without a quartet of Blues for last Sunday’s 1-0 defeat at Brentford, with Kevin De Bruyne perhaps the most notable of those not involved in south-west London.
The Belgian joined Manuel Akanji, Ruben Dias and Jack Grealish on the sidelines, with those three also missing the 1-1 draw at Brighton – City’s first game after lifting the Premier League title on 21 May.
All four players have returned to work at the Etihad Campus this week, though, and look set to be in contention to play at Wembley, with the first all-Manchester final in the competition’s history kicking off at 15:00 BST on Saturday.
“They trained well, the last two training sessions,” Guardiola said to reporters on Friday. “They’re more or less fine.”
Nathan Ake has also been struggling with a hamstring problem recently but returned to play 63 minutes at the Gtech Community Stadium.
United boss Erik ten Hag will be without four first-team players, including Anthony Martial and Lisandro Martinez, while Antony only has a small chance of being selected following his recent injury.