FA Cup Final preview: Manchester City v Stoke City

Thirty years after our last FA Cup Final, Roberto Mancini has guided us back to Wembley to take on Stoke for that most elusive of items – silverware. The excitement amongst City fans is at it’s greatest for a generation.

After securing a top four place with Tuesday’s win over Tottenham, all our energy and focus can safely be channelled to defeating Stoke. It won’t be easy.

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Verdict: Manchester City 1 Tottenham Hotspur 0

City qualified for the Champions League with a single goal victory over Spurs, scored with sweet irony by Peter Crouch. The result was significantly better than the performance, though the resilience instilled by Roberto Mancini ensured there was no repeat of Saturday’s defeat.

Instead there is the promise of a new era with the club being able to attract better players at more reasonable prices just as Financial Fair Play kicks in. The importance of this result for Garry Cook’s “project” cannot be overstated.

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Player ratings: Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur

Hart – Made up for allowing Distin’s header to sneak in on Saturday with a world class save to claw out a Pienaar header at the start of the second half. Has now equalled Nicky Weaver’s club record for the number of clean sheets in a season. 7

Richards – Great to see him back and Micah was a strong attacking threat in the opening minutes. Thereafter Rose got in too many crosses, but Micah helped Kompany in nullifying the Crouch aerial threat. Saved his best till last with an injury time tackle on Defoe. 8

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