Manchester United -v- Nottingham Forest
FA Youth Cup
Old Trafford, Manchester
Wednesday 11 May 2022, KO 19:30 GMT
Referee: Josh Smith – Assistants: Akil Howson, Craig Taylor
Fourth Official: Adam Herczeg
Manchester United U18s will face Nottingham Forest U18s in the FA Youth Cup final at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening. It is the first time United have made it to the final since the 2010/11 season which saw the likes of Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba and Sam Johnstone lift the trophy.
United have won the FA Youth Cup ten times, appearing in 14 finals – this will be the 15th. The U18s beat Scunthorpe United, Reading, Everton, Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers to reach the final of the competition.
Forest beat Bristol City, Peterborough United, Cambridge United, Blackburn Rovers and Chelsea to reach the final of the competition. Forest are a good team, currently in fourth place behind United in the U18 Premier League table with both teams set to face each other again this weekend.
With both teams on 41 points in the U18 Premier League this season, with one match left to play, it will be a match to fight for a third-placed finish in the league. However, there is no trophy for that and both teams have had a positive season in both competitions.
Manchester United – The Road to the 2021/22 FA Youth Cup Final
Manchester United 4-2 Scunthorpe United – Third Round
Reading 1-3 Manchester United – Fourth Round
Manchester United 4-1 Everton – Fifth Round
Manchester United 2-1 Leicester City – Quarter Final
Manchester United 3-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers – Semi Final
Goals: 5 – Alejandro Garnacho, Charlie McNeill, 3 – Sam Mather, 2 – Kobbie Mainoo, 1, Maxi Oyedele
Assists: 3 – Alejandro Garnacho, 2 – Sam Mather, Charlie McNeill, 1 – Isak Hansen-Aaröen, Marc Jurado, Kobbie Mainoo
Nottingham Forest – The Road to the 2021/22 FA Youth Cup Final
Nottingham Forest 3-1 Bristol City – Third Round
Peterborough United 1-2 Nottingham Forest – Fourth Round
Cambridge United 0-0 (3-5 penalties) Nottingham Forest – Fifth Round
Blackburn Rovers 1-3 Nottingham Forest – Quarter Final
Nottingham Forest 3-1 Chelsea – Semi Final
Goals: 5 – Detlef Esapa Osong, 3 – Jack Nadin, Dale Taylor
Previous Manchester United wins and losses in the FA Youth Cup Final.
United have played a total of 14 FA Youth Cup finals, winning ten of them. The competition was founded in 1952 with United winning the trophy for the first five seasons, from 1952/53 right the way through to 1956/57. That was some achievement.
United beat Wolverhampton Wanderers in the first two seasons, West Bromwich Albion in the third, Chesterfield in the fourth and West Ham United in the fifth. United won it for the sixth time in the 1963/64 season, beating Swindon Town.
In the 1981/82 season, United were beaten by Watford in the final, making the final again in the 1985/86 season, where they were beaten by Manchester City. The seventh win came in the 1991/92 season where United beat Crystal Palace in the final.
Making the final the next year (1992/93, United lost to Leeds United. The eighth win came in the 1994/95 season where United beat Tottenham Hotspur in the final. It would be a while before United won the trophy again.
In the 2002/03 season, United beat Middlesbrough in the final, winning their ninth trophy, then making it all the way to the final again in the 2005/07 season, where they were beaten by Liverpool. The tenth win came against Sheffield United in the 2010/11 season.
Notable Manchester United players to have participated in the FA Youth Cup Finals.
The most notable names would come in the 1950s where some of the famous Busby Babes were playing for United. The likes of Eddie Colman, Duncan Edwards, Billy Whelan, David Pegg, Albert Scanlon, Wilf McGuinness, Bobby Charlton, Shay Brennan and Kenny Morgans to name but a few.
In the 1960s, the likes of Jimmy Rimmer, George Best, David Sadler, John Aston and John Fitzpatrick all played for United. Missing the 1970s, United next appeared in the 1980s with the likes of Clayton Blackmore, Norman Whiteside, Mark Hughes, Gary Walsh and Lee Martin all playing.
In the 1990s, a successful period for United, the likes of Gary Neville, David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Ben Thornley, Robbie Savage, Keith Gillespie, Kevin Pilkington, Paul Scholes, Phil Neville and Terry Cooke all featured for United.
In the 2000s it was the likes of Phil Bardsley, Paul McShane, David Jones, Chris Eagles, Kieran Richardson, Tom Heaton, Mads Timm, Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Danny Welbeck, Danny Drinkwater, James Chester, Corry Evans, Richard Eckersley and Ron-Robert Zieler all featured.
United last made the FA Youth Cup final in the 2010/11 season and were represented by some familiar names, such as Sam Johnstone, Michael Keane, Jesse Lingard, Paul Pogba, Will Keane, Ravel Morrison, Zeki Fryers, Tom Lawrence and Tyler Blackett, amongst others.
Predicted Starting XI: McNeill to lead the attack with Garnacho, Hansen-Aaröen and Mather in support? Bennett to captain this young United side? Vitek in goal?
I’m not too sure that Travis Bunion will change much about his team selection against Forest on Wednesday evening. His team has largely not been changed throughout the competition and if he can keep the same XI playing, he will.
United will be up for the challenge of Forest, who they beat 2-0 in the U18 Premier League earlier in the season with Manni Norkett and Sam Mather scoring the goals. United will face Forest again on Saturday in the final U18 Premier League match of the season – a fight for third place.
I would expect to see Radek Vitek remain in goal – he has been pretty solid at times this season. The defence should consist of Marc Jurado and Sam Murray in the fullback positions with Tyler Fredricson and Rhys Bennett in the centre of the defence.
The midfield should consist of Kobbie Mainoo and Daniel Gore, who have worked well this season with Sam Mather, Isak Hansen-Aaröen and Alejandro Garnacho in the three behind the striker, which for this match should continue to be Charlie McNeill.
Match Prediction: United to lift their 11th FA Youth Cup in 15 finals in the competition – the first since 2011 making it 11 years in the making?
United will have to continue working hard if they are to lift the FA Youth Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening. The squad will need to push for that victory and Forest will not be a pushover. Granted, United beat them 2-0 in the U18 Premier League earlier in the season.
That means nothing in this competition though. United may have the psychological advantage, knowing them have beaten the club in the league and playing at home but with more than 60,000 supporters in the stadium, it could change the game either way.
Forest have some vocal supporters and are said to be bringing 4,000 supporters but the majority are likely to be United supporters, which could make things much different for the away side. It is a game of 90 minutes and the strongest team will win.
United will face Forest against on Saturday at their Carrington training ground in the final U18 Premier League match of the season, which will be the race to a third-place finish between the two sides, who both have 41 points with United having a better goal difference.
Manchester United 3-1 Nottingham Forest
Written by John Walker