FA Cup final in numbers: Pep Guardiola's Man City eye sixth title

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Manchester City are looking to add to their trophy haul.

Manchester City can become the first English team to win a domestic treble of trophies if they beat Watford in Saturday’s FA Cup final.

Manchester United and Liverpool have both won a treble of major trophies, featuring one European trophy and two domestic trophies.

But no English side has done the clean sweep of league title plus FA Cup and League Cup, and City have the chance to clinch it at Wembley after adding the Premier League title to their Carabao Cup triumph.

Here, Press Association Sport looks back at the English club trebles that combined a European trophy with two domestic trophies.

Liverpool, 1983-84

Won: League, League Cup, European Cup

The Reds’ first season under Joe Fagan’s management brought unprecedented success, with striker Ian Rush instrumental as his 32 goals helped them hold off Southampton by three points to win Division One.

The Welshman scored 47 in all competitions, including a semi-final brace against Dinamo Bucharest as Liverpool won their fourth European Cup by beating Roma on penalties in the final.

They played 13 games to win the League Cup – coming through five two-legged ties plus a replay against Fulham, before a goalless 120 minutes against Everton at Wembley and a 1-0 replay win.

0514 Liverpool 84

Manchester United, 1998-99
Won: League, FA Cup, Champions League

United achieved almost the same feat 15 years later, though with the FA Cup – secured by a 2-0 win over Newcastle in the final – rather than the League Cup.

A final-day 2-1 win over Tottenham had secured the Premier League title, one point ahead of Arsenal, but it is the Champions League triumph and “that night in Barcelona” which lives longest in the memory.

United fell behind to Mario Basler’s early goal and remained 1-0 down until stoppage time, when Teddy Sheringham equalised before current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer poached a dramatic winner.

0514 Treble

Liverpool, 2000-01
Won: FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Cup

Perhaps a less prestigious treble, with no league title and the UEFA Cup rather than the Champions League, but still a momentous season for the Reds under Gerard Houllier.

They beat Birmingham on penalties to win the League Cup, having been denied victory in normal time by Darren Purse’s last-minute spot-kick, and a late Michael Owen brace against Arsenal saw them add the FA Cup.

There was even more drama four days later in a wild UEFA Cup final, in which they led Alaves 3-1 and 4-3 before a late goal by former Manchester United man Jordi Cruyff forced extra time. Delfi Geli’s own goal settled it for Liverpool.

0514 Liverpool 01

Double delight

* Having won the Premier League and Carabao Cup last season, City are still in contention to win multiple trophies in back-to-back seasons – a feat only previously achieved by three English clubs.

Liverpool did so in 1975-76 and 1976-77, and again for four years running between 1980-81 and 1983-84, while Nottingham Forest managed it in 1977-78 and 1978-79 and Manchester United in 2007-08 and 2008-09.

* The 1997-98 season saw two doubles – Arsenal won the league and FA Cup, and Chelsea the League Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup.

* Preston and Aston Villa’s 19th-century doubles came when the league and FA Cup were the only trophies available.

* City and Tottenham take the number of double-winning clubs to nine.

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Liverpool rock Virgil van Dijk and Crystal Palace star Aaron Wan-Bissaka claim top Premier League awards

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Virgil van Dijk

Yet another incredible football season has reached its conclusion. The beautiful game has not failed to disappoint, providing the fans with some jaw dropping – as well as heartbreaking – moments over the last nine months.

We have witnessed some brilliant one-off individual displays and a few consistent performers. We’ve had breakout players, impressing at a young age and veterans proving that age is just a number.

As part of our end-of-the-season awards for Europe’s top-five leagues, we’re honouring the Player of the Year and Breakthrough Player of the Year (stars aged 23 and under who made significant strides in 2018/19).

Here, we look at the winners from Premier League.

Check out the awardees for the La LigaSerie ABundesliga and Ligue 1 here

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool, 27 years old

Virgil van Dijk has also been named the PFA Player of the Year.

Virgil van Dijk has also been named the PFA Player of the Year.

Season report

It was between Virgil van Dijk and Raheem Sterling for this one. But the colossal impact the former has produced upon arrival at Anfield tips the scale in his favour. Liverpool’s defence required a major overhaul but little did anyone think that the arrival of one Dutchman would change it all. Van Dijk – the captain without the armband – has operated with high efficiency at the heart of Liverpool’s defence. He has averaged just one tackle per game, owing to astute positioning and the tendency to get in front of the attacker and cut out the supply. Van Dijk has also been an immense figure while defending set pieces. The 27-year-old reads and wards off any aerial threat, ensuring goalkeeper Alisson has much less to worry about. The fact that he has not been dribbled past even once despite going up against the likes of players like Sterling, Eden Hazard, Son Heung-min and Bernardo Silva speaks volumes of the season Van Dijk has enjoyed.

Best performance: Clean-sheet at Goodison Park

Among other immense performances, Van Dijk’s masterclass in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park stands out as his best of the season. Performing at the top level in one of the biggest derbies in Europe is not as easy ask and the centre-back responded very well.

What next for Van Dijk?

“One-season wonder” is a rather lazy term thrown around to describe a player who has exceeded expectations in that particular season. The expectations from the most expensive defender ever were certainly high and the fact that Van Dijk still managed to exceed it means that the bar is only set higher now. He will be tasked to replicate or even better his performance from this season and guide Liverpool to their first league title since 1990. The objective remains the same, but the pressure and expectations will only make it harder.

Honourable mentions: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City).

BREAKTHROUGH PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Crystal Palace, 21 years old

Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Season report

Wan-Bissaka has been a revelation at Crystal Palace this season and has managed to turn heads of top English clubs. It’s been just over an year since the 21-year-old made his debut and the rate at which he has matured into a top defender is impressive. With 3.7 tackles per game, the Englishman has emerged as one of the better tacklers. Only Idrissa Gueye and Wilfred Ndidi have better numbers. Wan-Bissaka has also managed to record the highest interceptions per game among full-backs, proving the point that he is a well-rounded defender. Much like players such as Dani Alves and Jordi Alba, Wan-Bisaaka started his career as a winger and the attacking instincts have been kept alive by the youngster. But the stand-out feature of his game has to be his flawless tackling. His high tackles to fouls ratio of 6.33 serves is evidence to the fact that he’s an efficient and clean tackler of the ball. Wan-Bissaka has been consistent this season and a move to a top English club is very much on the cards.

Best performance: Assist+clean-sheet against Fulham

Wan-Bissaka ensured that Crystal Palace got off the mark on the first game of the season, with an assist and a complete performance in defence in their 2-0 win over Fulham.

What next for Wan-Bissaka?

Although Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson is desperate to keep Wan-Bissaka at the club, he did admit that any offer for the right-back will be assessed like any other. This means that it’s extremely likely he will be plying trades for one of the big six next season. The two Manchester clubs have emerged as possible suitors but it will ultimately come to the youngster’s best judgement. Regardless of where he moves, the price-tag is bound to be hefty.

Honourable mentions: Declan Rice (West Ham), James Maddison (Leicester City)

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Riyad Mahrez determined to become regular Man City hero

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Riyad Mahrez

Riyad Mahrez vowed to establish himself at Manchester City after his crucial goal helped settle the title race in their favour.

Algeria international Mahrez, who won the Premier League with Leicester in 2016, became City’s record signing last summer when he joined from the Foxes for £60milion.

The winger has started only 14 Premier League matches this season, but the last of those came at Brighton in Sunday’s title decider.

And Mahrez responded to his surprise selection with the vital third goal, skilfully leaving Lewis Dunk on his backside before lashing the ball into the top corner.

He said: “It’s not easy to come to a team, a squad, who won everything last season.

“But I’m very confident about myself and never doubt my quality. I knew when I had my chance I would take it. I scored, I helped the team, we played very good, and we deserved to win the league.

“I’m very happy here. It’s not that because I don’t play I’m going to go somewhere else. It’s part of the game. I need to stay strong because it’s part of my personality. I’m never going to go away from teams.

“That’s easy to do but I’m very confident about my quality and there’s another season next season. I know the league. I did a lot of things in this league already.”

City eventually ran out 4-1 winners to pip Liverpool to the title by a single point.

Glenn Murray briefly made it twitchy for the visitors when he headed Brighton in front but goals from Sergio Aguero, Aymeric Laporte, Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan ensured City retained their crown.

“It’s a great achievement but we have to give credit to our opponents, Liverpool,” added Mahrez.

“They are an amazing team as well. They deserved to win the league as well but we were a bit better – we have 98 points and they have 97. It’s amazing.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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