After a thoroughly underwhelming display at the Abbey Stadium just ten days ago, Manchester United are ready to welcome Cambridge United at Old Trafford, as the 20-time English Champions look to book their spot in the fifth round of footballa s oldest club competition.
The draw away from home last Friday drew hordes of criticism from the media and the fans, but in light of Manchester Citya s and Chelseaa s defeats in the competition, the narrative has changed. The competition was earlier being looked as the only real chance form the club to win its first trophy in two years but it has now become a distinct possibility. Going into the match, United, who have won the FA Cup a record 11 times, are overwhelming favourites.
Manchester United Team News
Coming into the game after an impressive 3-1 win against Leicester City, United will be feeling confident about themselves. Louis Van Gaal, opted to play the 4-4-2 diamond, with Wayne Rooney starting on the right of the diamond, while record signing Angel Di Maria was given a free role and excelled in the No.10 role.
Nevertheless, it wasna t Di Maria or Rooney who made the difference on the day. On the contrary, it was the unassuming Daley Blind who played at the base of that diamond. Blind controlled the game, and brought a sense of composure in front of the back four. While the Dutchman played the ball sideways and backwards quite often to retain possession, his forward drive, which ended in a delightful lofted pass to fellow countryman Robin Van Persie, set up the first goal. His composed performance, once again, reiterated how his talents are wasted when he is forced to play at left back/wingback.
With Michael Carrick out injured, Blind certainly seems to be the clear choice at that position. The midweek game, however, could give Van Gaal the chance to field Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera, both of whom havena t played too many games recently.
The United manager certainly has a host of options up front, especially after Adnan Januzaja s energetic and confident display in the last game. Both strikers Radamel Falcao and Robin Van Persie too netted goals, and Falcaoa s movement, in particular, was impressive. The Colombian has been under pressure in recent weeks as he had failed to perform anywhere near expectations. Of course, the entire team were under the cosh as prior to Saturdaya s game they had managed a total of five goals in six games.
In defence, Van Gaal is expected to either put out the same four who started the game against Leicester City or bring in Brazilian full back Rafael on the right hand side. Ashley Young, one of Uniteda s most consistent performers in defence this season, may also be back after spending more than a month on injury sidelines.
Predicted line-up: (4-1-2-1-2) De Gea, Rafael, Jones, Rojo, Shaw, Blind, Herrera, Di Maria, Rooney, Falcao, Van Persie.
Cambridge United Team News
Coming into the game on Tuesday night, most Cambridge United players will know that it could well turn out to be the single greatest night of their entire careers. Cambridge have the chance to overcome a side who are ranked 78 places above them. Whata s more, The Ua s are coming on the back of a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Luton Town, and a win for the team looks even more unlikely.
As far as the tactics go, Cambridge will likely field a 4-5-1, but will once again try to hit United, either on the break or try to sneak a goal through a set piece. At Abbey Road, the work put in by the team was nothing short of commendable. They were looking out for one another, putting in the hard yards and hardly had any possession or chances.
Line -up: (4-5-1) Dunn, Tait, Nelson Coulson, Taylor, Champion, Donaldson, McGeehan, Ball, Kaikai, Elliot
Prediction: Manchester United 4-0 Cambridge United
With the big pitch and the confidence boosting win over Leicester in the bag, United should comfortably roll over Cambridge. Van Gaal will hope to not concede a goal and hope that his strikers find the back of the net as they did against the Foxes.
The winner of this game will play either Preston North End or Sheffield United who also play their FA Cup fourth round game at the same time as Man United and Cambridge do.