By Andy Hyslop
- Manchester United are looking for their first FA Cup success since 2003/04
- Jones on injury list, Lingard fit to return
- Van Gaal looking to rotate players in “red zone”
Manchester United begin their journey in this season’s FA Cup against Sheffield United of League One at Old Trafford on Saturday. Manchester United and their fans will hoping this is their year in the FA Cup.
For a number of seasons Manchester United’s management and playing staff have been saying they are desperate to win the FA Cup once more. It is now twelve years since United lifted the cup for the eleventh time.
That came with a 3-0 victory over Millwall at the Millenium Stadium at the end of 2003/04 season with goals courtesy of Ronaldo and Ruud Van Nistelrooy(2).
United are looking to build on their victory against Swansea last weekend as they look to move on from a run that saw them go nine games without a victory prior to the Swansea victory.
Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal may be looking to use this game as a opportunity to rest some of his regular first-teamers ahead of away league games against Newcastle and Liverpool.
Phil Jones joins Shaw, Rojo and Valencia on the sidelines. While Jesse Lingard is once again in contention after taking a full part in training all week.
Adnan Januzaj has re-joined the United squad after his loan spell wit Borussia Dortmund was cut short. United opted to cancel his loan as he failed make enough appearances for the German side in the first half of the season.
Januzaj though is probably going to have to wait for an appearance in the United first-team. As Van Gaal wants to assess his fitness and also United need to finalise the paperwork of his return before he eligible to play. He is expected to play for under-21s on Monday night.
One player who could get a rare start in the first-team is Andreas Pereira, who impressed for the under-21s against Tottenham in the last week. The young Brazilian attacker scored two goals, including one direct from a corner.
With Jones joining the list of defenders on the sideline, we would expect that Blind will partner Smalling at the centre of United’ defence.
Varela and Borthwick-Jackson could be given opportunities in the full-back areas. Though we believe Borthwick-Jackson may get the nod at left-back with Darmian returning to his natural right-back position.
Carrick and Fellaini could return in midfield in place of Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger could have both played the last two games.
In attacking areas, we believe that Van Gaal may opt to rest Martial and Mata, with Memphis and Lingard coming in to replace them.
Sheffield United were one of the founder members of Premier League along with United. Though have been in the third tier of English football since the start of the 2011/12 season.
Sheffield United currently sit in eighth place in the League One table. They are currently managed by former Southampton manager Nigel Adkins.
There fans will be hoping that Adkins can repeat what he did with Southampton and take them from League One back to the Premier League.
Sheffield United have a decent record in cup competitions in the last few seasons and have enjoyed success against Premier League teams.
The 2013/14 season saw Sheffield United reaching the semi-finals and beating Premier League opposition Aston Villa and Fulham along the way before losing 5-3 to Hull City.