Louis van Gaal hosts Sheffield United in Manchester United’s first FA Cup game of the season, with the Red Devils out of sorts in the league, despite their recent win over Swansea City. The Dutchman may see some of the intense amounts of pressure placed on him relieved somewhat, but a loss to the Blades would surely be an utter disaster.
United haven’t won this competition since a teenage Cristiano Ronaldo nodded home against Millwall back in 2004 on the way to a 3-0 win. For a team desperately looking to affirm themselves as a real power, perhaps a run in the cup would do them a world of good.
The Blades will have other ideas, however. Only two years ago did the Bramall Lane outfit enjoy a fine run to the semi-finals of this famous old competition, losing out to eventual finalists Hull City at Wembley.
Nigel Adkins and his side are in good form, having won three of their last four games and will be eager to add to van Gaal’s woes no doubt.
Today’s hosts have previous when it comes to being knocked out by Yorkshire rivals, having faced elimination at the hands of bitter rivals Leeds back in 2010.
Like that stat, have here are FIVE more to teach you all you NEED to know about Man United vs Sheffield Wednesday.
Despite the infamous loss to Leeds previously mentioned, Manchester United have a pretty dominant record against lower league opposition in cup ties of this nature.
That game is the only blotch on their record against lower ranked teams, the only loss in 36 games against so called ‘smaller teams’ in the FA Cup.
As dominant as United have been over these ties, Sheffield United are no mugs in this competition. They’ve carved out a reputation as giant killers somewhat after enjoying a fine record against teams ranked higher than themselves in recent times.
The Yorkshire club have won 5 of their last 6 ties against higher ranked teams, including beating Aston Villa and then Premier League Fulham on their rout to Wembley in 2014.
Sheffield United and Manchester United have a bit of history in the FA Cup, having made quite a regular date of it back in the mid-90s. Between 1993 and 1995, they met on three consecutive occasions.
The Blades won the first duel, while the Red Devils got revenge by condemning their foes to third round exits in the two meetings following that upset.
Despite their tendency to step up against the big boys, Man United have a rather dominant record against the Blades. In fact, today’s hosts have played their visitors on four previous occasions in the FA Cup, winning three times and only being knocked out once in this tie.
Goals have been particularly hard to come by for Manchester United this season, much to the dismay of Louis van Gaal and the Old Trafford faithful.
However, strikers for the club have found it difficult to find truly starring roles in third round of this competition for a number of years. In fact, the last man to notch a hat-trick at this stage for the Red Devils was Denis Law back in 1963.