Preston vs Manchester United: FA Cup Fifth Round
Venue: Deepdale – Monday 16th February – 19:45
Match Odds: Preston 6/1 – Draw 100/30 – Manchester United 4/9
Louis Van Gaal’s men will be hoping for an easy ride and go into the game as clear favourites but the League One side are more than capable of an upset.
Preston’s home record in all competitions this season: Played 20 – Won 11 – Drawn 7 – Lost 2
Preston come into the fifth round off the back of two league wins on the bounce and will hope the FA Cup provides a good distraction from their push for promotion. Preston currently lay in fourth in League One and have the joint best defensive record in the league.
Grayson has the advantage of having the Cup’s leading goalscorer in Paul Gallagher (5) and also has veteran striker Kevin Davies at his disposal, who has a total of 19 all-time FA Cup goals to his name.
Preston will provide a stern test for United and will hope to cause an upset in their first meeting with the Red Devils in 43 years.
Manchester United’s away record in all competitions: Played 15 – Won 4 – Drawn 8 – Lost 3
United have struggled at times to adapt to Van Gaal’s way of thinking with the 3-5-2 formation and that has now been dropped so we expect United to continue with the 4-3-1-2 system that has worked well recently.
The decision to deploy his captain, Wayne Rooney in a central midfield role has been a stroke of brilliance and United will benefit from the Englishman’s presence in the middle of the park once again on Monday as midfield general Michael Carrick is out. Luke Shaw returns from suspension and so Marcos Rojo could move back into the heart of United’s defence.
Manchester United are unbeaten in their last six in all competitions and will be aiming to continue their run in the FA Cup with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.
These two sides last locked horns in a competitive fixture back in 1972 in an FA Cup fourth round match at Deepdale. United ran out 2-0 winners on that day thanks to two late Alan Gowling goals.
Preston’s last five in all competitions: D/L/W/W/W
Manchester United’s last five in all competitions: D/W/W/D/W
Key Stat: Manchester United are yet to concede in this season’s FA Cup. Will that record end on Monday night?
Key Player: Wayne Rooney – The Manchester United captain is fully aware of what the FA Cup means to the Red Devil’s faithful and he will be key on Monday night.
Score Prediction: Preston 1 – 1 Manchester United – A tricky tie for United that will result in another replay at Old Trafford.