FA Cup best bet for Man Utd in search of silverware success
Manchester United eased into the fifth round of this season’s FA Cup after a comfortable 3-0 victory over League Two Cambridge United in their fourth round replay at Old Trafford.
The rampant Red Devils, 5/2 with Coral to lift the cup, now have a fantastic chance to end their decade drought in the competition, thanks to goals from Juan Mata, Marcos Rojo and James Wilson sealing a place in the next round.
Versatile Northern Irishman Paddy McNair played a starring role in United’s progression, brilliantly surging down the right flank and playing a key pass in the build-up to Mata’s opening strike, which sent Louis van Gaal’s men on their way.
Argentinian Rojo headed home his first ever goal for the club only moments later, before substitute Wilson’s sweetly struck effort from outside the box found the bottom corner and set up a fifth round meeting with Preston.
It could have been a completely different result in Manchester if Cambridge’s Tom Elliot had capitalised on Daley Blind’s early mistake, instead striking the post after just 58 seconds, as United went on to win with ease.
United are the highest placed team remaining in this year’s competition and their determined Dutch boss is confident his side can scoop Wembley success this term.
“I am not a casino man,” said Van Gaal. “I am not allowed to bet. But I give you a tip. We have a real chance now.”
Van Gaal’s Premier League high-flyers have now lost just once in their last 16 games, and are well poised for a battle to secure their first FA Cup coup for 11 years, last lifting the famous trophy in 2004.
“We are the highest qualified team in the FA Cup so our status is the highest club,” added Van Gaal. “But Arsenal is still in the cup and also a very high competitor.”
The Dutch manager has won trophies in his debut year in charge of Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but with United 10 points behind league leaders Chelsea, the FA Cup is his best chance of silverware success this season.
United are the joint record holders of the FA Cup with rivals Arsenal, and with Darren Fletcher recently departing for West Bromwich Albion, no current player at Old Trafford has won the competition.
In last season’s campaign, under Sir Alex’s Ferguson’s successor David Moyes, the Old Trafford outfit were stunned by Swansea City in a third round defeat at home, adding to their decade of cup misery.
However, with the Premier League’s top two sides Manchester City and Jose Mourinho’s Blues both having already been dumped out of the competition, United’s path to Wembley has been cleared of threatening top-flight opposition, and are on course to end their domestic cup drought.
Van Gaal’s rejuvenated Red Devils are odds-on 4/11 to make a return to the Champions League next season by claiming a place in this term’s top four.