FA Cup has become a Man United priority after Premiership setbacks
Manchester United will be eager to quickly bounce back from their Premier League home defeat to Spurs and will fancy their chances of taking it out on Swansea in the FA Cup 3rd Round on Sunday.
Coral go 4/9 the Reds, 6/1 the Swans and 100/30 draw, but this may be a much closer encounter than those odds imply.
It has been two steps forwards then one step back for United so far this season and those backward steps have already seen them all but out of the Premiership title race.
You have to wonder, too, how far the under-performing Reds will progress in the Champions League in the spring. They should get past Olympiakos in the round of the last 16, but then will likely come up against one of the big boys in the quarter-finals and that might prove a step too far.
So United’s season may need to be saved by a Cup win and that means either the Capital One Cup – in which they are on course to meet neighbours City in the final if the two Manchester clubs can beat Sunderland and West Ham respectively in next week’s semi-finals – or the FA Cup, which they haven’t lifted for ten years.
Manager David Moyes would have liked an easier 3rd Round draw than Swansea, but at least it is at Old Trafford, where the South Wales club have never won before.
And in theory it should be quite comfortable. After all, United hammered Swansea 4-1 at the Liberty Stadium at the start of the season and Michael Laudrup’s men are hardly in a rich vein of form now either, being without a win in their last seven games in all competitions. Nobody seems to be mentioning the dreaded R word in the Swansea camp at the moment, but maybe they should be – they are only four points above the relegation zone.
But having said all that, they did play some decent stuff when losing 3-2 to Manchester City in midweek and actually equalled or bettered the title favourites in every statistic (including possession), apart from the only one that really mattered.
And in Wilfried Bony (11/4 to score against United, 8/1 first or last), they have a striker really beginning to find his feet. He put two past Joe Hart and also impressed with his hold-up play.
United will still be without Robin van Persie and most likely Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young as well, which means that Danny Welbeck (evens to score, 4/1 first or last) will probably have to step up to the plate again.
I fancy United will make it through to Round 4, but there may be just a goal in it and it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise in the world if Swansea, who remember went all the way in last season’s League Cup, were still in the hat on Sunday evening.
Coral go 13/2 it finishes 1-0 and 15/2 2-0, while anybody fancying those scores in Swansea’s favour can get 25/1 and 22/1.