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Manchester United misfit Falcao to take chances against Cambridge

| 23.01.2015

Manchester United, 11/2 with Coral to end an 11 year drought and win the FA Cup, travel to face competition minnows Cambridge United.

This duel has all the makings of a quintessential FA Cup tie, with the hosts having struggled to keep their heads above water financially in recent seasons, but now awaiting the tasty prospect of a battle against some of the Premier League’s biggest stars.

To celebrate, Coral are offering a super matchday special, with United available at 7/4 to win by three or more goals (max stake £20).

Could the inconsistent Red Devils, who toiled against Yeovil Town in the last round, be the victims of a famous giant killing? It wouldn’t be the first time this term, as United were previously smashed 4-0 by MK Dons in the Capital One Cup.

“They’ll find an old-fashioned ground where three sides of it are dilapidated and not really fit for purpose for what we want it to be, and a crowd that is quite close to the pitch”, stated Cambridge chief executive Jez George in a recent interview.

The U’s are 11/1 to utilise their home fans’ spirit and surprise the red half of Manchester with a shock win over 90 minutes, as Louis van Gaal continues to get to grips with the tricky nature of English domestic cups.

Cambridge’s Norwich City-owned midfield starlet Cameron McGeehan is 8/1 in the anytime market after crowning his debut last time out with a brilliant brace, while 19-year-old wideman Sullay Kaikai has also been amongst the goals lately and is 14/1 to score first.

United academy graduate Luke Chadwick will surely be relishing facing his former club, but the Cambridge midfielder will face a tough task marking the likes of Wayne Rooney (5/1 to bag a brace or better) and Radamel Falcao.

Misfiring Falcao was incredibly unlucky not score last time out against QPR, but the prolific marksman should find his shooting boots against the lowest-ranking FA Cup side, so back him at 10/3 to strike first.

Left back Luke Shaw should be fit for the journey down south, as should Robin van Persie, but it may be wise to rest the Dutchman, especially considering James Wilson’s cracking cameo performance against QPR.

Rapid Wilson (4/1 to close the scoring again) deserves the chance to start, as his pace in tandem with Angel Di Maria’s trickery, could really cause problems at the Abbey stadium.

The Red Devils should be able to bombard Cambridge with their fantastic forwards, but it appears Van Gaal will stick by his favoured 3-5-2 formation, which has hampered the top four hopefuls on several occasions this season.

Speaking ahead of the clash, the Dutch coach stated: “When you see Cambridge and analyse them they are very direct, long balls and five or six players above 6ft. It is difficult to defend, that’s why you have to prepare very good. It is not so easy to beat Cambridge.

“For me it’s not a change or exception because we prepare our matches the same way as we prepare in the Premier League”, added Van Gaal.

Fans hoping to see four at the back may be in for disappointment then, and defence could be a problem point again with centre backs Jonny Evans and Chirs Smalling sidelined.

With their undeniable quality up top, though, the Red Devils are heavy odds-on favourites at 2/9 to triumph, or 12/5 to score four or more.

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Holly Thackeray

Holly is a member of the content team, and can often be found on the sports desk writing about favourite topics Serie A and East Asian footballing nations. A recent darts convert, she is also a fully-fledged member of Barney's Army and a proud Leeds-born Manchester United fan.