The Emirates FA Cup 4th round gets underway on Friday.
The tie of the round is Arsenal v Man Utd. These 2 clubs are the most successful in the history of the competition with 25 wins between them. Arsenal have 13 wins and Man Utd have 12.
Arsenal have won 3 of the last 5 FA Cup competitions. They have made the 5th round in 7 of the last 8 seasons. The only season that they failed to do so was last season when they were knocked out in the 3rd round by Nottingham Forest 4-2.
On the 2 previous occasions that they have met Man Utd in the FA Cup at home they have been victorious. This was in seasons 87/88 when they won 2-1 and 5-0 in 37/38! I cannot see the latter happening again…..
Interestingly the last 3 occasions that Arsenal have knocked Man Utd out of the FA Cup they have gone on to win the competition. This was in season 2002/03, 2004/05 and 2014/15.
Another interesting statistic is that in 5 of the last 8 FA Cup meeting between these 2 teams there has been at least 1 red card. 3 of these were for Arsenal and 2 for Man Utd. Whilst the animosity of the Ferguson/Wenger period has cooled it will be interesting to see if Solskjaer manages to raise the temperature of this fixture again.
Sanchez to strike in FA Cup again?
Alexis Sanchez is expected to be recalled to the starting 11 for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s flying Red Devil’s.
Having won 7 from 7 they are back playing expansive football. They have scored 19 and conceded just 4 in that period. That is without the highly expensive trio of Fred, Lukaku & Sanchez being regulars in that period.
Lukaku has scored 13 goals in his past 14 FA Cup games, this includes 6 in 7 games for Man Utd. Sanchez’s form is just as impressive. He has 9 goals and 9 assists in 19 FA Cup appearances for Arsenal and Man Utd.
Manchester Utd have only lost 1 of their last 14 R4 FA Cup ties and that was against Liverpool in 2011/12.
With the Premier League out of reach for both of these clubs this is the only domestic trophy available to them. It would also help strengthen the case for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to get the job on a more permanent basis if he were to get Man Utd into the Top 4 and win the FA Cup.
Unai Emery must be thinking that the Top 4 is beginning to look a forlorn hope now with only 1 win in their last 6 games. Therefore the likelihood is he will put out a strong team here.
I would expect the same from Solskjaer as he will want to keep the momentum going in his team. Therefore I will be looking for goals in this game and expect the Red Devil revival to continue.
Tip of the Day
My FA Cup tip of the day is for BTTS AND MAN UTD TO WIN
This is generally available at 7/2