When United are your local team, whilst you’re obviously always aware of the size of it globally, it takes weekends like this to remind you of just how massive this club is.
Watching the reaction of the Crawley fans seeing their team get drawn against United was great viewing. It makes you realise that as a United fan, there are certain things you’ll never get to experience. I’m not regretful of that. I much prefer the feeling that winning the European Cup or league brings, but there is a part of me that’s a bit jealous.
See, the stronger the opposition we’re drawn against, the more disappointed I am, because I want us to win it and the easier the draw, the better the chance there is of this happening (in theory). Obviously we can get excited about drawing Liverpool, Leeds or City, but that’s to do with the rivalry, not the size of the club. We’ll never get to experience that buzz they got when they were drawn against us.
Of course, being drawn against a non-league side means Sir Alex will rest a lot of key players. Whilst you’d like to think our fringe and youth players were still far superior to a non-league side, in terms of ability, there is always the chance they’ll be in for an upset. This is the biggest day of those Crawley players’ lives, they play together as a team week in week out and they will be up for this. In contrast, whilst our younger players will relish the opportunity to show the manager what they’re capable of, the more experienced players are hardly going to be pumped up, and as a unit will never have played together.
The manager has lead us to believe we can expect a back four of Rafael, Brown, O’Shea and Fabio, likely with Anders Lindegaard between the sticks. Michael Owen would have been an obvious choice up front with Javier Hernandez but his recent injury rules him out, meaning we’ll probably just have the one striker on the field. Bebe and Obertan to support him with Gibson, Carrick and Anderson in midfield? Our home form has been brilliant but with this dodgy line-up and formation, could today resemble an away performance? Hopefully not.
We should also hopefully see Ravel Morrison get a game (although maybe the hype from the ill-timed MEN article throws that in the balance), with Paul Pogba, Joshua King and Ryan Tunnicliffe also possibilities. Let’s hope we get a comfortable lead early enough to give our youngsters a good run out.
Come on reds!
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