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Thank God We’re Playing Villa!

Wayne Rooney scores against VillaManchester United travel to Villa park this Saturday for the Third Round of the FA Cup, with the hope of putting on a more convincing performance in contrast to those we’ve seen in the past few weeks. Whilst picking up most of the points on offer over the festive period, United seemed to be missing the cutting edge we have become accustomed to. Most notable are the past two games we’ve played against West Ham and Birmingham, with the reds losing out on all of the points at Upton Park, and clinging on to their one goal advantage at Old Trafford on New Year’s Day.

A couple of seasons ago, we would have drawn or lost the game we just saw out against Birmingham. We have the ‘luck of the Champions’ at the moment, enabling us to grind out results we don’t seem to entirely deserve, more often than not. One moment of brilliance was all it took to collect the three points after firing blanks for much of the rest of the match. United really seem to struggle to keep their attention spans and urgency levels up when we’re playing the ‘smaller’ teams, as we saw against McLeish’s men. It is for this reason I am content with knowing we’ve got a team fighting for a top six place in the Cup, rather than a non-league no mark side.

If you look at United over the past few years in the Cup, they have more often than not breezed through to the Fourth Round. However, there have been two stumbling blocks; non-league sides Burton Albion in 2006 and Exeter City in 2005, who both forced us to a replay.

At a time when United are struggling to get themselves up for the ‘smaller’ teams, I am grateful that we have a more difficult game to focus our attention on. Villa Park has been kind to us over the years, whether facing Villa or playing in other Cup fixtures, and that is just what we need to help us along. A 0-0 with a lower league side would be on the cards for this weekend had we been drawn such opposition.

United are going to struggle somewhat with their lineup, following the injury to Carlos Tevez on New Year’s Day. Wayne Rooney should have recovered, meaning we could play a similar team and formation to that which faced Birmingham, only with Rooney leading the pack instead of our Argentinian. Park played well and deserves his spot in the starting lineup for the Cup, presumably with Ronaldo or Giggs acting in the supporting role. It remains to be seen whether Louis Saha is able to hack a place in starting lineup, with Ferguson chopping and changing what he feels our striker can handle.

It will be a tough game, no doubt about it, but I’d much rather us see a more difficult team at this stage, forcing us to be on top of our game, rather than putting on a poor show against a team of nobodies!

Will this current uninspired United line up get the result they want on Saturday?

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Pete says:

    May i extend a warm welcome to you at Villa Park this Sat, an interesting article. It has the making of being a very good game, one which i and many Villans are looking forward to. After all we have to beat you at some stage……dont we? surely law of averages alone says that. Should be a good one whatever happens, shame about the crap KO time, worst of the lot for me.

  2. Stuart says:


    This weekend promises to be a good fixture if we dont fold like we did earlier this season. We are more than capable of getting something from this game and you shouldnt take us for granted.

    Heres for a good game.

  3. theno5shirt says:

    good article. i think the draw is a good one for villa too. if we win it will be a great result for us, but if (as usual) we lose then our small squad can concentrate on getting a top 6 finish. hope it’s a great game against a full-strength utd team!

  4. jsos says:

    we like your spirit villa. i think this is a very fair article and the energy of villa is just what we need to get united fires burning again ;)

  5. craig mc says:

    Villa’s Agbonlahor says he doesn’t want Villa to score early against United. I don’t want United to score early against villa, because then we may do a West Ham again, where we try to keep our lead, and defend too deep inviting the opposing team to all out attack. You can be certain of one thing, both the Villa and United travelling fans WILL BE IN FULL VOICE. i CAN’T WAIT!!!!!!!.

  6. Tom F says:

    I know the game is all about converting chances into goals, but to say we didn’t deserve to beat Birmingham is a bit harsh. No we didn’t score four past them like we all expect United to do every game, but we definately were not lucky to win we were unlucky to not score three or four. Hitting the woodwork twice as well as their keeper doing very well to keep out Ronaldo’s low header. We didn’t play with fluency like we usually do but I suppose your point is about in the latter stages where I too started to think, all it would have taken is to give away a free-kick on the edge of the box and we could have kissed goodbye to Arsenal for a couple of weeks.

    Villa have a great ground and my brother is a VILLA fan so that shoud be interesting ;o)

    I’d like to see park start with Ronaldo up front, with Saha on the bench. As for the KO time, at least the BBC get a LOAD of cash for it :Op

  7. UnitedRay says:

    Is united a team of big time charlies?

  8. Tom F says:

    you are totally right about the minows!

  9. tinzweishe says:

    i think the team performed very well against big teams they will win the match coming the weekend


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