A wounded Manchester United tackle Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Cup quarter-finals at Old Trafford on Saturday as they seek to move past a midweek elimination from the Champions League.
A win in this competition along with a good finish in the league will be somewhat of a consolation for United and tone down the critics from various quarters. The Red Devils’ boss Jose Mourinho has been criticized many times this season for playing overly-defensive brand of football which is deemed boring contrary to United’s traditional style of play.
On one side is a ticket to Wembley Stadium for Mourinho’s men. On the other hand is the potential elimination from two top competitions in a space of a week. This could prove catastrophic in the shape of United’s season after lifting the Europa League and Carabao Cup last season.
As per his tradition, Mourinho will is most likely to select the strongest squad available to him. Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial returned against Sevilla and are likely to start. There have been calls to have Alexis Sanchez dropped from the starting line-up after picking up just one goal and one assist in 11 matches for United.
Sergio Romero is likely to continue his current run in the FA Cup as Mourinho considers him a top goalkeeper. Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have all been absent from recent matches through injury although Ibrahimovic was spotted earlier this week training with the team.
Brighton will be without forward Anthony Knockaert who is suspended following his red card against at Everton in their last match. Steve Sidwell (back), Isaiah Brown (knee) and Jiri Skalak (ankle) are expected to miss match through injury.
Out of 17 previous encounters, United have won 11 to Brighton’s sole win with five ending as draws. Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspurs are United’s biggest challengers left in the competition in what is their only chance at silverware this season.
Fixtures (Times are in GMT)
Saturday: Swansea v Tottenham Hotspurs (12.45pm), Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion (19.45pm)
Sunday: Wigan Athletic v Southampton (13.30pm), Leicester City v Chelsea (16.30pm)