Cambridge United v Man United: FA Cup
The romance of the FA Cup brings a Friday night clash of Cambridge United v Man United from the Abbey Stadium.
The League 2 side welcome the Reds and are in fine form having won each of their last three fixtures. The 2-1 third round FA Cup win against Luton at the beginning of this month has since been followed by a 1-0 victory away at Carlisle and then a 4-0 home victory over Newport County last weekend.
Top scorer Ryan Donaldson scored the winner in that 2-1 victory against Luton and now has six for the season will be in the line up and Luke Chadwick could be set to line up against his former club.
Jordan Chiedozie, Johnny Hunt and Matteo Lanzoni are all cup tied, but defender Dominic Ball has signed on loan from Tottenham and can play.
For the Reds, Robin van Persie will have to overcome an ankle problem and both full-backs Luke Shaw and Rafael are fit again. Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling and Ashley Young will probably miss out.
In the last round Manchester United limped through to defeat Yeovil in what was a distinctly lacklustre display. A wonder goal from Ander Herrera put the Premier League side ahead before Angel di Maria sealed the win with a late breakaway strike.
- Cambridge have reached the FA Cup quarter-finals twice in 1990 (shared record for a Fourth Division club) and again the following season in 1991.
- The 1991-92 season was the last time Cambridge knocked a top-flight team out of the FA Cup when they beat Coventry City after a replay.
- They are in the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time in 15 years. Back in January 2000, they beat Wrexham 2-1 to set-up a fifth-round tie at home against Bolton, which they lost 3-1.
- They won two finals at Wembley twice last season, winning the FA Trophy 4-0 against Gosport Borough and the Conference Premier play-off final 2-1 v Gateshead.
- The U’s have scored more second-half goals than any other side in League Two this season (24).
- Cambridge United have scored a league-high number of headed goals this term in League Two (14).
- No team has recorded more goals from inside the penalty area in League Two than Cambridge this campaign (34).
- They have only kept five cleans sheets in 25 league matches this season.
- They have only won consecutive league games twice this season.
- They have won the FA Cup a joint record 11 times – but their last victory came back in 2004.
- The Red Devils have won all seven of their previous FA Cup ties against teams in the fourth tier, scoring 21 goals in the process.
- They have lost just one of their last 40 FA Cup matches against lower-league opponents – against Leeds in 2010 (W33 D6 L1).
- Manchester United have lost just one of their last 13 matches in all competitions.
- Their last four league games have produced just five goals in total.
- The Red Devils have kept just four clean sheets away from home this season in all competitions.
- Wayne Rooney has scored six goals in his last six FA Cup matches.
- Their defenders have contributed just one goal in all competitions this season (Chris Smalling v Hull).
- Only seven teams have conceded more goals from headers this season in the top flight.
The Red Devils have scored in eight of their last 10 games and most would expect them to score on Friday night.
This means the big question is whether Cambridge will find the back of the net.?
Victor Valdes will probably be between the sticks for Louis van Gaal’s men and while he has been a terrific goalkeeper for many years, he hasn’t played a competitive fixture since March 26 last year, and he’s never played for Manchester United.
Valdes is sure to be a bit rusty and he’ll have nerves, and Cambridge have averaged 2.72 goals/game at home this season. The home side will ensure the debutant keeper picks the ball out of the back of his net at least once.
Neither side have had an abundance of spot kicks this season but there are two reasons to believe that Chris Foy will point to the penalty spot at some point during this game.
Valdes making his debut amongst unfamiliar players is a recipe for communication problems, whilst Cambridge will be fired up for this and over exhuberant challenges against the likes of Di Maria, a clumsy foul in the box is always a possibility.
Chris Foy is the referee on Friday night and he has averaged 3.89 cards a game so far this season. He has refereed one evening cup tie so far this term however and he showed eight yellow cards and one red at Bramall Lane for the Sheffield United v Southampton game.
The Cambridge players will have very high energy levels for as long as they can keep them up, they’ll nibble and close down the visitors and if Foy books one early it could be a card busy night for the official.
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