United’s 2014 FA Cup campaign begins on Sunday with a home tie against Swansea. To mark the occasion, we’ve picked out six of the Reds' best third-round ties since the war...
Aston Villa 4-6 United - 10 January 1948, Villa Park
One of the greatest FA Cup games of all time started in disastrous fashion for the Reds as Villa opened the scoring after only 13 seconds. However, an irresistible attacking display enabled Matt Busby’s side to hit back and lead 5-1 at the break through goals from Jack Rowley, Jimmy Delaney, Stan Pearson and the inspirational Johnny Morris (2). The hosts rallied after half-time and managed to claw it back to 5-4, but Pearson grabbed his second goal of the game late on to settle an enthralling contest.
United 5-0 Huddersfield - 4 March 1963, Old Trafford
Two months and seven weather-inflicted postponements after the originally scheduled date, the Reds swept aside Huddersfield en route to winning the trophy for the third time. United went 1-0 up on three minutes through Albert Quixall before Denis Law doubled the lead and Johnny Giles made it three. Law hit two more to claim a hat-trick against his old side and register the first three of his 34 FA Cup goals for United - a total that remains a club record to this day.
United 3-0 Chelsea - 15 January 1979, Old Trafford
The Reds were on a run of three successive defeats going into this clash and manager Dave Sexton knew that a win against his former club was crucial. He would have been delighted to see Steve Coppell head home the opener just before the half hour, and things got even better when Ashley Grimes, a late replacement for the ill Lou Macari, made it 2-0 with a 30-yard rocket in the second half. Jimmy Greenhoff headed in Coppell’s cross shortly afterwards to seal victory.
Chelsea 3-5 United - 4 January 1998, Stamford Bridge
The West Londoners were once again United's third-round opponents and the Blues were left shell-shocked as a David Beckham brace and an effort from Andy Cole put Alex Ferguson’s men 3-0 up at half-time. There was no let-up after the break as the Reds continued to run riot, extending the lead to 5-0 with further goals from Cole and Teddy Sheringham. Chelsea managed to pull three goals back in the closing stages to restore some pride, but it was too little, too late.
Aston Villa 2-3 United - 6 January 2002, Villa Park
When Villa scored twice to go 2-0 up in the opening stages of the second half, it looked