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Match preview: Yeovil Town v United in the FA Cup

Manchester United hope to extend the winning start to 2018 on Friday night when the Emirates FA Cup journey continues with a fourth-round tie at Yeovil Town.

Setting the scene: The Somerset club are the lowest-ranked side left in this season’s competition and struggling at the bottom of League Two, but the Reds know not to underestimate our lower-league opponents as we look to make it five wins in a row and progress to the fifth round for the fifth time in six seasons. For the second successive round, Jose Mourinho’s men will play on Friday night after goals from Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku saw off Championship side Derby County 2-0 at Old Trafford earlier this month.

How can I follow it? Kick-off is at 19:55 GMT and will be screened live in the UK on BBC One. Subscribers to MUTV can also watch the build-up from 18:00 GMT on the Match Day show. You will also be able to listen to radio commentary of the game, before watching it in full on Saturday at 12:00 GMT.  

What’s the team news? Alexis Sanchez could make his eagerly anticipated debut after the Chilean completed his move from Arsenal on Monday, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan moving in the opposite direction. With Eric Bailly, Michael Carrick and Zlatan Ibrahimovic possibly the only absentees, Mourinho could be tempted to make several changes from last Saturday’s 1-0 win at Burnley but has previously spoken of the respect he has for the FA Cup and fielded a strong line-up in the last round against Derby. Meanwhile, Yeovil will be without former United trainee and huge Reds fan Otis Khan, who will undoubtedly be disappointed to miss out as he starts a five-game ban after being sent off for pushing the referee in last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at home to relegation rivals Chesterfield.

Yeovil Town v United on MUTVVideo

How are Yeovil doing? The Glovers, who played in the Championship as recently as 2013/14, are currently 22nd in the fourth tier and haven’t won in the league since Boxing Day. But, threatened by the prospect of relegation to the National League, they have enjoyed a welcome distraction of a morale-boosting and money-spinning cup run. Indeed, Darren Way’s side have already knocked Southend United, Port Vale and Bradford City out on the way to booking a lucrative date with the Reds.

Have we played Yeovil before?
We have indeed! In fact, the Reds have won our three previous meetings with the Glovers – all of which came in the FA Cup – and scored 13 goals without conceding in the process. United won 3-0 back in 1938 and recorded our biggest-ever FA Cup success against Yeovil with an 8-0 thrashing in 1949. Our most recent encounter was in the third round in 2014/15 under Louis van Gaal as United won 2-0 on our first visit to Huish Park in the Glovers’ 120-year history.

Anything to look out for? Terracing! The new stadium has been home to Yeovil since its completion in 1990, when they moved from the old Huish which had been their base since 1920. The current ground has a capacity of 9,565 with two stands running alongside the pitch and terracing behind the goals, with travelling fans generally housed in the away terrace quaintly known as the Radio Cabs Stand.

Vlog: Counting down to Alexis' debutVideo

Reaction to the tie: Glovers manager Darren Way is naturally thrilled to be up against English football’s most successful club. Speaking after the draw was made, he said:
“I don’t think I could pick anyone better to go up against in the world we live in at the moment. It’s going to be a magical day.”


What are our chances of winning the FA Cup? Well, the club's official betting partner Marathon Bet are offering odds of 9/2 for United to lift the famous old trophy again at Wembley in May – having done so as recently as 2016. There’s now an extra incentive for the Reds, who could go level with Arsenal as the joint most-successful team in the competition’s history with 13 triumphs after the holders were knocked out by Championship side Nottingham Forest in round three.

A milestone for the boss: It will be a special night for Jose Mourinho, who will take charge of his 100th match in all competitions as the club’s manager on the occasion of his 55th birthday. He will be desperate to mark it with another victory as the Portuguese looks to win the trophy for the second time in his career and the first time as Reds boss after United were knocked out of the competition at the quarter-final stage last season by his former club Chelsea.

One to watch: An integral part of Yeovil’s attack, experienced forward Francois Zoko always carries a threat and can cause problems for any defence. The Ivorian, who made his 100th appearance for the club earlier this month and has worn the captain’s armband on several occasions this season, has struck 10 goals and registered three assists in all competitions this term – including an extra-time winner in their FA Cup second-round replay victory over Port Vale.  
 
Cups on sale in the Yeovil shop
There has been plenty of special match merchandise on sale in the Yeovil club shop all week
Did you know? Ander Herrera could make his 150th appearance for United in all competitions on Friday. The Spanish midfielder, who arrived from Athletic Club in the summer of 2013, netted his first FA Cup goal for the Reds against Yeovil on our last trip to the West Country three years ago.

Who is the referee? Lancashire official Paul Tierney will take charge of his first-ever United match and his 19th game of the season in all competitions. The Wigan-based whistler will be assisted by Sian Massey-Ellis and Stephen Child, with Keith Stroud appointed as the fourth official.  

Rivals Watch: It will be a busy weekend, with 16 fourth-round ties taking place from Friday to Sunday:

Saturday 27 January (15:00 GMT unless stated)
Peterborough United v Leicester City (12:30 GMT)
Huddersfield Town v Birmingham City
Middlesbrough v Brighton
Notts County v Swansea City
Southampton v Watford
Wigan Athletic v West Ham United
Newport County v Tottenham Hotspur (17:30 GMT)
Liverpool v West Bromwich Albion (19:45 GMT)

Sunday 28 January 
Chelsea v Newcastle United (13:30 GMT) 
Cardiff City v Manchester City (16:00 GMT)