Manchester United’s Emirates FA Cup campaign will resume on Friday night when Jose Mourinho’s Reds travel to Yeovil Town in the fourth round. The match will be the focus of millions around the world, for varying reasons, so here are five talking points to discuss ahead of kick-off…
1: POSSIBLE DEBUT FOR ALEXIS SANCHEZ
That is unquestionably the hot topic following Monday night’s announcement that the Chilean has completed his transfer from Arsenal, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan going the other way. Our new no.7 crucially missed the Gunners’ third-round defeat at Nottingham Forest and is therefore not cup-tied, so Huish Park could provide a humble setting for his Reds debut.
The League Two club are already making preparations, too, judging by their good-humoured tweet of the away dressing room...
You said you've joined— Yeovil Town FC (@YTFC) January 22, 2018“the biggest club in the world”@Alexis_Sanchez so it's only right you start your #MUFC career in the biggest away dressing room in @SkyBetLeagueTwo*.
*maybe 😉 #YTFC #Alexis7 pic.twitter.com/BVFt0A06Xk
2: JOSE MOURINHO TO REACH 100
We’re talking about matches as United manager, of course, and not age! Although Friday is coincidentally Jose’s 55th birthday and the boss hopes to celebrate the occasion by securing another FA Cup victory. If you’re wondering about his record in charge of the Reds, we can tell you he has tallied 61 wins, 23 draws and 15 defeat, scoring 176 goals, conceding 70 and lifting three trophies.
Our third-round win over Derby County brought an end to an unprecedented 13-year run of televised matches (UK) in the FA Cup. But when Yeovil were pulled out of the hat in the fourth-round draw, there was little doubt this tie would not be shown on the box and the BBC duly selected it for their Friday-night slot, which is popular in terms of viewing figures at least. It is more troublesome for our travelling supporters, of course, due to the long journey home, but recent examples at Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers have produced noisy, memorable and enjoyable atmospheres.
Yeovil are contesting Otis Khan's red card, receiving for showing referee Kevin Friend while playing against Chesterfield last Saturday, in a bid to save his dream of facing boyhood club United.
“I ran towards the referee and upon doing so I tripped and fell towards him making contact,“ said the 22-year-old former Reds trainee.“I am absolutely heartbroken at this time because my dreams of playing against my boyhood team are in doubt. It's the worst time of my life at this moment.”Having discussed the matter, manager Darren Way has appealed to the Football Association.
Mourinho utilised his squad against Derby County in the previous round, making five changes to the starting XI. One of those included a rare start for back-up goalkeeper Sergio Romero, which in turn provided an even rarer rest for no.1 David De Gea, and our Argentina international could feature again at Huish Park on Friday. All will be revealed when the sides are announced at 19:55 GMT.
The Spanish midfielder made his 149th United appearance during the vital 1-0 Premier League win over Burnley and could reach a landmark this weekend. Our reigning Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year has fond memories of Yeovil, too, after scoring an excellent goal there in January 2015.