Paul Pogba hugs Eden Hazard.

Why it's a massive week ahead for United

Sunday 17 February 2019 09:51

The week ahead for Manchester United is book-ended by two huge domestic clashes in the Emirates FA Cup and Premier League, while United Women, our Under-23 and Under-18 sides all face tough fixtures of their own. Here's your guide to the next seven days...

United are at Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea in the Emirates FA Cup fifth round. The Blues are familiar opponents, having beaten us at Wembley Stadium in last season's final. The Reds will be looking to bounce back from the UEFA Champions League defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in midweek and claim a seventh successive victory away from Old Trafford under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. You can follow all the build-up to the 19:30 GMT kick-off with our Official App.

Meanwhile, Ricky Sbragia’s Under-23s face Stoke City in Premier League 2 at Harrison Park in Leek, with kick-off at 19:00 GMT, while club icon Gary Neville also turns 44. Our former right-back made two appearances on his birthday, including one in a 2-0 league win at Villa Park in 1998.

Ricky Sbragia's Under-23s are in action on Monday evening.

As we digest the events at Stamford Bridge and look ahead to Liverpool’s visit on Sunday, we will also wish 1968 European Cup-winning hero Paddy Crerand a very happy 80th birthday. The tough-tackling midfielder made over 300 appearances during an eight-year spell as a player at United and is still a familiar face for MUTV viewers, who can watch a special one-off birthday show at 18:30 GMT.

This day is also the anniversary of our first game at Old Trafford, which we unfortunately lost 4-3 to Liverpool on this day in 1910.

United Women continue the title push when making the journey into south Yorkshire to meet Sheffield United in the FA Women’s Championship. Casey Stoney’s side are five points behind league leaders Tottenham Hotspur but have two games in hand and will hope for a repeat of the reverse fixture, when the Blades were beaten 3-0 at Leigh Sports Village.

This day is also 20 years since our first team beat Coventry City 1-0 at Highfield Road during the Treble-winning season, with Ryan Giggs scoring the only goal with 12 minutes left on the clock.

This will be the 61st anniversary of Duncan Edwards’ passing following the Munich Air Disaster. The legendary midfielder is regarded as one of the club’s finest-ever players – with Sir Bobby Charlton saying that his death marked "the biggest single tragedy ever to happen to Manchester United and English football".

Elsewhere, centre-back Phil Jones turns 27. The England international has made 209 appearances for United since moving from Blackburn Rovers in the summer of 2011, and recently signed a new four-year contract.

We celebrate another birthday on Friday, as goalkeeper Sergio Romero turns 32. The Argentina no.1 joined United from Sampdoria in 2015 and has made 42 appearances for the club, including the 2017 Europa League final win against Ajax.

Meanwhile, Solskjaer is likely to hold his press conference to preview the Liverpool clash in the morning. The exact timing will be confirmed nearer the time.

Sergio Romero, our South American keeper, turns 32 this week.

Our Under-18s can keep the pressure on at the top of the league table when facing Blackburn Rovers at Brockhall Training Ground. The youngsters drew 1-1 with Liverpool in the last league outing, and it remains extremely tight towards the summit.

Elsewhere, we’d like to wish many happy returns to Women’s midfielder Charlie Devlin, who will turn 21. The England youth international signed for United in the summer and has netted three goals for the club so far.

It’s the big one as Liverpool travel to Manchester for the 14:05 GMT kick-off at Old Trafford. It’s a crunch game and Solskjaer's United are desperate to beat the Merseysiders. Marcus Rashford was the difference in this fixture last season and has six goals in eight league games under caretaker boss Ole.

Aside from the action on the pitch, former United favourite Denis Law will celebrate his 79th birthday. The Scot is the club's third-highest goalscorer in all competitions, behind Wayne Rooney and Sir Bobby Charlton.

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