Manchester United are in FA Cup action tomorrow as Swansea City travel to Old Trafford in an all Premier League third round clash.
David Moyes’ side have been good in cup competitions this season having reached the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup as well as progressing to the knock-out stage of the Champions League unbeaten, so should be confident going into tomorrow’s fixture.
United were beaten at home for the fourth time in the Premier League this season against Spurs on New Year’s Day and Moyes will be understandably desperate to avoid a second consecutive loss at Old Trafford which would bring even more scrutiny on his reign at the club.
Meanwhile, Swansea are without a win in seven games in all competitions and come into the match on the back of a 3-2 defeat against Manchester City on New Year’s Day. Laudrup, whose side won the Capital One Cup last season, may see the game as an ideal opportunity to rest a number of senior players given the hectic festive period and their European commitments.
The visitors have a number of injury concerns with last season’s top scorer Michu and the impressive Michel Vorm both out after operations. Pablo Hernandez and Nathan Dyer are both out too while midfielder Leon Britton is doubtful due to illness.
Moyes was not forthcoming over Robin van Persie’s injury progress on Friday so the Dutchman is still likely to be out with a thigh problem which has kept him out of United’s last six games. Ashley Young (shoulder), Marouane Fellaini (wrist), Nani (hamstring), Phil Jones (knee) and Rafael (groin) are all unlikely to be involved, and Wayne Rooney could earn a rest after his well-documented groin issue.
United drew at the Liberty Stadium last season in the Premier League before winning Sir Alex Ferguson’s final home game in dramatic fashion in May thanks to a Rio Ferdinand volley. The two sides met on the opening day of the season this time around with braces from Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck enough to see off the South Wales outfit.
The Reds have progressed in all but one of their last 28 third round FA Cup ties, with a shock home defeat to Leeds United the exception to the rule. United are well versed with facing Premier League opposition in the third round and their last defeat against a top flight side in the third round was a 1-0 defeat to Spurs in 1980.
Last season, United reached the quarter-final stage of the competition where they narrowly missed out on a trip to Wembley thanks to Demba Ba’s solitary goal at Stamford Bridge.
Defeat against Spurs all but ended Moyes’ faint title hopes and despite still facing an uphill battle to qualify for the Champions League, the cup competitions are likely to have an increased importance this year as a piece of silverware may help Moyes settle at the club.
United should have too much for the Swans on home soil, despite a mounting injury list, and are expected to continue their sound record in knock-out competitions.
Tom Cleverley spoke of the importance of the cup in midweek and it is hoped the Reds can bounce back with a performance after Wednesday’s disappointment and edge a step closer to a trophy which has eluded the club since 2004.
Prediction: Manchester United 2-0 Swansea