Down The Wings

Manchester United Fan Blog

FA Cup Preview: Manchester United vs Middlesbrough

Manchester United vs Middlesbrough | FA Cup 4th Round | Old Trafford | KO: 20:00

The return of club football this weekend will be a return to normality. Manchester United or those employed by the club never fail to make the headlines, and that was no different during the extended break. However, the FA Cup fourth-round tie promises to be an escape from a turbulent week at Old Trafford.

United host Championship side Middlesbrough, as the Reds look to further cement their claims to the trophy.

How do Manchester United look?

Embed from Getty Images

United’s transfer business or lack of meant that there are no exciting new additions to look forward to. However, what the club did do right, is find suitable loan clubs for out-of-favour players. Donny van de Beek, Amad Diallo and Anthony Martial all found themselves departing the club on loan in search of regular football. So quite obviously those names won’t be involved.

However, the small exodus of first-team players has left vacant squad places for some of United’s youth to fill. One of the keenest to stake a claim in the first team is Hannibal Mejbri, who Ralf Rangnick confirmed would be involved vs Middlesbrough and will also play a role in the first team squad going forward.

Embed from Getty Images

While many fans were probably banging their heads on the wall, just waiting for the last week to end, Paul Pogba was donning his boots again in some high-intensity training. Impressed by the midfielder’s fitness, Rangnick also suggested Pogba is in contention for the starting eleven on Friday night. Whether United’s interim manager decides to go strong or rotate will be interesting to see, given the fact that United’s first-team players may benefit from some football after the break.

Whether Rangnick goes for a stronger team selection or shakes things up, the German will be unable to call upon Edinson Cavani due to jet lag, Jesse Lingard as he has been granted time off and Mason Greenwood who has been suspended by the club while Police investigations continue. Alex Telles is another who will be unlikely to feature as he started Brazil’s 1-1 draw vs Ecuador in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Opposition: Middlesbrough

Embed from Getty Images

The Boro sit 7th in the Championship so far this season and are definitely harbouring hopes of a return to the top flight. Old Trafford will welcome a familiar face in the form of Chris Wilder. The last time Wilder faced the Reds at Old Trafford, his Sheffield United side dented and probably sobered United’s hopes for the title in January 2021.

Another face that United fans may be well acquainted with is Paddy McNair. The versatile Northern Irishman made his debut for the Reds back in 2014 under Louis van Gaal. While he didn’t make it at United, he’s managed to carve a decent career for himself.

Key Stats

Embed from Getty Images

A famous 4-1 defeat in 2005 at the Riverside Stadium is the last time Manchester United lost to Middlesbrough.

Middlesbrough have progressed from only one of their last 10 FA Cup ties against Premier League opposition.


Despite the chaos at the club this week, Rangnick seemed in a jubilant mood in the press conference. He seems to be confident of a good weeks training which should only excite us. Another week of drilling fresh ideas into the squad should only bode well.

Saying that though even if the week hadn’t been as positive as Rangnick made out, we would all still expect a win. Given the location and the gulf in stature of the two clubs, one can’t help but assume that the magic of the cup and its buoying of underdogs just won’t be present on Friday night.

Manchester United 4-0 Middlesbrough.

Founder, Editor, Writer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.