United face non-league Crawley Town this afternoon in the FA Cup fifth round at Old Trafford.
If Crawley were to win it would arguably be the biggest shock in the history of the competition as 93 league places seperate the two teams.
Although it should be an absolute walkover for The Reds, the FA Cup is famous for producing shocks and Sir Alex will no doubt want to avoid a replay, or any form of embarassment for his team.
Crawley have proudce a string of upsets to get into the fifth round, beating the likes of Derby, Swindon and the mighty Torquay.
The game was given an added edge- of sorts- after Crawley Town released a cup video which had to be removed from Youtube after some cretin in the background was seen making airplane gestures.
Crawley are unbeaten in 2011, winning eight and drawing three in the Blue Square Premier League and FA Cup, so can at least enter the fixture on a great run of form.
Should they pull of the mither of all cup upsets Crawley will become the first non-league team to reach the quarter finals of the FA Cup since before the war.
Anyone who remembers the disgraceful nil-nil with Exeter six years ago, will know that although it’s a cliche, no games can be take for granted in this competition and United may decide to leave at least one or two of our ‘big’ names on the bench -just in case.
Sir Alex will almost certainly use the game to gove his second-string a run out, so expect a line-up consisting of the likes of Bebe, Wes Brown and Gabriel Obertan.
Ones to watch/Head to Head
Matthew Tubbs- top scorer Tubbs is enoying a superb season having netted a staggering 25 goals in 26 starts- no doubt benefitting from his partnership with Crockett.
Tubbs has been prolific throught the lower leagues scoring over 100 goals and should relish his chance of playing in front of a huge crowd. The former Salisbury man, will probably be up against Wes Brown or maybe Chris Smalling and will have to be at the very top of his game if he’s to get anything out of either of those two. In all hoesty despite his remarkable record this season, if Tubbs does score it will no doubt be due to a defensive mistake and almost certainly lead to Sir Alex dusting off his hairdryer.
Tubbs netted the winner- a penalty- against Torquay, where Crawley were booed by the home fans for persistent time wasting.
Michael Kulpers- 36 year old ‘keeper Kulpers should be the busiest man on the pitch this afternoon and will need all his experience if he’s to stop United fro mrunning riot.
The former Birghton and Hull City man can expect a torrid afternoon and will do well to keep the score respectable. On his day Kulpers is a useful stopper but he’ll have to perform beyond his means if he’s to keep a clean sheet against a United side full of players desperate for more first-team opportunities.
Even a second string United side should win this game easily and although Crawley are better than their non-league status would suggest anything less than a 3-0 win would be a minor miracle. I’m going for 4-0, although in all honesty it could be double that.
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