Manchester United will be hoping to reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the first time since 2011, but in order to get there they have to negotiate a tricky home tie with West Ham United.
There is very little between the two clubs in terms of league placing, with West Ham in fifth position lying just two points above the hosts. The big difference lies in terms of the style of play, with Man Utd’s patient and possession-based game in stark contrast to the expansive, free flowing outlook of Slaven Bilic’s side, so it will be interesting to see which of them wins out at Old Trafford, where the two sides played out an uneventful goalless draw back in November.
Winning the FA Cup would be a marvellous way to cap a sensational season for West Ham, who may come into this as slight favourites to progress given their array of attacking ability and the momentum they currently have as a result of their run of three successive Premier League wins. That sequence has them very much within sight of the Champions League qualification places, so they two equally lucrative rewards to aim for.
Injuries continue to hamper Man Utd, who saw their resurgent run of wins ended by West Bromwich Albion last weekend. With Louis van Gaal expected by many to leave the club at the end of the season he will see it as essential that he wins a trophy before bidding farewell, and this competition represents his best chance. Their biggest threat here will come through the pace of Anthony Martial, who will be keen to take full advantage of a depleted away defence.
As the Red Devils attempt to redeem themselves after their poor display at Liverpool in the Europa League on Thursday, they will have to make do without the suspended Juan Mata and injured trio Wayne Rooney, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young.
Enner Valencia returns for West Ham along with Winston Reid, Joey O’Brien and Victor Moses. However, Sam Byram is cup-tied while defenders James Collins and James Tomkins remain out.
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