Manchester United v Fulham: FA Cup quarter-final – live | FA Cup
“Welcome Rob,” says Jeff Sax. “Will we see the Man Utd from the Liverpool game or a winning MU?”
Jeffrey, if I knew that, I’d be in a beer garden, on a betting app.
With Raphael Varane injured, Harry Maguire starts again today. And like just about every player at Old Trafford, he has improved under Erik ten Hag.
While we’re talking about Grimsby, I had great fun this week researching their runs to the FA Cup semi-final in 1936 and 1939. If you like kooky details from the distant past, you’ll enjoy it.
I also learned about Tom Zerboni, a dynamic teenage left-back who is the nephew of an old university friend. When he makes his debut for England (or Italy), hopefully I’ll get an exclusive interview.
The semi-final line-up
The winners of this game will join Manchester City, Sheffield United and Brighton in the last four. Brighton are cruising to victory over Grimsby at the Amex, where the seriously impressive Evan Ferguson has scored twice.
Erik ten Hag makes four changes from the win away to Real Betis on Thursday. Luke Shaw, Scott McTominay, Marcel Sabitzer and Jadon Sancho replace Tyrell Malacia, the suspended Casemiro, Fred and Facundo Pellistri.
Marco Silva makes two changes to the side that was well beaten by Arsenal last weekend: Joao Palhinha and Willian return from suspension and injury respectively in place of Sasa Lukic and Manor Solomon. Both players have been so important for Fulham this season.
Man Utd (possible 4-2-3-1) De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Martinez, Shaw; McTominay, Sabitzer; Fernandes, Sancho, Rashford; Weghorst.
Substitutes: Butland, Dalot, Lindelof, Malacia, Fred, Mainoo, Pellistri, Antony, Elanga.
Fulham (4-2-3-1) Leno; Tete, Diop, Ream, Robinson; Palhinha, Reed; De Cordova-Reid, Andreas, Willian; Mitrovic.
Substitutes: Rodak, Tosin, Cedric, Lukic, Wilson, Cairney, Solomon, James, Vinicius.
Referee Chris Kavanagh.
Wednesday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday, Friday, Tuesday, Saturday, Wednesday, Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday, Sunday, Thursday, Sunday, Thursday, Sunday, Wednesday, Sunday, Thursday, Sunday, Thursday, Sunday.
As well as being the least compelling opening paragraph in the history of sports journalism, that’s Manchester United’s schedule between the World Cup and the upcoming international break (sic): 25 games in 88 days, with no midweeks off and something at stake every time. It’s no they sit top of the Premier League’s unofficial Fatigue Table.
Today’s match is the second of three quarter-finals for United, a pleasant bonus in Erik ten Hag’s first season but a potential distraction from the primary target: finishing fourth. They’re in too deep to pull out now, and will be desperate to beat Fulham at Old Trafford today.
United’s home form this season is superb – P25 W20 D3 L2 – but this doesn’t feel like a banker: Fulham have troubled all the big teams away from home this season and are quietly having their best season in at least a decade. Reaching a first FA Cup semi-final since 2002 would blah blah happy cliche.
Kick off 4.30pm.