ADAM GOODWIN (@agjournalism) shares his view on Huddersfield's FA Cup contest with Manchester United on Saturday evening.
Huddersfield v Man Utd | Saturday 17th February 2018, 17:30 | BT Sport
Manchester United will make the trip to Yorkshire on Saturday evening as they look to go a step closer to winning their 12th FA Cup.
Huddersfield are in good form heading into this one, and they’ll take confidence from their 2-1 victory over United in October.
After a terrific start to their debut season in the Premier League, Huddersfield went eight games without a win coming into 2018. But David Wagner will be hoping that their incredible 4-1 victory over Bournemouth last weekend will reinvigorate their season.
Record signing Steve Mounie scored a brace in the rout and, after going two months without a goal, he’ll need to be back to his best if the Terriers are to get a result on Saturday.
Despite being tangled in a relegation battle, Wagner has assured fans that they will be taking the game on Saturday seriously. He said: “We didn’t work hard against Birmingham to not try to win tomorrow. We want to come into the next round. If we rotate, then it’s to help us be successful.”
This is perhaps a surprise, with his side just a point clear of the relegation zone.
Huddersfield have scraped through some relatively straight forward ties so far this season in the FA Cup. They battled their way to a 2-1 away win at Championship strugglers Bolton in the 3rd Round, before needing a replay and extra time to eventually beat Birmingham in the 4th Round.
It’s safe to say that Manchester United will pose a tougher challenge in the 5th Round…
Manchester United have now lost two games on the bounce, and will look at this FA Cup clash to re-gain their form ahead of their huge Champions League game against Sevilla on Wednesday.
Their 1-0 loss to Newcastle wasn’t necessarily a bad performance by the Red Devils, but they lacked the cutting edge to break down the black and white barrier they found in front of them – a tactic Huddersfield may look to employ this weekend.
Romelu Lukaku has just three goals in his last 10 Premier League games and he needs to find his shooting boots as we head into the tail-end of the season.
Jose Mourinho has tended to rotate in the FA Cup in the past, but he did give Alexis Sanchez his debut in the 4th Round against Yeovil and has said that Paul Pogba will start on Saturday. Even if Mourinho does decide to rest some of his big names, he has some great squad players to bring into the starting XI.
Now that the title race is (all but) over, United will focus their attention elsewhere. The Champions League will be a priority for Mourinho, but he will feel that the winning the FA Cup is also a realistic target. There’s no way he will let his players lose concentration ahead of this one.
The betting angle
I can’t see Manchester United not progressing to the quarter-finals, and I think they’ll do it by winning at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday. I don’t think it’ll be an easy game though, and Huddersfield will look to shut out United, just like Newcastle did last weekend. I fancy United to win by exactly one goal at 5/2 with Sky Bet.
Jesse Lingard is in the form of his life at the moment and he’s scored in both of United’s FA Cup games so far this season. He has 12 goals in all competitions, and I fancy him to make it 13 on Saturday. Lingard to score anytime is 39/19 with Unibet.