The media is currently being dominated by the news that Arsenal have been drawn against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the FA Cup quarter-finals, and rightly so, as it is far and away the biggest tie of the round.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I could see this one coming from a mile away. And as much as I hoped it wouldn’t happen, it did.
There’s no use crying over spilled milk, and as much fun as it is to blame Roy Hodgson for his dodgy ball handling skills, it’s hardly his fault.
We therefore may as well look to the future, evaluate what the draw means for us, and discuss what we need to do to come out on top.
With our history against the Red Devils, an away draw against them is undeniably one of the worst, if not the worst, possible outcome. The statistics make for difficult reading, and these records show just how poor we have been against them in the past.
Arsenals record vs #MUFC since 09 Lose Lose Draw Lose Lose Lose Lose Win Lose Lose Lose Draw Lose Draw Lose Bring on Arsenal
— Man United Updates. (@United__Updates) February 16, 2015
It’s not all doom and gloom however, and we have plenty of reasons to be confident heading into this crunch FA Cup clash.
Manchester United’s form on paper looks superb at the moment, with Louis van Gaal’s side able to boast a fantastic unbeaten streak, as well as third place in the Premier League. Dig a little deeper however, and all is not so rosy.
The quality of their football this season has been nothing short of dire at times, and they are a shadow of their former selves. While they certainly still have individual talent in almost every area of the pitch, they are no longer a cohesive team unit, and look anything but unbeatable.
We may have lost once to them already this season, but it was a game in which we dominated throughout, and were extremely unlucky to lose.
The fact is, this is not Sir Alex Ferguson’s United, and we should have no fear or trepidation heading into the game. Many are still tipping us for success in the cup, which just goes to show how far our opponents have fallen.
United have been handed a ridiculously easy draw in the competition so far, but have still managed to make extremely hard work of it. They have struggled against the likes of Yeovil Town, Cambridge United, and Preston North End; all teams they should be beating comfortably.
If they continue to play this sub standard brand of football, then we should have no problem brushing them aside on our way to the semi-finals. And equally, if we play the way we know we can, and the way we have at times this season, then there is only going to be one winner at Old Trafford.
We have arguably had our share of luck recently (and by that I mean still far less than most teams but much much more than we are used to), with a few favourable draws in the FA Cup, as well as receiving Monaco in the Champions League. So now it’s time to show that we don’t rely on luck, and that we can still get the job done when things go against us.
Could things have been easier? Certainly!
Are we going to roll over and accept defeat against a team we know we should be beating? Certainly not!