We have a horrendous record at Old Trafford, and our resolve (and mental strength) is certainly going to be tested when we head north for our FA Cup clash against Manchester United this Monday.
This is certainly not the United of old however, and despite finding themselves fourth in the Premier League and in the quarter finals of the FA Cup, they have been a shadow of their former selves this season.
That isn’t to see we have any divine right to win though, and we will still need to be at our best to get the victory on the 9th.
We dominated them at the Emirates earlier in the campaign, but Louis van Gaal’s side still headed back to Manchester with all three points.
David de Gea played out of his skin that day, and we may have gone behind to a rather dubious deflected goal following a clear Marouane Fellaini foul on Keiran Gibbs. When you control a game so completely and don’t take advantage however, you need to look at your own performance rather than blaming your opponent’s good fortune.
Granted, Manchester United do seem to ride their luck rather more than most teams, but they always say that the sign of a great team is when you can win playing badly – and that seems to be their specialty.
We have been hugely inconsistent this season; on occasion looking like world beaters, then crumbling disappointingly to defeat the following week. This is something that needs to be addressed eventually, but in the short term we just have to make sure it’s the former that shows up at Old Trafford.
If we play the way we know we can, then we should have no problems dispatching van Gaal’s side – no matter how they perform. If we give this game anything less than 100% however, then we will more than likely be heading back to London disappointed.
The FA Cup is our best chance of silverware this season (and Manchester United’s too), but while I’d love to retain the cup, I don’t feel our success hinges on it. Yes, I would be disappointed, but if we reached the final and lost to an in form Liverpool side I would grin and bare it.
If we lose to an extremely poor Manchester United side however, then it might just ruin my season.
Based on their performances this season, I don’t feel they deserve to be where they are. But they are where they are nonetheless, and we need to make sure we don’t implode at Old Trafford once again.
This has the potential to be a defining game in our season, as so many games are at this point in the campaign. The positions we put ourselves in are often akin to a knife edge – four points from second, four points from missing out on Champions League – meaning our seasons can be decided by the odd game or two.
We have a number of crucial fixtures coming up, and getting off to a positive start could be key. A loss against United could have an extremely negative impact on the team, and with a tricky second leg against AS Monaco approaching, we could find ourselves in a dangerous downward spiral.
Advancement in the FA Cup will give the players something to keep fighting for, and will keep confidence high as we head into a difficult period.