FA Cup Fourth Round Match Preview: Manchester United v Middlesbrough

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FA Cup fourth round match between Manchester United and Middlesbrough will be played on Friday, 4th February around 20:00 GMT.

FA Cup Fourth Round Match Preview: Manchester United v Middlesbrough

The Red Devils are currently fourth in the Premier League table, one point ahead of West Ham United in fifth position and nine points behind Chelsea in third.

Middlesbrough, on the other hand, is vying for promotion to the Championship and is on the verge of securing a play-off berth.

Man United advanced to the fourth round with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa of the Premier League.

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United had only lost one of their previous 13 games in all competitions, with eight victories and four draws along the way, thanks in part to that win.

Ralf Rangnick’s side enters Friday’s meeting on a four-match winning streak, with three victories and a draw since their previous defeat.

In their last four games, the Red Devils have not only scored seven goals, but they have also held two clean sheets.

Man United have made strides under Rangnick, but they still have a long way to go before they can match the best teams in the country.

Middlesbrough, on the other hand, advanced to the fourth round of the FA Cup with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Mansfield Town.

They were up 2-0 after 14 minutes, but surrendered two late goals before winning on a stoppage-time own goal.

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Middlesbrough have only lost one of their previous nine Championship games, winning seven of them and drawing one.

They’re one of the most in-form clubs in England’s second division, so they’ll fancy their chances at Old Trafford to upset the odds.

TEAM NEWS

According to Manchester United on their official website, Paul Pogba might make his first appearance since November, having recently returned to training after a thigh injury. Ralf Rangnick will also hope to be able to re-call Aaron Wan-Bissaka (sickness) and Luke Shaw (injury), while Jadon Sancho and Victor Lindelof were both absent due to personal reasons in the triumph against West Ham.

FA Cup Fourth Round Match Preview: Manchester United v Middlesbrough

After Ivory Coast and Tunisia were knocked out of the Africa Cup of Nations, Eric Bailly and Hannibal should be in contention to play in February, but we anticipate the German to deliver an update on his squad during his news conference on Thursday.

Alex Telles, Fred, and Edinson Cavani have all been in South America preparing for the World Cup.

Riley McGree, a new Boro signing, will be unable to make his Old Trafford debut after testing positive for COVID-19 while on international duty with Australia. In January, the Teessiders bolstered their striking ranks by bringing in Aaron Connolly and Folarin Balogun on loan from Brighton and Arsenal, respectively.

FORM GUIDE

Prior to the international break, United defeated Brighton and West Ham, and after defeating Aston Villa in the third round last month, they now have a record of 10 consecutive Emirates FA Cup wins at Old Trafford, dating back to January 2017.

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Friday’s visitors defeated Mansfield Town in the previous round and have benefited from former Sheffield United manager Wilder’s appointment in November.

FA Cup Fourth Round Match Preview: Manchester United v Middlesbrough

When the 54-year-old joined, the Teessiders were in mid-table and looking at a sixth consecutive season in the second division, but they now sit in the last Championship play-off spot after seven victories and just two defeats.

RECENT MEETINGS

Boro’s last trip to M16 in 2016 had plenty of late drama, with Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba scoring in the closing five minutes to transform a 1-0 loss into a 2-1 win on New Year’s Eve.

The following spring, United completed the league double over Boro in their first season back in the Premier League since 2009. After a goalless League Cup fourth-round clash in 2015, the north-east club stunned Louis van Gaal’s Reds by knocking them out on penalties at Old Trafford.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

The three center defenders in Wilder’s system are Dutchman Anfernee Dijksteel, local youngster Dael Fry, and former Red Paddy McNair. Jonny Howson provides seasoned steel in the centre of the pitch, but Boro have lacked a clinical striker so far this season, with Andraz Sporar leading the team in goals with seven in 23 games.

FA Cup Fourth Round Match Preview: Manchester United v Middlesbrough

Despite the fact that Sporar scored the only goal in Saturday’s home triumph against Coventry, Wilder will be hoping that the additions of Connolly and Balogun raise the numbers.

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WHO’S THE MANAGER?

Wilder, who is regarded as a promotion specialist, won League Two with Northampton Town in 2016 before winning League One with Sheffield United at the first attempt. Although Wilder left before the Blades were relegated last year, the Blades impressed after their promotion to the Premier League in 2019.

Although Wilder left before the Blades were relegated last year, the Blades impressed after their promotion to the Premier League in 2019.

After a poor start, the automatic slots are definitely out of reach for Boro, but the play-offs are still a possibility, and fans can take inspiration from Wilder’s work with Oxford, which included taking the Us back into the league via the Conference play-offs in 2010.

The 54-year-old is famed for his 3-5-2 formation with the uncommon strategy of overlapping centre-backs, which he used during a 15-year playing career for Sheffield United.

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Anthony Taylor
Assistant Referees: Gary Beswick and Darren Cann
Fourth Official: Martin Atkinson
VAR: Stuart Attwell
Additional VAR: Neil Davies

FOURTH-ROUND FIXTURES

FRIDAY 4 FEBRUARY

Manchester United v Middlesbrough (20:00 GMT)

SATURDAY 5 FEBRUARY

  • Chelsea v Plymouth (12:30 GMT)
  • Kidderminster v West Ham (12:30 GMT)
  • Crystal Palace v Hartlepool
  • Everton v Brentford
  • Huddersfield v Barnsley
  • Manchester City v Fulham
  • Peterborough v QPR
  • Southampton v Coventry
  • Stoke v Wigan
  • Wolves v Norwich
  • Cambridge v Luton (17:30 GMT)
  • Tottenham v Brighton (20:00 GMT)

SUNDAY 6 FEBRUARY

  • Liverpool v Cardiff (12:00 GMT)
  • Nottingham Forest v Leicester (16:00 GMT)
  • Bournemouth v Boreham Wood (18:30 GMT)

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