With several big Premier League clubs already knocked out of the competition, FA Cup represents a realistic opportunity for Manchester United to win their first major silverware post Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.
The Red Devils haven’t been playing an attractive and effervescent style of football, for which they have had a fair share of criticism in the media, but manager Louis van Gaal must be happy with the way his side has been grinding out results.
With just 1 defeat in last 18 games, van Gaal will be confident enough to securing yet another positive result when his side face Preston at the Deepdale on Monday night.
Simon Grayson’s side have been in good form, having won the last three competitive matches and remaining undefeated in 10 of their last 11 matches in the FA Cup.
Van Gaal might give a rare start to former Barcelona goal keeper Victor Valdes, who joined in the January transfer window, on a free transfer.
The Dutchman, however, will miss defender Phil Jones, who has been ruled out with a shin injury. Luke Shaw returns from suspension and could start on the left hand side, with Marcos Rojo moving to centre-back.
In the midfield, Marrick Carrick is still absent with a calf injury which forces the manager to start with Wayne Rooney as a deep lying midfielder, with Angel di Maria and Ander Herrera playing alongside him.
Radamel Falcao could get another chance to impress, while either of Juan Mata or Adnan Januzaj may be used in the hole.
Prediction: 1-3. Preston will be looking to spring an upset, but United should have enough fire-power to see them through.