United Up For The Cup: Derby Head To Town

Three For MUFC: Three things that Manchester United should or shouldn’t do over the coming week.

The title race is pretty much over after a succession of draws during the festive season that saw Manchester City speed off into the distance. The last-minute goal conceded at Leicester on the 23rd December was the beginning of a miserable seven days for Jose Mourinho’s men. A gutsy fightback on Boxing Day enabled the Red Devils to claim a point, as Burnley had sped into a two-goal lead in the first half at Old Trafford. Jesse Lingard, who has been in the media for both his scoring on and off the pitch lately, sparing United’s blushes in the final minute of the match. A drab 0-0 draw followed this, again at Old Trafford, with United getting booed off at the full time whistle. Only a victory at Everton on New Year’s Day was enough to put a slight shine on what was an awful holiday season for Jose Mourinho.

With the Christmas period now well and truly in the rearview mirror, we take a look at the fixtures on the horizon, now that the champagne corks from New Year’s Eve have stopped popping.

The following fixtures are on this weeks calendar.

5th January: Home – Derby County (FA Cup)

1 – The FA Cup Begins

The 3rd Round of the FA Cup sees United at home to Derby County. A Friday night game in which to kick-start the weekends’ cup fixtures. United have a decent record at home and should look to put the Championship club to the sword and progress to Round Four. Jose Mourinho will now have to target the cup competitions as the domestic league has well and truly sailed into the sunset. Unless Manchester City begin a catastrophic meltdown of Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle proportions, then the cup is all really what anyone else is left fighting for. United lifted the trophy in 2016 and will be looking to start their campaign with a comprehensive victory.

2 – Stay Strong

Despite the fact that the matches have come thick and fast since the middle of December, United have a ten day break until they play again. Following the fixture against Derby, United play at home to Stoke City a week Monday. Jose can afford to play a strong side in the cup and still have maximum time for rest and recuperation before the league resumes. With Lukaku still likely to miss out, it again gives Anthony Martial a chance to shine in his preferred central role at the head of the attacking unit.

3 – Cheer Up Boss

With mixed reports in the media that Mourinho is either unhappy at United and wants to leave at the end of the season or Jose is to sign a contract extension, depending on which tabloid you pick up, maybe it’s time for Mourinho to come out and nail his colours to the mast? He’s still currently living in the team’s hotel, so why after eighteen months has he not purchased a nice house in leafy Chester? Reports of Mourinho darting back to London at every opportunity to spend time with his family. Can this be a good thing? The players know he’s not around. Does this mean he never really sees himself staying for the long haul? Whatever he decides to do, he’s getting well paid to do it. Cheer up, try and smile. It’s always like he’s lost a tenner and found a quid. I used to like his pressers with his wit and charm but now it’s the same old stuff. Moaning about this, moaning that. It’s draining watching it. I’m sure it’s not giving off a good vibe to the players.

The start of 2018 doesn’t have to be like the end of 2017. It’s a chance for the team to at least keep winning and put some pressure on City to keep winning. We have two other cup competitions to compete for. All is not lost!