Recent form aside, Jose Mourinho will fancy his team’s chances against Huddersfield, having toppled The Terriers 2-0 at home just two weeks ago.
However, following a frustrating 1-0 loss away to Newcastle on the weekend, the Red Devils boss and fans alike have all been left aggravated by the defensive inadequacies of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.
Saturday evening’s clash at the John Smith’s Stadium will likely see changes made to the United back four. Luke Shaw’s resurgence at left-back has seen him regularly rotated with the more experienced Ashley Young. He started the game against Huddersfield earlier in the month and fans shouldn’t be surprised if he features in this one.
Fan-favourite, Eric Bailly, has been announced as match fit by Jose Mourinho in his recent presser – meaning that Victor Lindelof and Marcos Rojo will likely battle it out to join the Ivorian at the centre of defence.
Ander Herrera and Marcus Rashford are still both out of action after the two missed the Newcastle game through injury.
Questions will raise however over whether Scott McTominay will feature. He gave a gutsy performance against David Wagner’s men in the sides’ recent encounter, but missed out on the game at St James’ Park, as Jose opted for a midfield two of Pogba and Matic (as much as the boss insists it was actually a midfield three with Lingard on the right).
On the other hand, Huddersfield’s latest result certainly didn’t disappoint fans, they comfortably brushed aside AFC Bournemouth in a 4-1 win, and also beat Birmingham city 4-1 to make it to the fifth round in the FA Cup.
Based on form alone, Huddersfield will certainly bring the fight to United. The side were the first to break the Red Devils’ unbeaten streak in the league in October at home, though Jose is sure to have learned from this upset.
In the first of Friday night’s games, last year’s Premier League champions Chelsea host the recently relegated Hull City, who themselves are struggling following their fall from the top-flight.
The game will be overshadowed by the unfortunate news of Ryan Mason’s retirement from football. The former Spurs midfielder suffered a near-fatal head injury against Chelsea in early 2017 and has been out of action ever since.
Given that this will be Hull’s first game since the announcement, and they will be visiting the same ground in which the injury occurred, emotions will be running high at Stamford Bridge on Friday night.
Chelsea have won just three of their last five games in all competitions, beating Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United 3-0 to go through to the fifth round. While Hull overthrew giant-killers, Nottingham Forest, to make it to this stage.
However, Antonio Conte’s side has suffered losses at the hands of Bournemouth and Watford recently and even struggled to get past Norwich in the third round after being forced to a replay. Hull will be looking to pull off yet another upset.
Friday’s other match sees Claude Puel’s Leicester City host Sheffield United. The Foxes have failed to win a game in their last six in all competitions, even though they have risen to 8th in the Premier League ever since Puel’s appointment.
Despite losing to Manchester City 5-1 in their latest fixture, Leicester were on the better side of a 5-1 thrashing as they beat Peterborough away to make it to the fifth round.
The proposed move to Manchester City – or lack thereof – for Riyad Mahrez has again uneased the Algerian. He finally made his return to the match-day squad against Manchester City (Ironic, right?), making an appearance off the bench.
The two sides have already met this season, Leicester beat the Blades 4-1 in the Carabao Cup near the start of the campaign, and I imagine this game will follow a similar narrative.
In the first of the rest of Saturday’s games, the day’s other all-Premier League matchup sees bottom-of-the-table, West Brom, host fellow relegation contenders, Southampton.
The Baggies have lost their last three games in the top-flight following their 3-2 upset of Liverpool in the fourth round of the cup. Meanwhile, Southampton also lost their last game in the league against Liverpool.
The two teams met earlier on in the month, a game in which Southampton came out as victors at the Hawthorns. In terms of long-term form, however, Mauricio Pellegrino’s men have won just four games in all competitions since November.
It’ll be a tight game given where the two sides currently sit in the league table. Playing at home might well give the Baggies a much-needed boost that could inspire them to turn their season around, even if current form suggests that it’ll be the Saints who’ll come out on top.
Further up north, Carlos Carvalhal returns to Hillsborough for the first time since being sacked by the club on Christmas Eve. Wednesday fans were initially glad to see the back of Carvalhal, but the side have only won two games since, and currently sit at 15th in the Championship.
Despite sitting at rock-bottom for a large portion of the season, the Swans have managed to crawl out of the relegation battle into 16th – even if it is just one point keeping them from danger.
Carvalhal’s men are unbeaten in their last six games in all competitions, beating the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal, and Leicester in the process. The Swans also obliterated Notts County 8-1 in the fourth round of the cup, while the Owls toppled Championship high-flyers, Derby County, to make it through.
The Swansea boss will hope his men can do one over on the side who he believes wrongfully relieved him of his managerial duties, and given their recent form, there’s no reason why they can’t.
The last of Saturday’s games sees Brighton and Hove Albion host Coventry City. The Seagulls are unbeaten in their last four games in all competitions, while Coventry have lost their last three games in League 2.
Chris Hughton’s men overcame a tough fixture against Middlesbrough, making it to the fifth round thanks to a last-minute winner courtesy of Glenn Murray.
Brighton’s record signing, Jurgen Locadia, is poised to make his debut for the club following his arrival from PSV in January. The Dutch international has been out with a hamstring injury since moving to the Amex, and Hughton says the striker is fit, available, and likely to start.
On Sunday, Rochdale face Tottenham Hotspur. In their last game, Spurs fought back from a 2-0 deficit against Juventus to tie the game thanks to goals from Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men were held to a replay at Wembley in the fourth round by Newport County, following a valiant effort at Rodney Parade. Rochdale beat Millwall 1-0 but still sit at the bottom of League 1.
Spurs are heavy favourites to come out on top in this game, even with what is believed to be a heavily-rotated squad. In the final game of the weekend, Wigan Atheltic host Premier League runaway leaders, Manchester City.
The Latics upset David Moyes’ West Ham United in the fourth round, a game which featured a standout performance from former Manchester United player, Nick Powell.
Wigan have enjoyed a successful campaign so far in League 1, becoming heavy favourites to gain promotion to the Championship. However, despite a lengthy spell at the top of the table, Wigan have slipped down to second behind Shrewsbury and have suffered back-to-back losses at the hands of Southend and Blackpool.
Pep Guardiola’s men have made it to the fifth round thanks to a 2-0 in Cardiff, a game made famous by the notorious Joe Benett tackle that put Leroy Sane out of action for six-eight weeks.
City have become a behemoth of European football this season, punishing Basel 4-0 in the Champion’s League, and Leicester City 5-1 in their previous two games.
Wigan have quite the job on their hands, considering that it seems no one – apart from Liverpool – can topple City this year. But with the spirit of the FA Cup on their side, and their triumph over West Ham in the fourth round, I imagine Wigan won’t go down without a fight.