Man United vs Crawley: Preview, Preferred Team & Predicted Score
The magic of the FA Cup has handed Manchester United an attention-grabbing Fifth Round fixture with Crawley Town, a non-league football club, at Old Trafford. The match between United and Crawley Town is really what the FA Cup is all about, and it brings a new meaning to the “David vs. Goliath” battle, but, hopefully, for United’s sake they are not left red in the face by the semi-professional league team.
As it stands at the moment, there are no fewer than 93 league places between United, which is on top of the Barclays Premier League standings, and Crawley Town, which is currently sitting in second place in the Blue Square Bet Premier table, so it should be a complete mismatch – should be.
Even though there are very contrasting difference between these two clubs, nothing should ever be taken for granted, because United has been close to being dumped out of the FA Cup by lesser equipped teams.
The last time that United suffered a shock defeat was to AFC Bournemouth in the Six Round of the 1984 FA Cup, but the Reds could have very easily exited this season’s competition at the last stage if it was not for a late second half comeback against Southampton.
At St. Mary’s Stadium, Richard Chaplow gave the Saints a fully-deserved 1-0 lead on the stroke of halftime, but two very well-taken predatory goals from Michael Owen and Javier Hernandez after the intveral sealed a 2-1 victory for United over the League One side. In a very bizarre match, Crawley eventually edged through their Fourth Round fixture with Torquay United with a 1-0 victory at Westlands Lane.
Matt Tubbs scored the lone goal of the match with a terrific finish, however, the main talking points of the match were the two missed penalties by Crawley, and a sending off for both teams. Nonetheless, Crawley became the first non-league team in 17 years to qualify for the Fifth Round, which their manager, Steve Evans, wanted to play only one team – Manchester United.
Full credit needs to be given to the Crawley chairman, Victor Marley, for having the decency to re-shoot their video montage for the match that was on their website after some thug, who called himself a fan of their, was seen disgracing the Munich Air Disaster tragedy, but he was rewarded with a lifetime ban.
The outspoken, but yet respectful manager said that he would play the same wide-open, attacking style of football they have played all season long. To give United supporters some indication of how much smaller Crawley is than United, their ground, Broadfield Stadium, has seating for 1,150 fans – less than 2% of Old Trafford’s maximum capacity.
Virtually the entire city of Crawley will be at the match as Old Trafford could house nearly three-fourths of their 99,744 population, but only a portion of them will be fortunate enough to see this battle live in the stadium. Football is showing that even at the lower levels the spending on players is getting a bit out of hand as Crawley spent an unheard of £500K this past summer.
A portion of that budget was spent on acquiring Sergio Torres from Peterborough United, and the Argentine netted the late winner in Crawley Town’s 2-1 victory over Derby County.
Tubbs is Crawley Town’s leading goal scorer with 28 goals in 29 starts overall – including three goals in five FA Cup matches this season, and his strike partner, Craig McAllister, has a decent goal scoring ratio with 13 goals from 21 starts, so the United back-four will have to be weary of these forwards.
Although Evans has admitted that he will play attacking style football, there are a couple of bruisers, Pablo Mills and Dean Howell, and those defensive-minded players will challenge United’s resolve and desire to win this match.
Sir Alex Ferguson will more than likely use this as a game to rest some of his first-choice players with four consecutive away matches coming up, but it will also give some the fringe players a chance to prove their worth as well.
Barring any injury, the first name on the United team will be Chicharito, not because has featured in both of United’s FA Cup matches, but he has only featured for 25 minutes in the Reds’ last two matches. However, it has been reported that Hernandez’s potential strike partner has succumbed to another long-term injury after Owen’s groin was said to have gone in shooting practice.
It will be interesting to see which back-four Sir Alex chooses, because a very appetizing UEFA Champions League affair awaits on Wednesday, so Nemanja Vidic will most likely be rested. For 90 minutes on Saturday, Manchester United will be surely tested by a very anxious Crawley Town, but in the end, the Reds’ class should shine through and be through to the Sixth Round.
Out: A. Valencia (leg), O. Hargreaves (hamstring), R. Ferdinand (calf), J. S. Park (hamstring), M. Owen (groin); Doubtful: J. Evans (leg)
A. Lindegaard; Rafael, C. Smalling, W. Brown, Fabio; G. Obertan, D. Gibson, P. Scholes, Bébé; J. Hernandez, D. Berbatov
Manchester United 3 Crawley Town 1
Submitted by The United Relgion
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