So, the Red Devils can beat the best in the Premiership (well almost) and yet a mid-table, league two side can hold them to a goalless draw? What’s all that about? With Bradford pulling off perhaps the biggest cup upset in recent years with a dramatic come back to beat Chelsea 4 -2, fans of the Red Devils will hope to avoid embarrassment at the hands of Cambridge United.
Jose Mourinho famously claimed it would be a ‘disgrace’ if his highly paid, world beaters were beaten by the lower league side. Well that comment certainly came back to haunt him but Mourinho had the good grace to personally visit all the Bradford players after the match to shake them all by the hand and congratulate them.
With the replay to be played out at Old Trafford it will be a big (and grateful) payday for Cambridge United, especially after their recent financial turmoil. On the other hand, what can the match offer Manchester United? Obviously a win put them into the next round with the chance to go on and lift the trophy, especially with so many big names out of the competition. However, should they win by just the one goal then critics will say they were expected to win and made hard work of it. However if they lose the game by any margin then it will certainly pour scorn on the United revival. So, nothing less than a 4 nil trouncing at Old Trafford can be acceptable.
The FA Cup often brings up these unique encounters and they form part of the cups charm. However, one question that is never answered is how can a team full of international players (who are in the top five of what is often regarded as the best league in the world) not beat a team struggling three leagues beneath them?
The answer is never simple. People often say that they players pull out all the stops when facing a big name team in the FA cup but surely when facing a relegation battle in footballs basement division you should be pulling out all the stops? Then, you have the highly paid stars of the Premier League, why can they not score past players who are paid ten percent of what they earn?
These are questions that never get answered, especially if the big teams win. However, with so many of the so called big teams already out of the FA Cup this season what does this do for the competition? If United beat Cambridge, is the cup as good as won? Either way, with the lack of big names in the draw the FA Cup final may lack some pizazz of previous finals. Giant killing has its place in the competition but in all reality the neutral fans want to see a final contested by the big guns.