Manchester United have everything to lose tonight when they take on League One side Shrewsbury Town in FA Cup fifth round tie. Louis Van Gaal’s men have lost two consecutive games (vs Sunderland & Mydtjylland) and are very low on confidence at the moment.
Things have not been easy for Van Gaal in last few weeks. Jose Mourinho’s name is mentioned in almost every single press conference he attends; add to that the injury woes do not seem to stop. At present, he has 14 players out injured and is having a hard time picking an average starting XI.
Shrewsbury vs Manchester United Preview
Having said that, there will be no excuse for him or Man United, if United mess up the game against Shrewsbury. League One side are just 4 points clear of the bottom three and are not a match for United when it comes to squad strength or abilities out on the pitch.
Having said that, I am certain of one fact that Man United will walk in to tonight’s game as the underdogs. The environment inside the dressing room is almost toxic at the moment, and frankly no one has a clue of what is going on at the club.
Shrewsbury vs Manchester United Starting XI
Shrewsbury starting XI – Leutwiler, Grandinson, Whitbread, Knight-Percival, Grimmer, Whalley, Ogogo, Black, Brown, Mangan, Akpa-Akpro
Manchester United starting XI – Romero, Love, Smalling, Blind, Borthwick-Jackson, Schneiderlin, Carrick, Mata, Lingard, Martial, Fellaini
Shrewsbury vs Manchester United Tactical setup
What I have been told about the League One side by my team is that, they like to operate with a 3-man defense and rely on scoring goals from set pieces. Their target man Akpa-Akpro is quite a handful for central defenders.
Akpro’s ball-control isn’t the best, but when it comes to running down the channels and finishing off the chances, he is quite capable of doing that.
As for Manchester United, Louis Van Gaal would settle for a win and not bother too much about philosophies or tactics. The manager has confirmed that Marouane Fellaini is his best bet to start as the striker, that means Anthony Martial will start the game in left wing role.
Memphis Depay and Ander Herrera will pay the price for their appalling display against Midtjylland as the duo will start tonight’s FA Cup game from the bench.
Shrewsbury vs Manchester United Key Battle
Anthony Martial vs Shrewsbury’s Defense
The only Manchester United player, who has caused trouble for his opponents has been Anthony Martial. The Frenchman has scored 10 goals this season and will once again be relied upon when United take on Shrewsbury.
Martial will start the game from left hand side, where he has looked the most dangerous. In the last round of FA Cup against Derby, Martial was United’s best player when he destroyed Derby’s defense. He will be expected to put on a similar performance tonight.
As for Shrewsbury, if they can contain the deadly attacker, they can then look to build on that and hope to hit United on the break or with a set piece.
Shrewsbury vs Manchester United Prediction
I have always looked to put my neck on the line and make bold predictions. For tonight’s clash, I expect United to continue playing their clueless football and get hit by a team more hungry and determine to do well. I expect Shrewsbury to take this tie to a replay. Predicted scoreline – Shrewsbury 1 Manchester United 1.
Image credit: Dliga