Manchester United and Middlesbrough latest team news for the FA Cup fourth round clash
The club’s official website has dished out the latest team news for Manchester United and Middlesbrough ahead of their FA Cup fourth round fixture tonight. This match would be a great opportunity for the hosts to regain the momentum they built before the most recent international break.
Paul Pogba will make his return after recovering from a long-standing injury and could even make it into the starting lineup. Both Edinson Cavani and Jesse Lingard have been given some time off, whereas Victor Lindelof is out with an illness. Eric Bailly has returned from the Africa Cup of Nations duty, although he will sit on the stands with a swollen ankle.
Boro have their own concerns with Sammy Ameobi, Darnell Fisher and Marc Bola not making it into the matchday squad. Riley McGree is still in recovery after contracting Covid-19, but former Man United star Paddy McNair will be available for selection. Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun is also touted to feature in the game later today.
Start with a win!
The Red Devils must ensure that they get this tie in the bag by winning today itself. We cannot allow the game to go to a replay as it would only hamper us in the future. We do not want to add to the congested fixture list, and we need to seal qualification to the next round on the first try.
The unavailability of Lindelof and Bailly could cause some concerns as it reduces our centre-back options to just three players. However, Phil Jones has shown that he can deputise when needed, which would alleviate some of our defensive headaches. Cavani was involved with Uruguay in the 2022 Qatar World Cup Qualifiers, so it makes sense why he has been given some time off.
It will be interesting to see how Pogba fares after being on the sidelines for a long time. It remains to be seen if he would start or not, although it would not be surprising to see him play 90 minutes given that he needs match sharpness before the PL and UEFA Champions League fixtures start flowing in one after the other this month.
Lingard’s situation is seemingly a repeat of what previously happened with Anthony Martial. The Englishman has himself revealed that he has been asked by the club to take some time off following a January transfer window that saw him remain a Man United player at least until the end of this season.
We are the obvious favourites for this match today, but we cannot afford to take the Championship side lightly. The FA Cup is well-known for its upsets, and there has already been one this season, with Arsenal losing 1-0 to Nottingham Forest. The team should not take the foot off the gas unless the clash is put to bed.
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And despite our absentees, we should look to field a strong team out there today. We have been knocked out of the EFL Cup and the UCL is always one of the toughest competitions to win. The PL title race is clearly in Manchester City’s favour, with Liverpool still having an outside chance to close the gap and seal just their 2nd-ever Premier League title.
Amidst this, there isn’t a lot of silverware up for grabs for us, and we cannot pick and choose what we would want to win. The FA Cup represents arguably our most realistic chance of a trophy this campaign.