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United Ready for David v Goliath Clash

Non-league Crawley go to Old Trafford

Manchester United will go into their fifth round FA Cup tie this weekend looking to avoid the upset of all upsets as they take on Crawley Town at Old Trafford.

Everyone at United will be on a high following an impressive win over Manchester City in the Manchester derby. Sir Alex Ferguson will also be pleased this match has come about because it will mean a chance to rest vital personnel ahead of the Champions League first knock out stage.

There should still be a good healthy dose of experience running throughout the United team. Chris Smalling will continue to play at the heart of the United defence and John O’Shea is likely to come into the team somewhere along the back four. Fabio Da Silva should play at left back giving Patrice Evra a rest.

In the midfield Ferguson is spoilt for choice in terms of the players he can bring in. Darron Gibson is odds on to start in the middle of the United side but the decision is whether to include a youngster or someone with more experience. Park Ji-Sung has been out of the team in recent weeks and will take no part in the game as he’s suffered a fresh hamstring injury that will keep him out for a month.

Up front the manager is again spoilt for choice but this is a game where Javier Hernandez will be chomping at the bit to play. It doesn’t seem to matter to Hernandez whether he’s playing in the middle of a public park or in the middle of a 70,000 capacity stadium. His attitude will always be that of a small man running around with child like enthusiasm.

In terms of formation there is no reason for Ferguson to break from his tried and tested 4-4-2 method. Crawley are not likely to pose that many problems in the midfield areas of the pitch. The only reason Ferguson would switch to a 4-5-1 is because Crawley are bound to play this formation. This would mean having an extra man in the midfield to over run the non-league side.

This sort of game, where there is a huge difference between the sides, is a great chance for a manager to mix things up and try new things out. There will be a number of players in the United reserve and youth teams who will play some part in this game.

In terms of long-term injuries the manager doesn’t have any new concerns. Park Ji-Sung has been suffering with a slight hamstring knock and won’t play. Owen Hargreaves is unlikely to play any part in the game as his knee and hamstring problems mean he cannot compete for 90 minutes. Antonio Valencia continues his recovery from a badly broken ankle but this match comes too soon for the Ecuadorian.

United are a best price of 1/14 to win, Crawley are 29/1 and the draw is 11/1.

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