Manchester United face Southampton in the 4th round of the FA Cup on Saturday in game where they are expected to comfortably progress to the next round. United are sitting proudly on top of the Premiership and are widely regarded as hot favourites to end up as this seasons champions. The Saints on the other hand are fighting to stay in the race for promotion from league Division One to the Championship.
Sir Alex Ferguson will almost certainly field a team with a few fringe players but one regarded as sufficient to beat their lower graded opponents. Edwin van der Sar has been given the weekend off while Patrice Evra has a family bereavement. Rafael suffered concussion at Blackpool and will not be travelling. Michael Carrick who has been struggling with an ankle injury is expected to be available providing he comes through training on Friday.
“Michael will train today and hopefully he will be okay to travel” Ferguson told reporters at his pre match press conference. “We picked up one or two bruises at Blackpool the other night – it was quite a physical game, but we’ll still take a strong squad because it won’t be an easy match, away games in cup ties never are.”
“I went to see Southampton play Oldham earlier this month and they won 6-0” he said “they’re having a good season. They play good football and I’m sure they’ll have a go.” Sir Alex has a decision to make on who takes over in goal with new signing Anders Lindegaard and Tomasz Kuszczak both vying for a starting spot. It’s a possible debut for Anders” Ferguson confirmed “he and Tomasz will both travel”
The Saints will relish the opportunity to face such exalted opponents as a way to check how they stand in the present scheme of things. As may be expected, United have a good record over the Saints. St Marys will be packed and with a full house the game, which will also be televised, could prove to be very entertaining. Although Southampton can not realistically be expected to eliminate United, you can expect to see the team play above themselves as they try to show that they can be worthy opponents.
Do you expect any surprises at St Marys?