Manchester United will be looking to book their spot in the fourth round of the FA Cup when they welcome fellow Premier League side Aston Villa to Old Trafford on Monday night.
The Red Devils are 12-time winners of the FA Cup, with their most recent success coming back in 2016, while Villa have lifted the trophy on seven occasions, the last of which was in 1957.
Ralf Rangnick made an impressive start to his tenure as Man United interim head coach, going unbeaten across five matches, but the German suffered his first defeat at the helm on Monday, as Wolverhampton Wanderers recorded a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford in the Premier League to leave the hosts seventh in the table.
There has since been talk of unrest in the dressing room, and it will be fascinating to see what type of response there is from the 20-time English champions in the FA Cup on Monday night.
This competition is currently third on the team’s list of priorities this season, but it arguably represents their best chance to win the trophy, with the Premier League title unreachable, while the strength of the teams left in the Champions League will make it tough for an inconsistent Man United to challenge.
As mentioned, the Red Devils have won the FA Cup on 12 occasions, with their last success coming back in 2016, overcoming Crystal Palace in the final, while they lost in the quarter-finals to Leicester City last season and Chelsea in the semi-finals of the 2019-20 campaign.
Man United are actually preparing for a double-header against Villa, as the two sides will also meet in the Premier League on January 15, while a busy period will also see Rangnick’s side face Brentford and West Ham United in the league on January 19 and January 22 respectively.
Villa, meanwhile, will enter Monday’s contest off the back of successive Premier League defeats to Chelsea and Brentford, which has left them 13th in the division on 22 points.
The visitors, as mentioned, have won the FA Cup on seven previous occasions, making them the joint-fourth most successful team in the history of the competition alongside Liverpool.
Villa have not lifted the trophy since 1957, when they beat Man United in the final, but head coach Steven Gerrard will certainly have his side fired-up to triumph at Old Trafford on Monday evening.
The seven-time English champions have also shown their intent by securing the signing of Philippe Coutinho on loan from Barcelona, but the Brazil international is not expected to be involved in Monday’s match, with his debut potentially coming in the league fixture between the two teams next Saturday.
Villa have already beaten Man United at Old Trafford this season, running out 1-0 winners in the Premier League back in September, but the Red Devils have an impressive recent record against their opponents on Monday, winning 14 of their last 19 meetings in all competitions.
Manchester United form (all competitions):
Aston Villa form (all competitions):
We say: Manchester United 2-1 Aston Villa
This is a very difficult game to call, and Villa will fancy their chances of winning at Old Trafford, with the hosts having their problems in recent matches. Man United’s defeat to Wolves could actually work against Villa, though, and we are backing the Red Devils to advance to round four with a narrow success.