FA cup

Rams to spring a surprise

Derby County will play host to Manchester United as the FA Cup looks round off the fifth round this week. The two sides come into the match on the back of mixed results. Manchester United was saved from defeat by the VAR in what would have been the first loss in eight matches. Derby, on the other hand, claimed the first win in five beating Sheffield Wednesday 3-1.

Whatever their form prior to this encounter there will not be a Derby-player not highly motivated. Manchester United is a tougher opponent, but this is a knockout competition and goal scoring has not been a problem for the Rams. One person who will be key is Wayne Rooney. Former Manchester United forward, who has been influential since joining from the States.

Many goals from the Rams

Derby has scored in nine matches on the bounce. Six times they scored more than once. They certainly won’t be lacking in support at a sold-out Pride Park. They have not lost at home in seven matches. In their last 17 at home, they suffered just one defeat. They have already eliminated one Premier League side this season in the shape of Crystal Palace. Manchester United is yet to concede a goal in this year’s competition keeping Wolverhampton at bay twice before hammering Tranmere 6-0.

New signing Bruno Fernandes has already made his mark with the Portuguese midfielder once again instrumental against Everton. Will he get another call into the line-up though, or will Solskjaer opt to keep him fresh for the league? After all, there is a huge derby against Manchester City coming up in just three days’ time. The last time these two sides faced off was in the League Cup in 2018, with Derby triumphing on penalties after a 2-2 draw. In the previous four meetings, with three being FA Cup ties, Manchester United had claimed straight wins.

Manchester United head to this game as favourites but they will have to be very cautious against a Derby side. As mentioned, they have a tie against Manchester City coming on Sunday. Then they will face Austrian side LASK in the Europa League. Considering their heavy schedule, Solskjaer could opt to shuffle the pack enough for Derby to take advantage. Take a chance on the both to score or go with a big surprise, the home win.

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