FA Cup: Manchester United vs Middlesbrough Preview

United push for silverware against Middlesbrough

Manchester United take on Middlesbrough in the FA Cup 4th Round. This match comes straight after the winter break, which caused more chaos than solved problems. A trio of loans out of the club have removed a lot of excess space but the failure to get Lingard a move away and no players in as replacements have left United with very few options in forward areas. Not to mention a certain someone who has been suspended in disgrace pending a police investigation.

This means that with rotation, the players still at the club will get a lot of game time and a chance to show their class regularly. The likes of Rashford, Elanga and Sancho will be crucial for United’s success this season. As will the returning Paul Pogba. This may give Rangnick a lot to think about formation wise for the rest of the season. But for now, all the focus has to be on this match and how to progress to the fifth round. Here’s all you need to know:

Manchester United vs Middlesbrough Match Info

Teams: Manchester United and Middlesbrough
Date: Friday 4th February 2022
KO Time: 20:00 GMT
Stadium: Old Trafford
Managers: Ralf Rangnick and Chris Wilder
Referee: Anthony Taylor

Team News:

Manchester United

Paul Pogba is set to make his first appearance since November. Rangnick confirmed that the French international will be part of the team along with Hannibal Mejbri who is likely to make the bench. Lindelof has been ill all week and is unlikely to feature along with Eric Bailly who has an ankle problem. Telles, Fred and Cavani will not play after their international obligations. Shaw is set to start along after recovering from injury. Sancho and Wan-Bissaka are also available for selection.


Middlesbrough are without just one player, Riley McGree after he tested positive for COVID-19. Boro can rely on the attacking threats of Aaron Connolly and Folarin Balogun having arrived on loan from Brighton and Arsenal.

Interesting Facts:

  • Chris Wilder won on his last trip to Old Trafford with a controversial 2-1 win with Sheffield United. His teams have scored seven goals in their last four games against the Red Devils.
  • The last time Manchester United faced Middlesbrough, United came from 1-0 down in the 70th minute to win 2-1 with goals from Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba winning the day.
  • Manchester United have not lost an FA Cup tie at Old Trafford since a 1-2 defeat to Arsenal in 2015 under Louis van Gaal.

Predicted XI:

I think Rangnick goes strong to show business. Henderson should play and aim to force his way into the team. Jones could play this match along with Wan-Bissaka, Shaw and Maguire. Matic could feature in a 4-3-3 with Pogba and Bruno either side of the Serbian. Elanga may have a role on the left with Sancho on the right and Ronaldo up top.

Predicted Team (4-3-3): Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Jones, Maguire, Shaw, Matic, Pogba, Fernandes; Sancho, Elanga, Ronaldo

Predicted Score:

With everything going on, United will want to put on a show and try and shine brighter than the darkness surrounding this club within and outside the club. Of course, no Chris Wilder team is easy to break down but United have all the tools to do it. I would expect a big win and a lot of players to show their quality. A good performance and a big scoreline would be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Predicted Score: United to win 4-0

Author: Arjun Handa

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