The Premier League takes best stage this weekend as the FA Cup takes centre stage. As a reward for beating Liverpool in round three, Manchester United will take on League One side, Southampton in round four. The tie does, off course, bring back memories of the Wembley defeat to then, thirty-odd years ago, when Bobby Stokes put his name in the history books as a Wembley winner. Hopefully, things will turn out better this time around.
Ahead of our clash with Southampton, Sir Alex Ferguson has commented on the production line Southampton have that seems to produce some remarkable young talent, the latest of which is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, remarking,
“Alex Chamberlain is only young but he has potential.”
“Southampton have done very well bringing young players through over the years.”
“He is another one along with Gareth Bale and Theo Walcott. Before that they had the Wallace brothers and Alan Shearer.”
“They have been good at that. They have done a lot right.”
Should we poach their scouting staff?
Southampton Team News:
Nigel Adkins will be relishing the chance to take on Manchester United, especially with home advantage.
Unfortunately he`ll have to give two players fitness tests, Dean Hammond and Adam Lallana, to see if they can both shake off injuries.
He`ll also have to make do without Danny N`Guessan, who doesn`t have permission from his parent club, Leicester City, to play.
Player to watch: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
The subject of much media attention in recent weeks, it`s time to see for ourselves what this talented teenager can offer against one of the big boys.
United Team News:
Sir Alex Ferguson takes his quad the south-coast without several of his key first team squad. Rafael and Ferdinand join Hargreaves and Valencia on the injury list. We`ve also heard that Evra and Van der Sar may not be travelling as well. Carrick has been declared fit and there is the suggestion that Anders Lindegaard could make his debut in the starting eleven.
Player to watch: Anders Lindegaard
Rumoured to be in the starting eleven it`ll be interesting too see how our new Danish keeper performs behind a defence that may not be our preferred back four.
Match Facts & Stats
Since that horrible day when Bobby Stokes scored the goal that beat us in the 1976 Wembley FA Cup Final, we`ve played Southampton several times. In the last three times in FA Cup matches we`ve won, scoring nine without reply. The last time these two sides met in this competition was two years ago when United won 3-0.
Southampton though will, as well as 1976; look back to 1992 when they knocked United out on penalties after ties at Southampton and then Old Trafford had both ended all-square.
The man in the middle for this rip-roaring FA Cup tie will be Martin Atkinson.
We`ve only suffered one defeat all season, away to West Ham United in the Carling Cup. Do I believe Southampton can inflict a second? In a word NO!
Sir Alex may field a side that isn`t as strong as our normal starting eleven but we`ll still be too good for Southampton. 3-0 to United.
It`s a resumption of our challenge for the Premier League title next when we entertain Aston Villa in midweek.