Manchester United travel to face Norwich City on Saturday aiming to book their place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup. The Red Devils are chasing a 13th success in the competition – a tally that would equal the record set by Arsenal in 2017.
United are rated as 1/2 favourites at Ladbrokes to win at Carrow Road and it would certainly be a big surprise if they failed to progress to the last four. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side head into the game in a buoyant mood having racked up a 13-game unbeaten run in all competitions.
By contrast, Norwich haven’t won a match since beating Tottenham Hotspur on penalties in their fifth-round tie back in March.
While United are focused on qualifying for the Champions League, they are still expected to field a strong team at Norwich. Paul Pogba could well be included in the starting XI as he looks to get back up to speed following a long spell on the sidelines. Solksjaer will probably shuffle his pack in defence, with Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly and Brandon Williams all in line to play. Odion Ighalo is expected to start up front, with Marcus Rashford the most likely candidate to step down to the bench.
Teemu Pukki, Todd Cantwell and Emiliano Buendiamay all return for Norwich after being on the bench in the defeat against Everton. However, Grant Hanley, Christoph Zimmermann and Sam Byram are ruled out for the rest of the season to leave the home side short of defensive options.
United have historically had the upper hand over Norwich, losing just three of their last 23 meetings with the Canaries in all competitions. They triumphed comfortably in both Premier League games this term, winning 3-1 on the road and 4-0 at Old Trafford.
With no fans to back them this is a tough test for Norwich and United are fully expected to see off their challenge on Saturday.
While finishing in the top four is probably their priority, winning silverware is also hugely important to United.
Ending the campaign by clinching both the FA Cup and Europa League would be a great way to finish Solskjaer’s first season in charge.
Things haven’t always run smoothly for the Norwegian since he replaced Jose Mourinho as manager, but he now appears to have the team heading in the right direction.
The Red Devils were ruthless against Sheffield United in the league on Wednesday and a similar display at Carrow Road would see them progress with ease in the cup.
Prediction: United can be backed at odds of 7/5 to win to nil on Saturday and that looks to be a very solid wager.