12th Man – Up for the Cup

Will Grigg Wigan Athletic

Can Will Grigg get on the score sheet at Old Trafford?

Latics face the daunting task of trying to eliminate the current FA Cup holders Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

United are in resurgent form in the Premier League under Jose Mourinho, have qualified for the League Cup final and are expected to progress in the Europa League.

They have a team stacked with superstars and have not lost at Old Trafford since the 2-1 defeat by Manchester City on the 10th September 2016.

Most people will be predicting a comfortable win for United against a team who are near the bottom of the Championship table.

But United are not invincible and this season Stoke City, Burnley, Arsenal, West Ham and Liverpool have held them at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils struggled against Sheffield United last season in the FA Cup and only a last-minute Wayne Rooney penalty saved their blushes.

It will be the first time Latics and United have met in the FA Cup but United’s local rivals Manchester City know all about Latics’ proud recent history in the competition.

Latics, of course, achieved a remarkable double over City winning the trophy in 2013 and defeating them at the Etihad Stadium in the quarter-final in 2014.

Latics do have insider information on United as Warren Joyce was in charge of United’s reserves for eight years between 2008 and 2016 before becoming manager at the DW Stadium.

Joyce oversaw the development of top players such as Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard and the insights he can provide about United’s players could be invaluable as they seek to create an upset.

Latics are now in a good vein of form and will be relishing the prospect of competing against some of the top players in the country in front of 70,000 supporters.

If United underestimate Latics and are in any way complacent then there are players who can cause a surprise at Old Trafford.

Yanic Wildschut is a product of the famous Ajax Academy and is very capable of producing some special magic on the day.

Will Grigg grabbed a brace for MK Dons when United were knocked out of the League Cup in 2014 and I’m sure Latics’ leading goal scorer would love to hear a chorus of ‘Will Grigg’s on Fire’ ring out around Old Trafford.

Egyptian international Sam Morsy has been rejuvenated since returning from Barnsley and the combative midfielder will want to make a big impression against some of the highest paid players in the world.

United may be favourites to go through to the 5th Round but Latics have pulled off some miraculous FA Cup results in recent times and they might just do it again.

This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on Friday 27th January 2017.

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About ianhaspinall

Communications specialist, Wigan Athletic fan & blogger, interested in music, arts & culture.
This entry was posted in FA Cup, Manchester United, Sam Morsy, Warren Joyce, Wigan Athletic, Will Grigg, Yanic Wildschut and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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