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  1. Work-rate. Incisiveness. Nous. I don't ask for much. This is how it's gonna be. Build from the ground up. Yet another FA Cup tie at their place. This one's live on ITV. It feels as though we come up against this lot every few years, and always in the earlier rounds of the cup. In recent years, they've forever been turning a corner only to get a custard pie in the face, while spending substantial amounts of money in order to do so. The Glazers have spent a stack on transfers and wages, only to be met with scorn by the fans who demand the club spend as though owned by a sovereign wealth fund. The fans also bring out the Norwich scarves whenever the team's form is in the shitter. Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS have successfully acquired 25% of the club's shares, and he's been talking about building a new stadium. Their fans seem to constantly mention that Old Trafford is below par and hasn't been maintained properly by their 'spendthrift' American owners (what would they make of FSG's frugality?), and yet bang on about it being the 'Theatre of Dreams'. The last meeting between the sides was in the fifth round back in 2021. No fans were allowed in stadiums back then, so tarp-covered seats became a familiar backdrop. Our big problem in that game was a lack of pace in the centre of defence, where we lined up Rhys alongside Fab, yet still tried to play a high line. The Mancs looked to break at pace on the counter rather than dominate possession (nothing new there then!). It was us that took the lead when Mo was found with a lovely through-ball and raced through to dink the ball over Dean Henderson. Excellent goal that. One of those pacey counters caught us out though, when Robbo couldn't reach a long cross-field ball from Rashford, allowing Greenwood to get in and fire past Ali. United took the lead when Rhys made a mess of controlling an attempted through-ball to Rashford, allowing the England man to run clear and place a low effort into the far corner. This game was during that early 2021 period where results had taken a nosedive and we had no defenders. Despite that, we still retained a shred of what made us convincing title winners the previous year. Mo levelled, firing through Henderson's legs after another bit of nice interplay involving Bobby. We conceded a free kick on the edge of the box (probably minimal contact and maximum exaggeration), and that play-acting shithouse Fernandes fired the free-kick directly into the net. They might have got another late on but Cavani's header hit the post. And that was that. Another year, another early FA Cup exit. The Mancs have been as inconsistent as ever recently, picking up some results here and there, but dropping points elsewhere. They are a team that can only play on the counter-attack, and are reliant on officials turning a blind eye to their frequent diving, late challenges that never go unpunished, and VAR reviews by dickheads like Coote and England. We've got the capacity to both counter-attack to devastating effect, as well as make things happen by pinning teams back. I would like us to demonstrate these to the fore on Sunday. We've seen some of our established first teamers return this week, and the youngsters have been exceptional this season. Nothing less that maximum motivation, concentration, attitude and application from first minute to last. A place at Wembley for the semi final beckons. Take our chances. Get it done!
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