Manchester United have only lost one (44W7D) of their last 52 meetings against non-top flight sides in the FA Cup competition. That was against Leeds United, and it was close to a decade ago. So on one hand, you got to like their chances Sunday at Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup 4th round.
On the other hand, they just lost, and lost very badly to Burnley at home, in a Premier League fixture for the first time since 1962. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, aware of all the fans that continue to leave Old Trafford early as the losses and bad performances mount up, gave a “colorful” analogy about the current state of the club.
Not sure if these comments will actually do anything to try and stave off all the criticism from fans and pundits right now.
“I think our fans know what we have started on. I’ve been trusted to do that job and that rebuild doesn’t go one way all the time. We’re doing great, I’ve said it so many times,” OGS said at his Friday news conference.
“The foundation has to be laid and the culture properly set and laid down and this group is a good core of players that believe in what we’re doing to carry us forward, with signings and players coming back. You need to knock the house down, you don’t just start with the roof. We’ve had some rainy days and wish that roof was on but we can’t hide.”
Poor Solskjaer. There’s only so much he can do with a hammer and a nail, as he’s being hamstrung by contractors and subcontractors who don’t really know what they’re doing.
Manchester United Starting XI Prediction vs Tranmere Rovers (FA Cup 4th Round)
Lingard Mata Gomes
Williams Bailly Lindelof Dalot
Manchester United at Tranmere Rovers FYIs FA Cup 4th Round
Kickoff: January 26th 3pm, Prenton Park
Match Preview/United transfer update: go to this link
Key stat/fact: the only previous meeting between the two sides occurred in the second round of the 1976-77 League Cup. United won 5-0 at Old Trafford.
Prediction: United 2, Tranmere Rovers 0
What makes the state of United’s misery all the more frustrating is that this season is always, to quote Paula Abdul “two steps forward, I take two steps back.” It’s not a linear regression, which would, at least in theory, lead to a house cleaning. Instead it’s a roller coaster, which gives the hierarchy a perceived justification for staying in place.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.