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Preview: Manchester United lacking desire, determination and ability to win as Tranmere Rovers trip nears in the FA Cup

Tranmere Rovers -v- Manchester United

Emirates FA Cup

Prenton Park, Birkenhead

Sunday 26 January 2020, KO 15:00 GMT

Referee: Lee Mason Assistants: Simon Bennett, Daniel Robathan Fourth Official: Darren Bond

Manchester United will face Tranmere Rovers in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup at Prenton Park on Sunday afternoon. The League One side beat Premier League club Watford in their third round replay on Thursday evening, winning 2-1 in extra time after their 3-3 draw at the start of the month, setting up the home clash with United, at what could be considered as a bad time for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.

United’s best chance of silverware this season is by winning the FA Cup although they are still in the Carabao Cup despite losing 3-1 at Old Trafford to holders Manchester City just over a fortnight ago. The second leg of the semi-final will be played at the Etihad on Wednesday with it seeming like United will be out of the cup with City defending their trophy at Wembley early in March.

United need to solve some problems within the club at this present time, the first would be the lack of quality in the squad which can be seen each time United plays a game of football. The same excuses are ever present; January is a tough month to sign players, we only want to sign players who fit in with the direction the club wants to travel, the lis really is endless. The other main problem is the hierarchy of the club not really showing that they want the club to achieve on the pitch, just financially.

Form: United dire in terms of form heading into the FA Cup fourth round. Tranmere have already knocked out Watford and will be looking to take advantage of United’s problematic predicament.

Manchester United: LLWWLD

Burnley 2-0 L, Liverpool 2-0 L, Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, Norwich City 4-0 W, Manchester City 3-1 L, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 D

Tranmere Rovers: WLDLDL

Watford 2-1 W, Ipswich Town 2-1 L, Southend United 0-0 D, Leicester City U21 2-1 L, Watford 3-3 D, Coventry City 4-1 L

Top Scorers: With Marcus Rashford out of the picture, a goal scorer needs to step up to carry the burden for the foreseeable future.

Manchester United Goals: 19 – Marcus Rashford, 11 – Anthony Martial, 9 – Mason Greenwood, 3 – Daniel James, Scott McTominay, 2 – Own Goal, Juan Mata, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United have been dire since the start of 2020. The started the new decade with a defeat away to Arsenal, then a 0-0 draw with Wolves, a 3-1 defeat to Manchester City, a 4-0 victory over Norwich City, a 1-0 over Wolves (FA Cup replay) then a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool and more recently a 2-0 defeat to Burnley. United just do not seem to have the desire, determination, hunger or ability to win as a collective team.

Tranmere Rovers Goals: 8 – Morgan Ferrier, 5 – Connor Jennings, Kieron Morris, Paul Mullin, 4 – Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, Stefan Payne, 3 – Oliver Banks, Corey Taylor, Emmanuel Monthe, 1 – Liam Ridehalgh

Tranmere are struggling in League One this season, sitting in 21st place in the league with just 22 points after 25 matches this season. The club has scored 28 goals in the league this season, conceding 45. It makes you wonder if they are exactly the type of team to play up against United and get a result, which would be good for them. However, United, after back-to-back defeats should be looking to strike back.

Team News: United have an experienced core of players on the sidelines with other lacking the ability to play for this once-great club. These players need to stand up and be counted.

United will be without an experienced core of players, including; Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rojo with the likes of Axel Tuanzebe also injured and Tim Fosu-Mensah lacking match fitness. Victor Lindelof was missing from the defeat to Burnley due to illness but he should be back in contention for this match. Eric Bailly was an unused substitute in that game and the pair could give Harry Maguire a rest.

Tranmere could still be without Ollie Banks, Mark Ellis and Evan Gumbs for the visit of United to Prenton Park on Sunday. However, Calum Woods, who came on in extra time in the 2-1 victory over Watford on Thursday could be a boost for the club. The 120-minute game on Thursday could be a problem for the fitness and recovery of the players as they ready themselves to face United to end a busy week.

Predicted Starting XI: Martial, James, Mata, and Greenwood to do the business to see United into the fifth round of the Emirates FA Cup?

Solskjaer has few rotation options in his squad, unless he brings youth through this weekend, which is not something he has done so far this season – the majority of the time anyway. The likes of James Garner, Largie Ramazani, Ethan Laird could all get stuck into matches like this. However, I think he will play it safe meaning more of the same inability to pull much out of the bag. I will wait an see what happens though.

Match Prediction: One match played against Tranmere in the history of both clubs, at least at first team level. This will be relatively new ground for Solskjaer and United.

United and Tranmere have played one matches in this history of both clubs with that match being played in 1976. United won that match 5-0 which was played in the second round of the League Cup at Old Trafford. Gerry Daly scored a brace with other goals coming from Stuart Pearson, Gordon Hill, and Lou Macari. United’s first team has not faced Tranmere since this match.

However, this season United’s U21s took part in the Leasing.com EFL Trophy and they faced Tranmere at the start of December, losing 3-2 with Tahith Chong scoring both of the goals for United. There are no other matches against Tranmere in the history of both clubs. Solskjaer will need to have done his research on the team as the club has little time to sort out tactics, not that they alone can win the match.

Tranmere Rovers 0-1 Manchester United

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