Ah, the FA Cup. League titles are well and good, and excellent for general assertions of primacy over the rest of the country, but when it comes right down to it, there's still something special about the cup. Knockout football is proper football, and United, traditionally, have been quite good at it, even at times when they've been pretty dodgy at everything else.
Not so much recently, though. United, though they've won the thing 11 times, last lifted the old trophy in 2003-04, and have reached two finals since, losing to Arsenal in 2004-05 (on penalties, after battering the cowardly Londoners all over the Wembley pitch for 120 minutes) and then to Chelsea in 2006-07 (1-0, in extra-time, after what was a pretty dreadful game). Very much time for another adventure, then.
Certainly, Louis van Gaal seems up for it, claiming that "In the Netherlands we have known for many years that the FA Cup is one of the most important competitions in football," and introduced the phrase "death or the gladioli" to the lexicon. Apparently it means "all or nothing". In search of that triumphant flower, he's picked a pretty strong team: David de Gea, Wayne Rooney and Radamel Falcao. On the youth front, James Wilson features up front, and Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair start at the back. Angel Di Maria is on the bench, along with Jesse Lingard, returning from injury, and some bloke called "Anderson". No, no idea.
Manchester United and Yeovil Town have met twice before, both times in this competition, though on both occasions United were the home team. On 8 January 1938, Yeovil made the trip up to Old Trafford, where they were on the end of a 3-0 home win. Then, in 1949, the Glovers pootled up to Manchester again, this time to Maine Road, where United were temporarily playing their home games after some unwelcome attention from Uwe Rösler's grandad. Not that United being displaced helped the visitors any; this time, they shipped eight.
While tBB isn't going to pretend to be super-knowledgeable about how they're doing this season, a quick glance at the League One table sees them dead bottom, with 20 points from 23 games, and just two wins in their last 15 games. Mind you, it's the Cup. Formbooks are futile things when there's magic in the air. And when Yeovil played MK Dons earlier in the season, they only lost 2-0 ...
Manchester United (3-5-2): David de Gea; Chris Smalling, Paddy McNair, Tyler Blackett; Rafael, Darren Fletcher, Ander Herrera, Wayne Rooney, Luke Shaw; James Wilson, Radamel Falcao
Subs: Anders Lindegaard, Jonny Evans, Anderson, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Adnan Januzaj, Angel Di Maria
Yeovil Town: Steer; N Smith, Nugent, Arthurworrey, Twumasi; Ralph, Edwards, Foley, Dawson; Gillett; Moore
Subs: Krysiak, Berrett, Hayter, Leitch-Smith, Inniss, Eaves, Smith