Half of north London down, half to go. After last week’s largely encouraging, slightly fortunate win over Tottenham, today Manchester United take on Arsenal for the right to progress to the next round of the FA Cup.
Fair to say that Arsenal are having an interesting season. Victories over Spurs and Chelsea have suggested that Unai Emery is getting some things right, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been rattling them in. If shreddings at the feet of Liverpool and City are perhaps forgivable, then narrow losses to Southampton and West Ham much harder to explain away.
The defence is a particular concern, not helped by injuries. Four clean sheets in 23 league games is ... well, it’s exactly the same number as United. And United ended up sacking their manager.
In a way it’s a shame that the draw has thrown these teams together this early. We’re still at the stage of the FA Cup where elimination secretly rather suits the big teams, what with the race for fourth and Europe and all the rest of it. With Wembley still distant, we’re likely to see a fair few changes on both sides. But hey — that only makes goals more likely. Hooray for goals.
On the United side of things, it looks like David de Gea may have been left out altogether, as Sergio Romero continues his cup run. Alexis Sanchez will be involved in some capacity, as Solskjaer attempts to harness the curse of the ex. TBB is hoping we get to see more of Diogo Dalot, because he seems fun. Hooray for fun.
FA Cup schedule
We kick off at 19:55 in the UK — no idea why — which means 14:55 over on the right-hand of the USA, and 11:55 over on the left. Good morning to you all.
FA Cup TV channel
BBC One in the UK, for this game is a national treasure and must be treated as such. Over in the USA, apparently you’ll need either Sirius XMFC or ESPN+. Your correspondent does not know what either of those things are. Everybody else, have a nose at livesoccertv.
FA Cup streaming
BBC’s iPlayer in the UK. It looks like the rest of you might have to improvise.
Right then. Let’s get predictive: Sergio Romero; Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof, Luke Shaw; Nemanja Matic, Fred, Paul Pogba; Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial.
Update: as predicted, except Ashley Young, Ander Herrera and Jesse Lingard start; no Dalot, Fred, or Martial.
Here's your #MUFC starting XI for tonight's #EmiratesFACup clash...— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 25, 2019
Proper lineup to come once we know what it is. This will also be our live thread for the game, so do join us in the comments below.