In years gone by, Manchester United haven’t exactly taken the FA Cup seriously – but that may change this season. The Red Devils defeated Crystal Palace in last year’s final to secure a 12thvictory in the competition and new United boss Jose Mourinho may look to build on Louis van Gaal’s only real success at Old Trafford.
“José Mourinho / Жозе Моуринь” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Aleksandr Osipov
During his first stint at Chelsea, Mourinho opted to select a strong starting line-up in most domestic cup fixtures. And it would be fair to expect the United manager to adopt the same approach at Old Trafford; the 13-time Premier League champions certainly have a strong enough squad to compete on multiple fronts.
Mourinho moved quickly this summer to bring Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan into the club but Paul Pogba’s arrival has grabbed the majority of the headlines. The Frenchman originally left United in 2012 but re-joined for a world record fee of £89 million this summer – a staggering sum even for a player of his undoubted quality.
But with a completely revamped and bolstered squad, United now have the talent and prowess to challenge for silverware this season. As of September 7th, the Red Devils are priced at 7/1 in FA Cup betting odds to win England’s oldest club competition for what would be an outright record 13th time; and it would take a brave man to back against Mourinho’s men on current form.
With the FA Cup, the draw is always key – that much is obvious. If United are drawn at home, Mourinho will be confident of advancing to the next round but an away fixture, even at a lower league side, can provide various complications in the FA Cup. Smaller sides tend to raise their game when playing against top flight clubs and the occasion can be a leveller; that is why there are so many shocks and upsets in the competition.
— BBC Homepage (@bbccouk) January 2, 2015
Does Jose Mourinho have bigger priorities than the FA Cup? Yes. Does that mean that he will turn a blind eye to the competition? No. The Portuguese focused primarily on the Premier League during his Chelsea days but did manage to win the FA Cup and League Cup on four separate occasions whilst at Stamford Bridge. And now, United may be on the verge of winning the famous trophy for the second year in succession…
The FA Cup isn’t the main priority but Mourinho would like to win the competition if at all possible and that is why the United boss will probably select a strong side throughout the duration of the tournament. With the likes of Pogba, Ibrahimovic and Mkhitaryan available for selection, United could coast through the opening rounds – and from there, who knows… a record 13th FA Cup success could be on the cards.