Wigan Athletic vs Manchester United

DW Stadium sets the stage for a ‘David vs Goliath’ FA Cup tie between third-tier Wigan Athletic and Premier League underachievers Manchester United.

Now demoted to League One, once-regular Premier League tenants Wigan Athletic head into this tie against the 12-time champions as massive betting outsiders. However, Shaun Maloney’s men have already won two FA Cup assignments this season, overcoming Exeter and York without conceding to set up their first cup meeting with Man Utd since 2018. Ominously, they finished on the receiving end of a 4-0 scoreline that time, an identical score that has determined three of their last four H2Hs (L4). Those miserable results form part of a larger pattern, which has seen Wigan suffer 18 defeats in their previous 19 matches against Man Utd (W1), frustratingly failing to score in nine of the last ten. With that in mind, defending with authority could be crucial, as the ‘Latics’ come into proceedings having kept a clean sheet in four of their last five home outings (W3, D1, L1).

On the other hand, Manchester United’s disastrous season hit a new low toward the end of 2023, with a disheartening 2-1 loss at Nottingham Forest, causing United’s slip to eighth in the Premier League standings, nine points adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal. Having lost 50% of their competitive games in 2023/24 (14/28), the ‘Red Devils’ commence the new calendar year amid the club’s worst start to a season since 1930. Every match from now on could be the last for under-pressure manager Erik ten Hag, who has overseen just one victory across Man Utd’s last six fixtures (D1, L4). Bowing out from the FA Cup third round could prove the end of the road for the Dutchman, even though he guided the Old Trafford outfit to the grand final in 2022/23, only to lose 2-1 to bitter rivals Manchester City.

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