Ahead of their FA Cup Third Round tie against Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa on Monday evening, former striker Michael Owen has issued Manchester United with a strong warning not to take their opponents lightly.
The Red Devils, led by interim manager Ralf Rangnick, will be desperate to reach the competition’s Fourth Round where a knockout tie against Championship side Middlesbrough awaits.
Before United, or Rangnick can start preparing for Chris Wilder’s Boro though, they must first navigate their way past a surging Aston Villa.
After bidding farewell to star man and club captain Jack Grealish last summer following his British transfer record move to Manchester City, the Villians have become hugely competitive when it comes to making signings of their own.
Not only is Everton left-back Lucas Digne on the verge of joining (Sky Sports), but manager Gerrard is already set to welcome Barcelona attacker Phillipe Coutinho, who has recently passed his club medical.
Coutinho’s passed his Aston Villa medical and is in France atm finalising a work permit to complete his move on loan from Barcelona
— Samuel Marsden (@samuelmarsden) January 10, 2022
The Red Devils on the other hand have less to be optimistic about – faltering domestic form sees them almost certainly out of the running to challenge for the Premier League title with an unspoken acceptance that the side is no near capable of lifting the Champions League also lingering.
So – all in on the FA Cup it is then and Monday’s game is a must-win – there can be no room for error.
However, despite the importance of Monday’s cup clash at Old Trafford, one person who is expecting yet another upset is ex-striker turned pundit Owen.
“He’s only been in the job for a short time,” Owen wrote in his BetVictor column (via MEN). “But the pressure is on Ralf Rangnick.
“Performances haven’t been good and the club is desperate to win some silverware.
“Villa will be up for this and there’s no way that Steven Gerrard will play a weakened side here. United might.
“I can see Villa edging this.”