It’s FA Cup semi-final day and Manchester United are back at Wembley for a huge game against Tottenham Hotspur.
The cup is Jose Mourinho’s only chance of silverware this season and the United boss will be hoping his team have learned lessons from the 2-0 defeat against Mauricio Pochettino’s in the Premier League fixture in January.
Mourinho has made five changes to the side that beat Bournemouth in the week as Nemanja Matic and Antonio Valencia are among the players returning to the side. Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez also get the nod in the starting line-up.
Paul Pogba is also in the starting XI after his display against Bournemouth but Luke Shaw drops out of the matchday 18, with Ashley Young preferred at left-back by Mourinho. Forwards Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are on the bench.
A very strong start for Tottenham here, firstly via a direct sprint at goal from Harry Kane almost right from kick-off after Spurs regained possession, followed by a set of dangerous crosses into the box.
They will feel oddly at home here today — their home away from home as White Hart Lane continues reconstruction this year.
Tottenham have often-times captured the imagination with beautiful football in recent years, produced fine finishes in the Premier League and compelled on the European stage against big-hitters, but the absence of any trophy to show for it is a cause for concern among fans.
It’s been a decade since their last trophy and in his nine-year managerial career Mauricio Pochettino is also without silverware. They will be determined to end their dry spells together, starting today.
They face a Manchester United side which has been the second best team in the Premier League this season, but one which has endured constant setbacks both with deflating defeats and a frustrating style of play.
Many United supporters are at their wit’s end with the Portuguese, calling for a new man in the dugout ahead of next season. An FA Cup triumph would certainly put significantly more leverage in Mourinho’s corner.