Manchester United booked their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup with victory over Championship promotion hopefuls Derby County on Friday evening.
The match provided a much needed distraction from their indifferent league form, and may just be enough to keep manager Louis van Gaal in his position after much speculation surrounding his future at Old Trafford.
Captain Wayne Rooney gave the hosts the lead in sublime style before George Thorne pulled the Rams level ahead of half time.
However, goals from Daley Blind and Juan Mata secured the victory for the eleven times winners and ensured their place in Sunday’s draw.
Van Gaal is the odds on favourite to be the next Premier League manager to lose his job, and the Dutchman will no doubt be aware of the significance of the FA Cup in the history of the Red Devils.
Sir Alex Ferguson struggled early on in his tenure as the United manager though he guided them to cup success in 1990 – beating Crystal Palace 1-0 in a replay after the original tie ended 3-3.
Many say that victory saved Ferguson’s job and left him to go on and achieve what he hid at the Theatre of Dreams.
While Van Gaal’s United story will not end in no way near the same style as the great Scotsman he will be keen to land his first trophy since his appointment in 2014 and will perhaps see this as his best opportunity this season.
The 2013 Premier League champions are ten points off the pace in the Premier League while it remains to be seen how seriously they will take their involvement in the Europa League, which recommences in three weeks time.
Arsene Wenger had gone nine years without a trophy before winning the first of back-to-back FA Cup’s in 2014 and there is no doubt that those successes have kept the wolves from the door.
The Gunners are joint favourites with Manchester City to triumph again this season, with Manchester United fourth in the market.
Should Van Gaal land silverware, or at least being given the chance to before this season is out he may just remain in his job until his contract expires at the end of next season though any further mishaps will have those managers currently, or soon to be out of work on their hind legs.
Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are the front runners in the race to be the next Manchester United manager with Diego Simeone also linked along with assistant manager Ryan Giggs and his former teammate at Old Trafford Gary Neville, who is currently taking his first steps as a boss with Valencia.
Can Manchester United go on and win their first FA Cup in twelve years?
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