It’s now over a decade since United’s name was last etched onto the oldest trophy in football, the FA Cup. And it’s true to say that, since the FA Cup’s glory days of yesteryear, the increasing importance of the Premier League and United’s continual focus on both league and Champions League over the past 20 years and more – has meant that FA Cup success has taken a bit of a backseat.
But what about this year?
This year – a successful campaign for most realistic Man United fans would now be a top four finish. And that looks entirely achievable given that the team is looking better by the week. True, United were largely outplayed by Chelsea, but they ground out a result in the dying seconds and that’s what we needed. Similarly, the previous week away West Brom, it was a similar story in that the draw came late – but there were moments in that game, in particular, when the team looked like the Man United of old.
In other words, Louis van Gaal is getting there and the United machine looks like it’s beginning to hum again – even if it’s a bit later in the day than many of us would have liked.
So third or fourth is acceptable – and that then just leaves the cup. At the moment, United are a best-priced 13-2 in the FA cup betting on bet365 for the outright win. This looks a shrewd punt. The favourites are Man City then Chelsea, but for both these clubs, the FA Cup will not be the primary focus (though the way Man City are going in the Champions League – they may well not make the knockout stages).
An FA Cup for United under Louis van Gaal, however, along with a third of fourth to get into next season’ Champions League – would go a long way towards placating Reds’ fans. And it’s been a long time since we had a victorious day out at Wembley to lift the famous old trophy.
What’s more – with the afore-mentioned Bet365, the free bets offers mean you should be able to enjoy a punt on that 13/2 for nothing. The company, which is now the world’s largest online bookmaker, is currently offering any new subscribers double their initial deposit up to a maximum of £100.
Alternatively – how about a punt on United to finish in the Premier League’s top three? This is around 2/1 with the bookies whose market making seems to suggest that third place will be a scrap between United and Arsenal – with Liverpool less fancied. Let’s hope they’re right – and let’s also hope United can make it a double of sorts anyway.
If all this can happen most fans would regard this is as a successful season and would be looking forward to next year with even greater relish. United are a fast-improving side, the future looks bright and the FA Cup would make a real difference.