When West Ham United last got past the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup in the 2015/16 season, the team that ended their run were Manchester United. This evening, the Hammers have the chance to gain revenge, as they face the Red Devils again when they make the journey to Old Trafford for an all Premier League fifth round tie.
This will be the first big test that the East Londoners have had to face in this year’s competition, having already had a favourable path to this stage.
They have overcome the challenges of both Vanarama National League side Stockport County and Sky Bet League One outfit Doncaster Rovers.
On the other hand, it is the second all top-flight encounter that Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s side have faced in this years competition after achieving a narrow 3-2 victory over Liverpool to book their place in this round.
Both teams had to settle for draws over the weekend. The Irons were involved in a goalless London derby at newly-promoted Fulham, while Solskjær’s men relinquished a two-goal advantage to only take a point from their home encounter with Everton, as the game ended 3-3.
The two sides met for an encounter in East London back in December where the Red Devils came from behind to claim a 3-1 victory, thus extending David Moyes’ record without a win against his former club. The Scotsman would love to get a first win and progress to the quarter-final stage.
One statistic that might give the East Londoners momentum here is that the hosts have not had the best record at home this season and the Hammers will certainly be hoping to draw on the positives from the last time they visited in July, as they came away with a point having secured a 1-1 draw.
Whatever side Moyes decides to name for this match will be a strong one. After Tomáš Souček’s straight red card against the Cottagers was rescinded on Monday morning, the Irons’ boss does have the Czech available, should he decide to include him in the matchday squad.
Other names hoping to feature are David Martin, Ryan Fredericks, Ben Johnson, Fabián Balbuena, Issa Diop, Mark Noble, Manuel Lanzini, Andriy Yarmolenko and Jamal Baptiste.
Pablo Fornals is in contention, given that Jesse Lingard is ineligible to play against his former club and due to the fact that he has already featured for Solskjær’s men in the competition.
Ademipo Odubeko may come into the starting line-up as Moyes has already stated that Michail Antonio will have to be assessed ahead of the tie.
Oladapo Afolayan had a first-team debut to remember against Darren Moore’s Rovers but he won’t be involved here as he joined Bolton Wanderers on loan for the remainder of the season last Monday.
The match is a 7:30pm kick-off with live coverage being screened by the BBC from 7pm. The referee is Paul Tierney.