13/02/2018 09:42, Report by Mark Froggatt
This will sound odd, considering the stages on which Manchester United play, but Saturday’s match at Huddersfield Town and the modest John Smith’s Stadium is arguably our biggest of 2018 so far. I understand that is a debatable claim to make, but just hear me out will you?
In the context of the campaign, with Manchester City 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League, our best chances of success are represented by the Emirates FA Cup and UEFA Champions League. As you’ll no doubt know, our next two fixtures are in those very competitions: away to Huddersfield and then Sevilla.
A trip to West Yorkshire and an industrial town that gave birth to rugby league is ordinarily a low-key occasion. But, for me at least, it is currently more important than our impending return to Europe’s big stage in picturesque Seville, Spain’s fourth largest city, because the repercussions of our performance and result in Kirklees will impact on the latter.
Win that fifth-round tie and the squad’s form, morale and confidence is immediately improved at a perfect time, potentially triggering a domino effect at an influential period in the campaign. Lose it and suddenly we are out of the FA Cup, shaken and facing a team that hasn’t lost at home in Europe this season, and held Liverpool to a couple of score draws in the group stage.
Huddersfield is a big test -…