Manchester United host Derby County in the third round of the FA Cup on Friday night.
The Red Devils bounced back after a disappointing run of draws, as they beat Everton 2-0 on New Year's Day. With the league seemingly out of reach, manager Jose Mourinho is expected to prioritise the cup competitions this season. After being knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Bristol City, Mourinho is likely to field his strongest possible side against the Rams as he attempts to avoid yet another cup upset.
As for the visitors, Derby currently sit second in the Championship, and, alongside Wolverhampton Wanderers, are favorites to return to the England's top division.
Derby's main man this season has been Matej Vydra, with the Czech Republic international currently on 15 goals in all competitions this campaign. If the Rams are to advance into the next round of the competition, Vydra will need to be on top form against what has been a solid United defence of late.
In the 2008/09 season, Derby traveled to Old Trafford for the second leg of their League Cup semi final. The Rams held a 1-0 lead going into the game, and knew that anything but a defeat would mean that they would advance into the final of the competition.
Derby got off to the worst possible start, as Portuguese winger Nani smashed home a trademark long range strike with only eight minutes gone. Not too long after, United had their second when Irishman John O'Shea found himself free in the box and slotted the ball past ex-Red Devil Roy Carroll.
Two soon became three as United threatened to run riot. Brazilian Rafael curled a delightful ball into the box, and on hand to head home was Carlos Tevez. At this stage, United had full control of the game...or so they thought.
After a long spell of dominance from the home side, Derby began to carve out some chances of their own, and in the 80th minute they were given a lifeline. Jonny Evans gave away a penalty, and Giles Barnes coolly slotted his spot kick into the corner of the net.
Despite conceding, United weren't fazed and a few minutes later they had a penalty of their own. This time it was Cristiano Ronaldo who smashed the ball home, and with that sent United into the final.
The scoring didn't end there however, as Barnes netted again, this time with a superbly struck free-kick from 30 yards out. United went on to win the competition that season, as they defeated Tottenham Hotspur in the final on penalties.
After a run of disappointing draws against the likes of Leicester City, Burnley and Southampton, the Red Devils bounced back with a win against Everton on Monday. Injuries to key men have meant that the fringe players like Jesse Lingard and Luke Shaw have been their chance, and it is fair to say that they have taken their opportunity.
Lingard scored once again for United against the Toffees, and in doing so brought his goalscoring tally for the season up to ten. Despite being left out in the cold for months by Mourinho, Shaw seems to be getting back to the type of player that United signed back in 2014.
Derby are flying high under ex-Birmingham manager Gary Rowett in the Championship. The Rams currently occupy second spot, and are unbeaten in their last seven games. The base of the midfield has been key to the Rams success this season with former Spurs man Tom Huddlestone and Bradley Johnson forming a solid relationship.
Romelu Lukaku is nearing his recovery after suffering a nasty head injury against the Saints, with Mourinho insisting that the Belgian is fit to play a part in the match - but Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Antonio Valencia and Marouane Fellaini are all still out with long-term injuries.
Former Crystal Palace man Joe Ledley is doubtful for the game on Friday night after picking up a minor injury.
Manchester United (4-3-3): Romero' Lindelof, Jones, Rojo, Shaw; Herrera, Matic, Pogba; Lingard, Rashford, Martial.
Derby County (4-2-3-1): Carson; Wisdom, Keogh, Davis, Olsson; Huddlestone, Johnson; Weimann, Vydra, Lawrence; Nugent.
Despite flying high in the Championship and being on a good run of form, a win for the Red Devils is on the cards. This game is tailor made for the likes of Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard, and both are expected to be key men for the hosts on Friday night.
Manchester United 3-0 Derby County