Manchester United are reeling from two straight confidence-shattering defeats, first to Sunderland in the Premier League last weekend, and then to Danish side FC Midtjylland at midweek in the Europa League. Now it's time for their attention to turn to the FA Cup and another minnow — this time League One's Shrewsbury Town.
The third-division minnows are struggling mightily this season, sitting in League One's relegation zone 31 games into the season. Despite that, they've made it to the fifth round of the FA Cup by beating a pair of Championship sides in Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday. With the game being played on home soil and with Manchester reeling, Shrewsbury has a chance to pull off their biggest upset yet — but they're going to have to put in an absolutely magnificent performance to get the job done.
What might help their cause is that Manchester are absolutely ravaged by injuries. No less than thirteen players are either out or questionable, almost all of them regular starters or key members of their rotation. Between those injuries and the tired legs they've created, Manchester are looking awfully vulnerable right now — and their sagging confidence levels won't help that one bit. There's a definite chance that the Magic of the Cup is about to strike.
Key players — Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay (Manchester United)
With so much of Manchester's side out injured, Martial and Depay are going to have to carry their side in a big way in this match. The youthful duo have had plenty of successes and struggles alike this season as they've gotten used to the English game. This match will be a good opportunity for them to show off what they've learned this season, and if they can successfully carry the weight of the team on their shoulders, they will prove that they can keep doing so in the future.
Key matchup — Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro (Shrewsbury Town) vs. Chris Smalling (Manchester United)
Shrewsbury lost all their top goalscorers in January, leaving them with Akpa Akpro to lead their line. The veteran French striker has never really played at the highest levels, but he's always been solid with the teams he's been a part of. Facing Manchester United will be one of the sternest tests of his career, but with how injury shattered their defense is he might just be able to make an impact — especially with how worn out Smalling has looked of late, forced to play all but one match this season thanks to Manchester's constant injury woes.
Shrewsbury Town injuries and suspensions
Out: Jack Grimmer, James Wesolowski
Manchester United injuries and suspensions
Out: David De Gea, Wayne Rooney, Matteo Darmian, Marouane Fellaini, Adnan Januzaj, Guillermo Varela, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Marcos Rojo, Antonio Valencia, Luke Shaw In doubt: Cameron Borthwick-Jackson
Match Date/Time: Monday, 2:30 p.m. ET, 7:30 p.m. local
Venue: Greenhous Meadow, Shrewsbury, England
TV: Fox Sports 1 (U.S. - English), Fox Deportes (U.S. - Spanish), Sportsnet World (Canada), BT Sport 2 (U.K.)
Online: Fox Soccer 2 Go, Fox Sports Go (U.S.), Sportsnet World Now (Canada), BT Sport Live Streaming (U.K.)