Derby vs Man UnitedFA Cup, KO: 19:45 Mar 5, 2020, Pride Park
DERBY and Manchester united will lock horns on Thursday night at Pride Park in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
This cup clash has a major subplot given that Wayne Rooney – Man United's all time leading goal-scorer – recently joined the Rams and Rooney's early influence on the East Midlands outfit has been clear to see.
Philip Cocu's side made an encouraging start to 2020, however, their league form has dipped in recent weeks, with Saturday's 3-1 success away at Sheffield Wednesday their first win in five.
The Rams currently sit 13th in the English Championship and while a playoff charge looks improbable, a packed out Pride Park will be desperate to see the hosts stun Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's star-studded side.
Manchester United's recent run of form has brought a sense of optimism back to Old Trafford and United will make the trip south off the back of a eight match unbeaten run across all competitions.
Winning the Europa League was widely regarded as the Red Devils best route into next season's Champions League, however, United have gatecrashed the Premier League's top-four race and Solskjaer appears to be placing great importance on domestic silverware.
The Betting Odds
Derby are big underdogs at a best 5/1 with Bet 365, while a draw is priced at 16/5 with the same firm.
Man United are odds-on favourites at 8/15 with Bet 365 to book a place in the sixth round of the FA Cup.
The Betting Angles
I successfully backed Bruno Fernandes to have two or more shots on target against Everton on Sunday and the 13/10 (PaddyPower) on offer for a repeat on Thursday night takes appeal.
The Portuguese playmaker has been a standout performer since arriving from Sporting Lisbon, weighing in with three goals and two assists in his six run-outs for the Red Devils and I like the look of the 13/10 (PaddyPower) on offer for Fernandes to have two or more shots on target against a second-tier side.
The midfield maestro has been hitting United's free-kicks and penalties and it's also worth noting that Fernandes has hit 16 shots in his four Premier League appearances to date – seven of which have been on target.
I also cashed up by backing both teams to get on the scoresheet on Sunday and although a repeat here is tempting at 4/5 with William Hill, I am instead going to opt for an alternative angle by combining one Derby goal and one Derby card at a much more enticing Evens (Bet 365).
The hosts have hit the back of the net in all but one of their last 16 outings across all competitions and five of Derby's last seven fixtures have generated three or more goals – a repeat here pays 4/6 with William Hill.
Indeed, Man United have tightened up at the back in recent weeks, however, the Red Devils rearguard remains far away from being the finished article, even more so away from home where United have only registered two clean sheets in 14 top-flight road trips this term.
With that in mind, I fancy the Pride Park side to make the net bulge and I also suspect that the Rams could rack up a few cards when trying to contain a higher-caliber Red Devils team.
What's more, referee Craig Pawson has flashed three or more cards in his last six games, all of which adds to the appeal of siding with the above-mentioned combination.
Furthermore, given the superior quality that Solskjaer has at his disposal, I'm also attracted to the Evens (Bet 365) on offer for Derby to collect two or more cards in what could be a full-throttle FA Cup tie.
This FA Cup match between Derby and Man United will be played on Mar 5, 2020 and kick off at 19:45. Check below for our tipsters best Derby vs Man United prediction.