Manchester CityWIGAN ATHLETIC

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The DW Stadium will play host to an intriguing FA Cup third-round contest on Monday evening, with League One outfit Wigan Athletic welcoming English giants Manchester United.

Wigan famously won the FA Cup in 2012-13, beating Manchester City in the final, while Man United have lifted the trophy on 12 occasions, with their last success in the competition coming in 2015-16.

Wigan will enter Monday’s glamorous tie off the back of a 1-1 draw with Barnsley in League One, with Jonathan Smith cancelling out a first-half effort from Devante Cole, as the points were shared in South Yorkshire.

The result left the Latics in 17th position in the table, boasting 27 points from their 25 league games this season, and they started the campaign on minus eight points due to financial issues.

Shaun Maloney’s side, who were relegated from the Championship last season, are four points above the relegation zone in League One and 13 points from the playoff positions, so it is going to take some effort in the second half of the campaign to put themselves in contention for possible promotion.

Wigan, who have beaten Exeter City and York City in the FA Cup this season, last tackled Man United in the fourth round of this competition in January 2017, suffering a 4-0 loss to the Red Devils, and they have actually been beaten by that scoreline in three of their last four games with the 20-time English champions.

The team’s only victory over Man United was a 1-0 success at home in the Premier League in April 2012, but it would be fair to say that a lot has changed at both clubs since then, and Wigan have a recent FA Cup success to their name, lifting the trophy in 2012-13 by recording a 1-0 win over Man City in the final.

Man United, meanwhile, have lifted the FA Cup 12 times, with only Arsenal (14) winning the trophy on more occasions, and the Red Devils were last victorious in 2016, beating Crystal Palace 2-1 in the final.

Erik ten Hag’s side reached the final of last season’s competition, meanwhile, losing 2-1 to Man City, and this tournament represents their only realistic chance of winning silverware in 2023-24.

The 20-time English champions will enter this match off the back of a 2-1 loss to Nottingham Forest in the Premier League, with the defeat proving to be their 14th in all competitions this term, and it left them down in eighth position in the table, some nine points behind fourth-placed Arsenal.

Man United finished bottom of their Champions League group, meanwhile, and there is no getting away from the fact that it has been a very difficult campaign for the club, but confirmation of the arrival of Sir Jim Ratcliffe as a minority shareholder has seemingly lifted spirits at Old Trafford.

Ratcliffe visited Carrington last week, and it is understood that the staff and players were hugely impressed with the British billionaire, who will take over the football department once his arrival is ratified by the Premier League.

Man United will follow this match with a home game against Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League, and there will certainly be pressure on Ten Hag to deliver a positive result against Wigan, who will have home advantage but operate two divisions lower than their opponents.

Wigan will be without the services of Tom Pearce and Jason Kerr for the contest through injury, while Stephen Humphrys and Scott Smith are major doubts for the home side.

There will also be no James Balagizi, with his loan spell from Liverpool coming to an end ahead of the match.

Josh Magennis has scored five times during the 2023-24 campaign and is set to lead the line, while there is also expected to be a spot in a wide area for the experienced Callum McManaman.

Man United will have goalkeeper Andre Onana available for this contest, and potentially for the league game with Tottenham next weekend, as he will not link up with Cameroon for the Africa Cup of Nations until the final moment.

Sofyan Amrabat, though, is joining up with Morocco for the tournament and will therefore not be available.

Man United’s injury situation will ease in January, with Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia, Lisandro Martinez, Mason Mount, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Casemiro and Anthony Martial all expected to return in the near future, with the majority potentially available against Spurs next weekend.

Rasmus Hojlund missed out against Forest last time out due to illness, but the Denmark international is set to return to the squad for this match and is likely to lead the line.

Ten Hag is expected to name a strong side, with Alejandro Garnacho, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes all set to feature in advanced areas, while Scott McTominay could come back into the midfield.

Wigan Athletic possible starting lineup:
Tickle; Clare, Hughes, Morrison, Sessegnon; Shaw, Adeeko; McManaman, Lang, Godo; Magennis

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
Onana; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Evans, Dalot; McTominay, Mainoo; Garnacho, Fernandes, Rashford; Hojlund

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