Five reasons why the U's can complete a hat-trick of Cup shocks at Manchester United
PUBLISHED: 10:20 17 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:32 17 December 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
It won't happen, of course, but it is possible to compile a list of reasons why Colchester United COULD produce a huge upset at Old Trafford this evening.
Mighty Manchester United, League Cup winners five times, First Division champions 20 times, FA Cup winners on 12 occasions - I won't even bother to venture into their European successes - should breeze through tonight's Carabao Cup quarter-final tie at a canter inside the 'Theatre of Dreams.'
The League Two U's, who have reached this stage of the competition just once before - in 1974-75, when Jim Smith was the manager and Bobby Svarc was banging in the goals - are expected to enjoy their big night out, suffer defeat and so return to the main business in hand, which is plotting a way out of the fourth tier.
And yet funny things happen in football. So here's a list of five reasons why John McGreal's Colchester United could spring a big surprise tomorrow night (just to reiterate, this CAN'T and WON'T happen .... will it?).
1 ROCHDALE EXPERIENCE
Earlier this season, unfashionable Rochdale showed that it is possible to match Manchester United, on their home turf, when drawing 1-1 in a Carabao Cup tie in late September.
A 16-year-old, Luke Matheson, netted a Dale equaliser with 16 minutes remaining to force a penalty shoot-out, which Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men won 5-4.
United had 31 shots that night, but scored just once in 90 minutes. A reason to dream, for U's fans.
2 U's ARE SPOT ON
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They've done it twice before, so why not a hat-trick of penalty shoot-out successes, against Premier League opposition?
Crystal Palace were held to a 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park, and dispatched 5-4 on spot kicks, while Tottenham were famously frustrated in a 0-0 draw at the Community Stadium, and were humbled 4-3 in the penalty drama.
Anyone for a hat-trick? Why not? As we all know, a penalty shoot-out is a lottery, a leveller, a time to dream. And the U's have a proven penalty shot-stopper in Dean Gerken.
3 NO PRESSURE
All the pressure will be on a young Manchester United side, and pressure can do strange things to individuals, and teams.
League form is not always an indicator of giant-killing potential, but the U's are unbeaten in five league games. That breeds confidence.
5 MATCH WINNERS
The U's do pose a threat up top, and Luke Norris, who bagged his seventh goal of the season at Scunthorpe on Saturday, will be champing at the bit.