Last leg for Van Gaal?

In any other season, the result of this game would have been a foregone conclusion, however, the fact that people are genuinely seeing Shrewsbury Town as potential winners here is a testament to the dire times in which the world's biggest football club currently find themselves.

Manchester United fans have been subjected to a woefully lackluster season under the continued tutelage of Head Coach Louis Van Gaal.

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The former Ajax, Bayern Munich, and Barcelona boss arrived at Old Trafford just days after leading the Dutch national team to a World Cup Final, however, his stubborn obsession with a possession-based philosophy has failed to inspire a fanbase which expects to see the proverbial kitchen sink thrown at sides week in and week out.

United have managed just one more goal in the league this season than relegation threatened Sunderland and were even fortunate to navigate past League One side, Sheffield United, in the previous round.

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A last minute Wayne Rooney penalty was enough to secure an unconvincing 1-0 victory, however, Shrewsbury Town will be buoyed by the fact that they overcame The Blades 4-2 when they met in the league back in November.

A further boost to The Shrews will be the absence of talismanic captain Wayne Rooney, who picked up a knee injury before United's disastrous defeat to FC Midtjylland in the Europa League last Thursday.

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England's all-time top goalscorer joins the likes of David de Gea, Matteo Darmian, Marouane Fellaini, and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson on a 14-man strong injury list which will invariably see Van Gaal naming inexperienced youth team players in order to fill his squad.

Van Gaal vs. Mellon

In this evening's fixture at New Meadow, the Dutch tactician will be pitting his wits against Micky Mellon, a man who has built a consistent record of over-achievement within the FA Cup.

During his time at Fleetwood Town, he took the club further than they had ever been before by reaching the Third Round and followed that up with a Second Round appearance the following year.

Now at the Shrewsbury helm, Mellon finds himself embroiled in a relegation dogfight as they seek to preserve their League One status following their highly impressive automatic promotion from League Two the year before.

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Whilst survival in the league will obviously remain a priority for Mellon and his men, the additional funds that are generated from an FA Cup run are priceless for a team of Shrewsbury's stature.

Both sides have found goals difficult to come by this season, however its Shrewsbury's defense which has raised even bigger concerns. They've conceded more than 50 goals already this season, including a recent 7-1 dismantling at the hands of lowly Chesterfield, and so whichever side Van Gaal fields against a side 60 places below them in the league should be capable of winning.

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To call anything a certainty at this stage of the FA Cup is naive at best and costly at worst as Crystal Palace proved at Spurs and Reading proved against West Bromwich Albion over the weekend, however, Pochettino and Pulis are highly unlikely to lose their jobs off the back of it. Whether the same can be said for Van Gaal remains to be seen, as The Shrews set about slaying higher league opposition for the third time this season. 

Shrewsbury Town (predicted starting XI): Leutwiler, Whitbread, Knight-Percival, Grimmer, Brown, Whalley, Ogogo, Cole, Black, Mangan, Akpa-Akpro

Manchester United (predicted starting XI): Romero, McNair, Smalling, Blind, Riley, Schneiderlin, Carrick, Depay, Mata, Herrera, Martial

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