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As a Premier League team, Manchester United entered in the third round, hosting Sheffield United of League One at Old Traffordon 9 January 2016. They got their first shot on target through substitute Memphis Depay, who was fouled in second half stoppage time by Dean Hammond for a penalty kick, from which Wayne Rooney scored the only goal with United’s only other shot on target. Manager Louis van Gaal was under pressure for Manchester United’s poor form prior to the match, and the victory was compared to one in the same competition in 1990, in which a goal by Mark Robins reportedly saved the career of Alex Ferguson.

The players of West Ham United and Manchester United entering the field for their FA Cup replay

Twenty days later in the next round, United travelled to Pride Park to play Derby County, situated in the play-off places in the Championship. Rooney scored the first goal from outside the penalty area, but George Thorne soon equalised. In the second half, further United goals by Daley Blind and Juan Mata relieved Van Gaal of further pressure; it was the first time in 15 games that the team won by a margin of more than one goal.

On 22 February, United played the fifth round away at League One strugglers Shrewsbury Town. Chris Smalling opened the scoring, and Mata doubled the advantage in first-half added time. Jesse Lingard confirmed a 3–0 win with about half an hour left to play; in the closing stages United had to play with only 10 men when Will Keane was injured and no substitutes remained.

United hosted their sixth-round match against top-flight opponents West Ham United on 13 March. The visitors took the lead via a free-kick from Dimitri Payet, and only seven minutes remained when the hosts equalised with Anthony Martial’s close-range finish. A month later, the game went to a replay, the final FA Cup match at the Boleyn Ground. A curled effort from Marcus Rashford gave Manchester United a lead in the second half, and the lead was doubled by Marouane Fellaini. West Ham halved the deficit late on after James Tomkins’ header passed into David de Gea’s net, and they threatened an equaliser but could not achieve it.

On 23 April, Manchester United travelled to Wembley to play Everton in the semi-finals. Martial assisted Fellaini to open the scoring against his former team, giving a half-time lead. After the break, a penalty was given when Timothy Fosu-Mensah fouled Ross Barkley, but De Gea saved the spot-kick after Romelu Lukaku took it. Everton brought on Gerard Deulofeu whose cross was put into United’s net via a Chris Smalling own goal to level the scores. In added time, Ander Herrera set up Martial for the winner.