Everton 4.1 v Man United 2.0421/20; The Draw 3.65
Live on BBC One
Roberto Martinez is usually adept at finding a positive, but even he struggled to dress up a 4-0 Merseyside derby thrashing by Liverpool, admitting that "there's a feeling of embarrassment; we shouldn't put on show like this."
It was a seventh unsuccessful Premier League outing in a row, and if the three draws against Watford, Crystal Palace and Southampton which followed defeats to West Ham, Arsenal and Man United suggested progress, the events at Anfield indicated that this was a false impression.
The one consolation is that their FA Cup form has thus far been unaffected by top-flight failure. The fifth-round triumph at Bournemouth followed a home reverse to West Brom, while the quarter-final victory over Chelsea came a week after they collapsed in the final 13 minutes to lose 3-2 to West Ham at Goodison Park from 2-0 up.
Less encouraging is the list of prospective defensive absentees for a side who leak frequently even with their best backline available. Ramiro Funes Mori is suspended, Seamus Coleman is injured and Phil Jagielka and John Stones are both doubts, as is Gareth Barry in front of them.
There was a moment on March 13 where Man United's campaign appeared to be over. They were four points behind fourth-placed neighbours Man City, 2-0 down against Liverpool in the Europa League and trailing West Ham at home in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Not even Fred the Red would have believed it if you said then that less than six weeks later they would be on a run of five wins in six, two points behind the Citizens in the Premier League with more momentum and not just still in the FA Cup, but 2.226/5 favourites to end a 12-year wait for the trophy. Most shocking of all is the increased possibility of Louis van Gaal earning a third season in charge.
Their injury situation is also a lot healthier than their Wembley opponents, with Luke Shaw, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Adnan Januzaj and Will Keane - the latter two having not even been part of the first-team squad before Christmas anywhere - the only players expected to miss out on the occasion.
Everton prevailed in their previous Wembley showdown with Man United and have won every FA Cup tie this term to nil. However, the former was in a penalty shootout at this stage seven years ago and the latter were against two League Two clubs and two sat tenth or lower in the Premier League. There don't seem to be any other uplifting omens for them.
As mentioned earlier, the Red Devils have enjoyed five wins in six and two of those came not merely away from Old Trafford, but at the grounds of top-six colleagues Man City and West Ham. Every result arrived at the expense of top-tier foes and the sole setback occurred excusably enough at title-chasing Tottenham, who they commendably kept quiet for 69 minutes.
Whereas Martinez was two for two in clashes against David Moyes' Man United as Toffees boss, he has lost three of his four showdowns with van Gaal's version, including both of the two in 2015/16 and one as recently as three weekends ago.
Man United Win to Nil
Everton's Premier League goal-per-game average of 1.56 places them four positions higher in that table (seventh) than the actual one comprised of points (11th), yet they were actually competing for top spot in those rankings before a dramatic springtime attacking decline.
They have struck just twice in their six fixtures since the quarter-finals, and even those goals came from the unlikely sources of James McCarthy and the banned Funes Mori. Man United have shut them out twice in the league this season too, a feat that Man City alone can rival.
Van Gaal's men are the best clean-sheet collectors in the business, obtaining 17 in their 34 Premier League encounters and two more in the FA Cup, as well as four in six lately across all competitions and two in a row, so they are the worst possible adversaries for an Everton frontline feeling fragile. The 11-time tournament champions are 3.55/2 to win to nil.
Back Man United to win to nil @ 3.55/2
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