Down The Wings

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FA Cup Preview: Manchester United vs Watford

Manchester United vs Watford | FA Cup 3rd Round | Old Trafford | KO 20:00 GMT | BT Sport

After another disappointing semi-final loss, Manchester United’s attention now turns to the FA Cup, where they face Championship side Watford.

The away side, who sit sixth in their league, will travel to Old Trafford on Saturday night knowing they have very little to lose, coming up against a United side that are expected to win this one easily.

The Reds will be desperate to put their loss against Manchester City in the Carabao cup behind them, and continue their otherwise impressive run of form.

How do Manchester United Look?

Ahead of this match, there was some anticipation surrounding a potential debut for exciting Uruguayan winger Facundo Pellistri, however he has unfortunately tested positive for COVID-19, and will have to wait for his maiden match for the first team.

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In the week, United announced the signing of highly rated youngster Amad Diallo, who has recently arrived in Manchester, but it is too soon to see him in the squad for the Watford clash.

Edinson Cavani will miss the match, as it is the final match of his three-game ban.

Loanee Odion Ighalo’s loan is set to expire at the end of the month, with the club extremely unlikely to extend the deal, or sign him permanently.

Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer did, however, offer some positive news for the Nigerian.

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Ahead of the match against Ighalo’s former side, Solskjaer confirmed he will be in the squad, saying “it’s special for him against Watford. He will be involved; he’s in the squad. He’s been training really well”.

Other fringe players will also be hopeful of getting a game against Watford, considering United’s next match is their game in hand against Burnley, with a point being enough to take them top of the table.

Opposition: Watford

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Following their relegation from the Premier League last season, Watford have found it hard to adjust to life in the Championship.

They started the campaign with Vladimir Ivic in charge, but have since sacked him and appointed Xisco Munoz, their sixth manager in the past eighteen months.

The chopping and changing of staff at the club has meant that they have been unable to find any level of consistency, and it was ultimately this inconsistency that led to their relegation from the Premier League.

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One constant at the club throughout this time, however, is club captain Troy Deeney, who’s physical prowess can cause problems for United’s centre backs.

He will likely put himself up against Victor Lindelöf (if they both start), and take advantage of the Swede’s lack of aerial ability, looking to hold the ball up, as well as finding headers in behind for the likes of Ismaila Sarr to run onto.

Key Stats

Manchester United have an incredible record against Watford, winning 17 out of their last 19 matches against The Hornets, a run dating back to 1987.

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In their last five matches against Watford, United have an overall aggregate win of 8-4, meaning goals are almost certain in this fixture.

Prediction

Manchester United 3-0 Watford. Goals from Marcus Rashford (2) and Odion Ighalo against his old club.

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