Manchester United vs Watford Preview

Manchester United vs Watford Preview

Manchester United begin their FA Cup campaign with a third-round tie against Championship side Watford at Old Trafford on Saturday evening. United will be looking to add to the 12 FA Cups that we last won back in 2016 and are coming into the game having suffered a 2-0 defeat against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup Semi-Final on Wednesday.

Before the disappointment on Wednesday, United have been in an excellent run of form having won 8 of our last 10 Premier League games. We are currently in second place level on points with the leaders Liverpool as goal difference separates both sides. We will have the chance to climb to the summit of the table when we play our game in hand away to Burnley on Tuesday night.

Obviously, for United and Ole Gunnar Solskjær the league is the top priority but the FA Cup represents a chance to achieve some silverware this season. As mentioned previously, we have this competition on 12 other occasions with the last being 2016. We did reach the semi-finals last season but an error strewn performance from goalkeeper David De Gea saw Chelsea advance to the final recording a 3-1 victory against us.

Opposition Preview

Watford is currently sitting sixth in the Championship table following their 2-1 defeat against Swansea. Over the course of 22 matches this season, they have recorded 10 wins, seven draws, and five defeats. Xisco is the current manager of the Hornets having replaced Vladimir Ivic before Christmas. Watford has seen 13 managers in charge since June 2012.

Manchester United vs Watford Match Details

Teams: Manchester United vs Watford

Date: January 9th, 2020 (Saturday)

KO Time: 20:00 GMT

Competition: FA Cup

Stadium: Old Trafford

Referee: Andrew Madley

Managers: Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Xisco

Manchester United Team News

Edinson Cavani will be serving the last game of his suspension. It had been expected that exciting young prospect Facundo Pellistri would feature in the matchday squad for this game. However, he has since returned a positive test for coronavirus and therefore misses out.

Axel Tuanzebe, Donny van de Beek, Daniel James, and Juan Mata are likely to be in the starting eleven. Eric Bailly could be included in the heart of the defence having played four consecutive games during the Christmas period but did not feature in the Carabao Cup Semi-Final against City. Jesse Lingard could be in line for a return to the squad. He has only played in two games this season, having not featured since the league cup tie against Brighton in September. He scored one of the best goals against the Hornets back in 2017.

Pre-Match Press Conference

During the pre-match press conference, Ole was asked the players’ reaction after the semi-final defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday. He said, “We wanted to go one step further. But we’ve shown many times this season that we can react and bounce back to disappointments. The boys have reacted well. So, I don’t envisage anyone with the mindset other than we go into the next one wanting to win.”

Ole was also asked about Odion Ighalo possibly feature against his former club as his loan deal at the club expires at the end of the month. He said, “Odion, it’s special for him against Watford. He will be involved; he’s in the squad. He’s been training really well. This season he’s not had as many opportunities, but he’s never let himself down as a professional and a human being. In training he always works hard and he’s been a positive influence in the dressing room. He’s in the squad and hopefully I don’t need to put him on that we need goals, but hopefully he can join in.

Watford Team News

As for our opponents Watford, Craig Cathcart and Joao Pedro are in contention to be in the matchday squad following their return from hamstring injuries. However, Watford still has a number of injury issues to contend with Domingos Quina, Isaac Success, and Stipe Perica being unavailable. Whilst Christian Kabasele is still out with a knee injury.

It is expected that their manager Xisco will make changes to the starting eleven with Daniel Bachmann and William Troost-Ekong likely to feature. On loan United player James Garner is ineligible to face his own club. The Hornets can still count on a number of experienced players as Troy Deeney, Ismaila Sarr and Andre Gray could be included.

Form Guide

Manchester United form (all competitions): WWDWWL

Watford form (all competitions): WWDLWL

Interesting Facts

  • The last time these two sides met in the FA Cup was back in 2007 where United ran out with a 4-1 victory.
  • In our previous six FA Cup meetings, United have managed to keep three clean sheets and have conceded just three goals, while scoring ten.
  • United have won 17 of their last 19 matches against Watford across all competitions.
  • United have progressed from 33 of their last 35 third-round ties in the FA Cup.

Predicted Lineup

Henderson; Tuanzebe, Bailly, Maguire, Telles; Matic, Van de Beek; James, Mata, Greenwood, and Martial.

Manchester United likely formation against Watford in the FA Cup
Manchester United likely formation against Watford in the FA Cup, which would be a 4-2-3-1.


Watford has the potential to make it a very uncomfortable game for United. However, Ole will be looking to rotate the squad and give those players who have not started recently much needed game time. Whilst, we have had problems with our home form this season, there is more than enough in our squad to get past the Hornets and advance to the fourth round of the competition.

Predicted Score

Manchester United 2-0 Watford

Author: Andrew Wall

My name is Andrew and I have been a Manchester United fan my whole life. I have a season ticket in the Sir Bobby Charlton Stand attending all our home games. My favourite United player of all time is Eric Cantona. I want to share through this blog my thoughts and opinions on Manchester United. You can find me on Twitter: @andrew_wall and Instagram: andrewcwall