FA CUP PREVIEW: Manchester United vs. Watford

Introduction

After being eliminated from the Carabao Cup by the hands of Manchester City earlier this week, United switch focus to the FA Cup when they host Watford at Old Trafford on Saturday.

It seemed that last season United were playing Watford multiple times across all competitions but since being relegated from the Premier League last season, this is the first time the two teams will meet this year.

Match Build-Up

United and Watford have gone head-to-head in the FA Cup on six previous occasions. The Reds won the first three ties, including a ‘third-place play-off’ game in 1970, after a fourth-round replay victory the season before, before the Hornets came out on top in the third round in 1982. 

The most recent meeting came in April 2007, when Rooney, Ronaldo, and Richardson helped United to a 4-1 semi-final triumph. The Hornets have actually lost six of their last seven matches with United in all competitions, but they recorded a 2-0 win when the two teams met at Vicarage Road in December 2019.

Manchester United Team News

United will again be without the services of Edinson Cavani through suspension. Expect a number of changes from the side that started against Man City as they will face Burnley in the Premier League on Tuesday ahead of a trip to Anfield.

Axel Tuanzebe, Donny van de Beek, Daniel James, and Juan Mata should all come into the starting XI, while Eric Bailly could return to the heart of the defense. Anthony Martial could be on the bench against Burnley on Tuesday with Cavani serving the final game of his three-match suspension here, meaning that the Frenchman might start this contest.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Dean Henderson gets back to back starts as well on Saturday.

Opposition Watch

As for Watford, Craig Cathcart and Joao Pedro have returned to training following hamstring issues, and the pair are in contention to feature at Old Trafford. The Hornets still have injury problems, though, with Domingos Quina, Isaac Success, and Stipe Perica unavailable, while Christian Kabasele is still struggling with a knee injury.

Head coach Xisco will also make alterations to his first-choice XI, with Daniel Bachmann and William Troost-Ekong among those in line for starts, but midfielder James Garner is ineligible to face his parent club. There should still be plenty of experience in the away team’s starting side, though, with Troy Deeney, Ismaila Sarr, and Andre Gray potentially all being included.

Manchester United possible starting lineup:

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

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About Vince Rosetta 57 Articles
A life long Manchester United fan based in the US.

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