Manchester United vs Watford preview: Team news, ones to watch, predicted line ups and how to watch
Manchester United's Portuguese midfielder Bruno Fernandes (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

The FA Cup returns this weekend as Manchester United host Watford in the third round of the competition.

The Hornets currently sit in sixth place in the EFL Championship, their home form see's them top the table for matches that have been played at home, however, their away form see's them in sixteenth place where they have only managed to pick up 11 points away from home.

United on the other hand are joint on points at the top of the Premier League with Liverpool, but they occupy second place because of goal difference. The Red Devil's early poor home form of the season see's them sit sixth in the home games played table. And away from home, the Reds are second in that table, three points behind Leicester with two games in hand on Brendan Rodgers side.

Although, this is a different competition and it will be the first game of the FA Cup for both sides this campaign.

  • Team news

For Manchester United, they will again be without Edinson Cavani, who is serving the final game of his suspension. Marcos Rojo and Phil Jones are injured and unavailable for selection. Facundo Pellistri will not be involved as he recently tested positive for COVID-19 and is now undergoing a self-isolation period. New signing Amad Diallo has not yet trained with the first team and therefore will not be making his debut against Watford.

The likes of Juan Mata and Daniel James could start as Ole Gunnar Solskjær looks to rotate his pack for this game, with Burnley and Liverpool next up for United in the Premier League. 

And for the visitors, Domingos Quina, Isaac Success and Stipe Perica are all unavailable, while Christian Kabasele's knee injury leaves him in doubt for this game. Craig Cathcart and forward Joao Pedro both returned to full training this week for Watford.

Midfielder James Garner, who is on loan at Watford from Manchester United, is ineligible to face his parent club. Former Red Tom Cleverley is fit and could start against his boyhood club.

  • Ones to watch

Watford's new signing Philip Zinckernagel, who is a Danish winger, contributed to 37 goal involvements in 28 games for FK Bodø/Glimt last season, which ultimately helped them to their first Norwegian league (Eliteserien) title. The English game is a completely different competition to any other, however, Zinckernagel will be wanting to make his mark quickly.

One of Watford's biggest weapons is their experience. As mentioned they've got Cleverley, who during his time at United won the Premier League trophy as well as two FA Community Shields. The former Premier League side also have another former Red in Ben Foster, 'The Cycling GK' who's now 37-years-old, he also brings experience as well as a winning mentality. With United he won two consecutive Football League Cups. 

Odion Ighalo could make one of his final appearance for United against his former side, after Solskjær hinted in his press conference that the Nigerian may be a part of his plans. Ighalo was with The Hornets for three years and became a fan favourite quickly, much like the beginning of his United career. The striker has featured 23 times for United and has scored five goals. Three of those goals have come in the FA Cup, with all of these stats and the motivation to make his final mark on a club that he loves, the 31-year-old will be keen to get on the score sheet.

Solskjær also has his key men, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes, who are both game-changing players. Both are likely to be given a rest, although even if they're not involved in this game they will most likely be on the bench, just-in-case United need that extra bit of quality.

  • Predicted lineups

Manchester United: Henderson; Tuanzebe, Maguire, Bailly, Telles; Matic, Van De Beek; Greenwood, Mata, James; Ighalo

Watford: Foster; Femenia, Troost-Ekong, Wilmot, Masina; Zinckernagel, Chalobah, Cleverley, Sarr; Deeney, Gray 

  • How to watch

The game kicks off at 20:00 (BST) and will be broadcast live on BT Sport in the UK.

  • What the managers have said

Ole Gunnar Solskjær when asked about what reaction the squad has given since Wednesday's defeat to Manchester City and his views into the Watford game, he said: “The reaction has been as suspected.

"Of course, you’re disappointed when you go out, you always are.

"We wanted to go one step further.

"But we’ve shown many times this season that we can react and bounce back to disappointments.

"We did it after the defeat against Arsenal.

"We did after we lost to Tottenham and when we went out of the Champions League.

"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.

"That’s what we have to do.

"We entered this competition wanting to win.

"That’s what we want to.

"There are a few players who had a few knocks and there will be a few changes, but we’ll still field a team that I feel confident in.”

Xisco Muñoz when speaking about the FA Cup third-round tie, he said: “The most important thing is we go there and fight like animals and enjoy the situation.

"I know it will be difficult because Manchester United is a perfect team, but we need to give our best and try very hard because the most important thing is that our fans enjoy watching our team.

“We go there with maximum ambition, we will work very hard and it is important to see we are growing game by game.

"This is our objective and it’s important we continue with the same attitude, work and spirit.”

Xisco finished by saying: “Everyone knows it’s a special competition, I’m very happy to be here and try to get us one step further because it’s very important.

“We know it’s difficult, but we will give our maximum in the next game and we will try to get to the next step of the competition.”

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