What is it?
It is the FA Cup third round clash between Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s high-flying Manchester United and Watford, the Championship side addicted to hiring and then firing managers. The current man in charge at Vicarage Road – at the time of writing (you never know he might be gone by the time you are reading this) – is Xisco Munoz. The Spaniard replaced Vladimir Ivic just before Christmas.
When is it?
It takes place on Saturday, January 9.
What time is kick-off?
What TV channel is it on?
You can watch the match on BT Sport 1 and BT Sport Ultimate.
What is the team news?
The United squad will be assessed on Thursday after the side’s Carabao Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday evening. But it is more than likely that Solskjaer will name a second-string side with the likes of Donny van der Beek and former Watford striker Odion Ighalo looking to get more game time. Ighalo, who scored scored 39 goals in 100 appearances for the Championship side, has admitted that were he to get a rare run out against his former club he’d have mixed emotions.
“It’s mixed feelings, because this is the club you’ve played for, this is the club you did well for before you left and all of that. You’re excited to play against them but at the same time you have those mixed feelings,” he told the Watford website.
Solskjaer was asked about the likelihood of resting several big-name players after the City defeat and he said: ”We have shown quality when we have had to do that before and we will make a few changes. I will see on [Thursday] morning who is fit and who is not fit and who is ready to go.”
One man definitely not playing is Edinson Cavani, who serves the third and final game of his suspension.
For the underdogs a good result at Old Trafford could provide a boost to their promotion hopes. Etienne Capoue definitely won’t play. The Frenchman ended a five-and-a-half year spell at Vicarage Road this week, signing for La Liga side Villarreal.
What have we said about the clubs?
After the Carabao Cup semi-final Luke Edwards wrote the defeat once again proved that Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer cannot win the big matches.
“They are good, but not quite good enough. They are talented but not able to show it when it truly matters. They have plenty of match winners, but nobody who has been able to win them something. They have big game players, but not many who show up in the biggest games.”
Ahead of the League Cup defeat James Ducker wrote this about Solskjaer desire to win some silverware as United coach.
Away from the cup competitions Manchester United are riding high in the Premier League. They are unbeaten in 10 and a draw against Burnley in their next match will send them top. Here our columnist Jamie Carragher writes that Solskjaer’s side could pip Liverpool to the title.
“Manchester United can win the Premier League this season. Just hearing that should be enough to gladden the hearts of their fans. The more I see them, the more convinced I am that it could happen.”
For Watford the aim is focused on trying to get back to the Premier League at the first opportunity – they currently lie in sixth place. Once again the club will go through a season with more than one coach at the helm. New boss Xisco Munoz has got the dressing room onside as this piece reveals.
“He’s got the boys onside again,” explained Troy Deeney. “It’s the human element, connecting on a personal level and understanding the lads have family. He gave us Christmas evening at home, whereas normally we would be in a hotel. When he does you a favour like that, you want to repay him.”
Meanwhile Ben Foster could do with a good game on Saturday as he is under fire from Watford fans after his seemingly humorous reaction to Swansea striker, Jamal Lowe, celebrating in front of the goalkeeper’s Go-Pro video on Saturday.
What are the odds?
- Man Utd win: 1/3
- Watford win: 7/1
- The draw: 9/2
What’s our prediction?
Whatever XI Manchester United put out they will be too strong for Watford no matter how keen the Championship side are for an upset. Prediction: Man Utd 2-1 Watford