FootballManchester United

Skipping Ahead

McTominay goal lifts Man United to 1-0 win over Watford

Early bird gets the worm

 Manchester United are through to the fourth round of the FA Cup after blanking Watford 1-0 on Saturday from Old Trafford.

Midfielder Scott McTominay’s header off an Alex Telles corner in the 5th minute is all the Reds would need.

United is making it a habit of starting quickly.

If you include Luke Shaw’s own goal against Newcastle the Reds have found the back of the net four times this season within the first 10 minutes.

Disjointed

 Ole Gunnar Solskajer made nine changes to the side that lost 2-0 to Man City in the Carabao Cup semi-final.

In the first-half it looked to be a smart tactical move as the Reds were quick in attack and full of creativity.

Juan Mata nearly doubled the lead after a clever backheel from Donny van de Beek sent him through on goal just before half-time.

The Hornets keeper Daniel Bachman did well to come out and deny him.

Watford’s best chances came from set-pieces as they nearly caught United flat-footed on a couple of occasions.

A Will Hughes free-kick on 16 minutes came through to Adam Masina who slipped it by Henderson but it was cleared off the line by Axel Tuanzebe.

The second 45 minutes was pretty forgettable as both teams looked out of sorts and sloppy while rarely creating chances.

In the end, it was another comfortable clean sheet for Dean Henderson who only faced three shots on target.

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

 Just over 39 years after Watford’s massive upset of Man United at this stage of the FA Cup (1-0 in 1982) another upset wasn’t in the cards Saturday.

Despite taking an early goal the Hornets showed some spirit and resiliency to get back into the match.

They came close to earning a penalty after some desperate defending saw a clearance hit the arm of Eric Bailly.

After a VAR check, the referee ruled it to be inadvertent.

In the end Watford failed to threaten United enough to get the goal they needed.

They couldn’t click their heels like Dorothy and change their fate on this day as their yellow brick road came to a halt.

They’ve now lost 11 straight FA Cup ties against Premier League opponents.

United meanwhile has now progressed in their last 17 FA Cup games against opponents in a lower division than them.

Leading by example

 It was his first time taking the captain’s armband so it’s fitting Scott McTominay was the unquestioned man of the match.

The Scotland international is making a habit of scoring quickly.

Three of his four goals this season have come in the first five minutes of play.

He’s also one goal away from equalling a season-best for goals in all competitions (five in 2019/20).

More than his timely goals, McTominay is showing a very smart sense of the game well beyond his 24 years.

He did well to cut out a number of potential attacks by Watford on Saturday.

He also showed his versatility filling in for the injured Eric Bailly at centre-back just before the half.

Manager’s Words

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said his team didn’t play a solid 90 minutes.

“You’re through and that’s the main thing. We started really brightly. I didn’t expect us to start this well, because it’s a team that’s not really played together and they’ve not really played for a while, and you expect them to grow into the game. But it was a really good start, and we created some chances and of course scored a goal.

“After about 20-25 minutes, maybe, we stopped playing simple football; we tried to complicate things and we got counter-attacked a few times.”

Who’s Next?

 United can move into first place in the Premier League as early as Tuesday when they travel to Turf Moor to face Burnley at 8:15 pm.

We’ll know Monday night who United will play in the next round of the FA Cup when the draw takes place.(JSL).

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