Scott McTominay scored the only goal of the game as Manchester United defeated Watford 1-0 on Saturday night to progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup.
After making a bright start to the game which saw Daniel James test the Watford goalkeeper early on, Manchester United went ahead in the fifth minute as stand-in captain Scott McTominay nodded home Alex Telles’s corner kick. The Red Devils continued to put pressure on the visitors, but could not make it count.
With time, Watford grew into the game and started asking a few questions of the Manchester United defence, especially in the latter stages of the game. And despite there being some iffy moments, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were able to hold on to their narrow lead and seal progression to the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Apart from some bright moments early on, it was far from a convincing display, but a much-changed side got the job done for the 20-time English champions. And, here’s how we rated the performances of the Manchester United stars at Old Trafford on Saturday night.
Dean Henderson: 6/10
Made a good block after charging out in the first half, but was not entirely convincing at times. Coming out to punch a cross, the Englishman ended up injuring his teammate Eric Bailly. Much more composed after the break.
Brandon Williams: 6/10
Getting the nod at right-back, the Manchester United academy graduate showed some positive moments with his neat link-up play. But needs to do better getting forward if he is to battle with
Eric Bailly: 6/10
Back into the starting XI after being left out for the Carabao Cup semi-final, the Ivorian looked solid until he had to be taken off due to a head injury after a nasty collision with his teammate, Henderson. Unlucky to be hit with another setback just when he was starting to come into his own.
Axel Tuanzebe: 7/10
Starting in his preferred centre-back position, the academy product cut a solid presence at the heart of the United defence. Produced an important goalmouth clearance in the first half to deny Watford an equaliser and continued to put out fires under pressure. Won two aerials and made one tackle while misplacing just five of his 64 passes.
Alex Telles: 7/10
Alex Telles created six chances for Man Utd vs. Watford, including an assist for the opening goal.
Another creative outlet in Bruno's absence. pic.twitter.com/Kv7KhoWXSI
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 9, 2021
Provided a constant outlet down the left flank and played in some good passes into dangerous areas which his teammates could not always pounce upon. Got the assist for the only goal of the game with a well-directed corner. Delivered a match-high six key passes.
Scott McTominay: 7/10
Handed the captain’s armband at the start of the game, McTominay made a superb start, putting Manchester United ahead with a fine headed goal. Worked hard off the ball as usual as Watford grew into the game with time. Finished with two tackles, three clearances and an interception, while making a key pass as well.
Scott McTominay’s game by numbers vs. Watford:
100% tackles won
100% aerials won
80% pass accuracy
Another big performance. ? pic.twitter.com/CELVNLWpVh
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) January 9, 2021
Donny van de Beek: 6.5/10
Amid calls for him to consider leaving the club this month, the Dutchman looked bright in the early exchanges as he linked up well and showed good movement. Played two key passes on the night, including a beautiful layoff to Juan Mata, who could not convert. Completed the most number of passes (70) and also made three tackles. Capable of so much more, but it was good to see him play the full ninety minutes.
Juan Mata: 5.5/10
Another player making a rare start for Manchester United, Mata kept things ticking in his usual manner without really influencing the proceedings as much as he would have liked. Should have done better when van de Beek created a chance for him. Accurate with his passing, the Spaniard also played three key passes. However, lacked that bit of quality to unlock the Hornets’ defence.
Jesse Lingard: 5.5/10
Starting a game in quite a long time, Lingard was a bright spark in the opening exchanges when Manchester United enjoyed their best attacking moments. Buzzed in and around the box, moved well and played in three key passes as well. However, much like those around him, the Englishman too faded as the game wore on. Not bad, but nowhere near good enough.
Daniel James: 5/10
Dan James, All the athleticism in the world, technically lacking with no end product, Got to add this to his game if ever wants to be successful at United. #StayBehindAfterSession @Daniel_James_97
— Jord Parry (@JordParry) January 9, 2021
Started well and drew a save from Daniel Bachmann early in the game. But, that was as good as it got for the Welshman as he once again failed to stamp his authority on the game. Made way with twenty minutes left for Marcus Rashford, who made more dribbles and completed as many passes as James in his short cameo.
Mason Greenwood: 4/10
Just not good enough. Buzzed around in the final third, but his link-up play was not on point while he hardly got into a genuine goalscoring position on the night. Made way for Anthony Martial in the second period. Needed to take his opportunity, but produced an ineffective performance.
Harry Maguire: 6/10
Sent on to replace the injured Bailly on the cusp of half-time. Held things together at the back. But, headed over from a decent position again.
Marcus Rashford: 6/10
Came on for James in the 69th minute. Looked lively, made a great run but finish lacked power.
Anthony Martial: 5/10
Replaced Greenwood with twenty minutes left. No impact whatsoever, as he made just 13 touches.
Nemanja Matic: N/A
On for Lingard for the final ten minutes. Helped see the game out.
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