Bruno Fernandes in action against Watford.

FA Cup third-round preview: United v Watford

Thursday 07 January 2021 11:45

Manchester United begin the 2020/21 Emirates FA Cup campaign with a home tie against Championship side Watford on Saturday.

Here's everything you need to know, ahead of what will be our fourth consecutive match at Old Trafford...


The match kicks off at 20:00 GMT and will be broadcast live on BT Sport in the UK. United fans will also be able to follow all the action on and in our Official App, where you can also track in-game data using our Match Centre. MUTV will provide build-up, live radio commentary and post-match reaction, as well as showing full reruns of the game the following day.


Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting fixture congestion in English football, replays have been scrapped for this season’s competition. Matches level at 90 minutes will go to extra time and, if necessary, penalties. The Video Assistant Referee system is being used in the third round, but only at Premier League grounds – it will, therefore, be in force at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Can Garner play against United in the FA Cup?


United will take on James's loan club in the third round on Saturday.


Edinson Cavani is serving the last of a three-match suspension for United, with the injured Phil Jones United’s only other likely first-team absentee.

The Hornets will be without midfield man James Garner, who is prevented from playing against his parent club due to FA rules. According to Watford's website, Domingos Quina is still working his way back from injury, while forwards Isaac Success and Stipe Perica have still not returned to full training. Saturday is also likely to come too soon for Christian Kabasele, but Craig Cathcart and Joao Pedro are in line for a comeback after hamstring issues.


Relegated from the Premier League last season, Watford currently sit sixth in the Championship, having played 22 games. The Hornets have been helped by their strong record at Vicarage Road, winning eight of 11 games, but their poor form on the road – the Hertfordshire side have won just twice away – coupled with struggles in front of goal contibuted to the departure of manager Vladimir Ivic a week before Christmas, after just four months at the helm. He has been replaced by former Dinamo Tbilisi boss Xisco Munoz, who masterminded a 1-0 win over pacesetters Norwich City in his first game in charge, although that was followed up by a 2-1 reverse at fellow promotion chasers Swansea City.


Familiar foes in the top-flight over the past few seasons, 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 over Aidy Boothroyd’s soon-to-be-relegated side at Villa Park.

Ronaldo bewitches the Watford defenders in 2007.


Watford have already been busy in the market in January, clinching the signature of Danish winger Philip Zinckernagel from Bodo/Glimt. The 26-year-old was instrumental in the unfancied Norwegians’ recent league triumph, contributing 37 goal involvements in 28 games as the club from the Arctic Circle romped to their first-ever title. It remains to be seen whether Zinckernagel can transfer his impressive numbers to England’s second division, but, in Watford, he has a solid enough club at which to work his magic.

The Hornets, boosted by the experience of former Reds Ben Foster, Craig Cathcart and Tom Cleverley, have the second-best defence in the Championship this season, while Ismaila Sarr (four goals in 18 games) and Pedro (five in 16) offer plenty of threat going forward.


Referee: Andrew Madley
Assistants: Simon Beck and Adrian Holmes
Fourth official: Lee Mason
VAR: Peter Bankes
Assistant VAR: Lee Betts

90 in 20: United 3 Watford 0 Video

90 in 20: United 3 Watford 0

Looking for more action? Watch 20 minutes of highlights from United's 3-0 Premier League victory over Watford...



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Wolves v Crystal Palace (19:45 GMT)


Boreham Wood v Millwall (12:00 GMT)
Everton v Rotherham (12:00 GMT)
Luton v Reading (12:00 GMT)
Norwich v Coventry (12:00 GMT)
Nottingham Forest v Cardiff (12:00 GMT)
Chorley v Derby (12:15 GMT)
Blackburn v Doncaster
Blackpool v West Brom
Bristol Rovers v Sheffield United
Burnley v MK Dons
Exeter v Sheffield Wednesday
Oldham v Bournemouth
QPR v Fulham
Stevenage v Swansea
Stoke v Leicester
Wycombe v Preston
Arsenal v Newcastle (17:30 GMT)
Brentford v Middlesbrough (18:00 GMT)
Huddersfield v Plymouth (18:00 GMT)
UNITED v Watford (20:00 GMT)
Southampton v Shrewsbury (20:00 GMT)

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Impress your friends with these nuggets from our illustrious FA Cup history.


Barnsley v Tranmere (13:30 GMT)
Bristol City v Portsmouth (13:30 GMT)
Chelsea v Morecambe (13:30 GMT)
Cheltenham v Mansfield (13:30 GMT)
Crawley v Leeds (13:30 GMT)
Manchester City v Birmingham (13:30 GMT)
Marine v Tottenham (17:00 GMT)
Newport v Brighton (19:45 GMT)


Stockport v West Ham (20:00 GMT)

Kick-offs 15:00 GMT unless stated.