Talking points: United 1 Watford 0
Manchester United saw off the challenge of Watford in the Emirates FA Cup third round with a 1-0 win at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side took the sting out of the Hornets with a blistering start and the Reds' attacking intent paid off in the fifth minute when Scott McTominay’s downward header found the top corner via the turf, alluding the outstretched glove of Daniel Bachmann.
Whilst there was to be no second goal after the break, the visitors hardly threatened in an attacking sense, making the result more comfortable than the scoreline suggested.
Here are all the top talking points as United began this season’s FA Cup campaign…
IN THE HAT
Most crucially, United avoided any upset against our lower league opposition and booked a place in the fourth round of the FA Cup. It means the Reds have now progressed from the third round 34 times in our last 36 attempts. We will discover our next opponents, as well as which two sides we could subsequently play in the fifth round, when not just one but two draws are made on Monday evening.
CONCERN FOR ERIC
The end of the first half brought a worrying moment for Eric Bailly. A threatening Watford cross into the area was heading towards the Ivorian defender as he challenged Watford’s William Troost-Ekong. Having spotted the danger, keeper Dean Henderson made the ball his and punched clear, but in doing so he collided with both players. It was Bailly who came off worse, with replays showing Henderson’s knee catching Eric on the head. With Ole taking no chances, the Ivorian was replaced by Harry Maguire before the half-time whistle.
CAPTAIN'S INNINGS BY MCTOMINAY
With club skipper Maguire initially given a rest, as Ole made nine changes from the side that played in midweek, Scott McTominay had the privilege of leading out the Reds as captain for the first time. The Scotland international, who marked a century of club appearances earlier this season, away at Sheffield United, marked the occasion with a goal just five minutes after kick-off as he headed home Alex Telles’s corner for his fourth goal of the season – all of which have been scored in the first half of matches.
Making only his second start of the season, Jessie Lingard showed no signs of rustiness as he brought plenty of energy to the Reds’ attacking unit. Creating a number of chances, the 28-year-old also got stuck in defensively as United made certain there would be no comeback from the visitors in the second half.
CUP ON THE BACKBURNER
After consecutive knockout clashes, we will quickly return to the cut and thrust of the Premier League on Tuesday night – but as the boss has stated many times this season, every game has the feel of a cup final. In the case of our trip to Turf Moor, the prize for a triumph against Burnley, in what is our game in hand, will be a place at the summit of the division ahead of our showdown with Liverpool next weekend. The FA Cup for now, will have to go on the backburner, with nine league points to be won in our next three fixtures, all of which are away, following this recent run of four consecutive home games.