Manchester United defeated Watford 1-0 to progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup thanks to a goal from Scott McTominay.
It was an unconvincing performance at Old Trafford by the Red Devils, but here are three things we have learned from tonight’s performance.
Captain Scott McTominay
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appointed midfielder Scott McTominay as captain for the cup tie with club captain Harry Maguire starting on the bench. The Scottish midfielder put in a captain’s performance scoring the winning goal in the first half with an excellent header from a set piece before covering every blade of grass on the Old Trafford pitch.
McTominay has impressed with his displays so far this season and looks like a future Manchester United captain with every passing match. He has an impressive 106 appearances for the Red Devils already and will be hoping to add more in the coming seasons under the management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Manchester United desperately need a right-back to challenge Aaron Wan-Bissaka
Tonight’s performance against Watford reiterated the urgent need for Manchester United to go into the January market for a right-back to challenge Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Younger Brandon Williams started in a more natural position for him at right-back but did not look comfortable throughout the match with Watford danger man Ismaila Sarr causing him difficulty with his intricate wing play.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer let highly-rated academy graduate Ethan Laird go out on loan to MK Dons for the remainder of the season so there is a lack of alternative options to provide competition for Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Manchester United should be looking at right-back options such as Norwich City star Max Aarons as a priority transfer this January to provide competition to Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
Donny van de Beek still needs time to adjust
Manchester United fans would have been celebrating all over the world when the starting XI was announced and the Dutchman was selected for his third start of the season. Donny van de Beek started brightly in particular with his impressive link-up play with Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata but faded as the match progressed. Despite impressive touches, passes and a few creative opportunities the Dutchman did not do enough to show United boss Solskjaer he is ready to be a guaranteed starter with the first team.
However, van de Beek has played 21 times already this season in all competitions and with United involved in the FA Cup and Europa League he will get plenty more opportunities as he continues to settle in at United.