Talking Numbers: A Deeper Dive Into Man United’s FA Cup Win

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Manchester United are in the fourth round of the FA Cup. After a League Cup defeat in the Manchester Derby, the match against Watford was good enough for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to make plenty of changes and rest some of the most important players ahead of two really important clashes next week. The Devils are set to meet Burnley and Liverpool in the Premier League, both away from home and it will be very interesting to see how much this match against Watford will be helpful in that regard.

Because Man United got a 1-0 win against the Championship side. True, it was not the easiest game, but it was also a game which had seen Dean Henderson in goal, Donny van de Beek in midfield, and Daniel James, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood be the attacking quartet.

As we learned after the match, that might be really important for the next few weeks, but let’s now see what we also learned from this match after taking a deeper look into the numbers and underlying metrics which could tell us more about the game.

Van De Beek Shows All-Round Game

Donny van de Beek is one of the players many people are talking about ever since he arrived from Ajax, despite the fact that he is not playing regularly. In fact, many people are talking about him not despite not playing, but because he is not getting much playing time in Solskjaer’s team. Now, the Dutch midfielder got the chance to start the match and he showed exactly why people expect him to start over Paul Pogba. Van de Beek was calm in possession, he completed 94.6 per cent of all of his passes and he was intelligent with and without the ball. He made 11 ball recoveries and six tackles and clearances, showing he is also there to do the defensive work. Maybe now we will start seeing him play against tougher opposition.

Rashford Eager To Make Things Happen

Marcus Rashford did not start the match, which was expected, but when he came on for Daniel James after 69 minutes of play, he was eager to make things happen to get something from each of his ball possessions. During that time, he made just 24 touches of the ball and only 13 passes, but he also managed to attempt six dribbles, five of them on the left flank, on the edge of Watford’s box. His arrival instead of James showed the stark difference between the two.

Hughes Shows Good Defensive Work

Watford need to be mentioned this time, because it was a good enough match by them. They did not lose with a bigger margin despite conceding after a corner kick so early on into the game. They regrouped and worked well, making United work hard. One of the players that stood out was Will Hughes. The midfielder was showing some good defensive work throughout. His positioning was really good and he made six successful tackles in central areas of the pitch from seven attempts. Hughes is definitely one of those Watford players who could easily play in the Premier League.

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