Saturday, January 16, 2021

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hints that Odion Ighalo to feature against Watford in FA Cup today

Manchester United is set to host Championship outfit Watford in the third round of FA Cup. In the pre-match press conference, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer answered a few important questions related to both, today’s game and the United’s transfer plan in this window.

The manager confirmed that Odion Ighalo will be playing a role in the game against Watford. Ighalo joined Manchester United last winter on a loan deal from Chinese super league club Shanghai Greenland Shenhua. His dream spell at Old Trafford will end this month as his deal expires on 31 January 2021.

This can be a perfect farewell match for the Nigerian striker as he prepares to face his former club, Watford. He signed for The Hornets in 2014 and went on to score 20 goals to help the club gain promotion to the English top-flight. His golden patch didn’t end there as he netted 15 times in his first Premier League season. After scoring just one goal in the 18 Premier League games in 2016/17 season, Watford offloaded him to Changchun Yatai in CSL.

What will the Odion Ighalo offer to United?

Ighalo is a boyhood Manchester United fan. In one of his early Manchester United’s interview, he said that he had grown up idolizing Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke. The Nigerian striker is definitely past his prime but his passion to play for the Reds takes his performances a step above.

He would be the focal point of the attack. Solskjaer would expect that Ighalo wins most of his duels and distribute the ball well so that the players around him can run into spaces. Also, he would try to stay near to the 6-yard box so that he can pounce on any opportunity available.

Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood, all are ahead of him. Thus, we don’t see that the 31-year old striker will feature in another game for the Reds before he leaves. Playing against his former team will give him extra motivation. Solskjaer will be hoping that Ighalo can channelize the motivation in the right way and help the team to win the game.

How can Manchester United shape up?

FA Cup is an important tournament for Man United. Solskjaer is looking to win his first trophy as United’s manager. Being said that, it is important for him to rest a few first-team players who are playing almost every game.

The Reds are at a very crucial stage in the Premier League. If they can win 3-4 upcoming games in the league, they might find themselves at a strong position. Also, the Europa League is scheduled to start from next month. Keeping key players fit should be the aim of the manager.

Thus, we might see a lot of fringe players coming into the line-up. Jesse Lingard, Daniel James, Juan Mata and Donny Van De Beek might be pushing to get a start against the Championship outfit. Also, Alex Tuanzebe might get a start from the right-back spot to give some much-needed rest to Aaron Wan Bisaaka. 

Can United bounce back after Carabao loss?

Manchester United has found some consistency lately. The game against Leeds United in the Premier League showed that Solskjaer has one of the most lethal attacks all over Europe. 

A good run of form has aided them to take the second spot on the league table. They have as many points as the league leaders Liverpool and also have a game in hand. Thus, if they can win against Burnley, we will see Man United leapfrogging Liverpool to the top of the table.

The recent defeat against Manchester City in Carabao Cups’s semifinal might have hurt them. They entered the fixture as the favourites but 0-2 defeat ended their hopes to go to Wembley. It will be interesting to see how Man United react to that defeat. We see Manchester United going through this round, even if Watford makes it a bit tough for them. The individual quality in United’s squad might become too much for Watford to handle.

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