Manchester United take on Watford in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon, which comes after their 3-0 victory over champions Leicester City, overcoming their poor recent form and earning all three points at the King Power Stadium. This weekend, United will need to keep chase in the league as one of Liverpool or Tottenham Hotspur may drop points – meaning United will have the chance to claw back some much-needed space to aim for a top-four finish at the end of the season – which is needed to obtain a place in the UEFA Champions League next season, or United will face a decline in sponsorship money which will then result in pay cuts for the players – not ideal or wanted at the club. Jose Mourinho and his team look set to challenge their opposition also looking to get revenge for a 3-1 defeat at Watford earlier in the season.
Starting XI Prediction (4-3-3):
Goalkeeper – David De Gea
The Spanish goalkeeper may be a target for Real Madrid again, providing their fax machine is working, but he does not want to speak about the speculation, keeping an important focus on the rest of the season with United. Recently, De Gea has been in great form, intrinsic in United’s results in recent weeks. De Gea is undroppable unless he is being rested – which will not be the case at home to Watford, a team United need to get revenge over for the defeat earlier in the season. De Gea will be key to United’s result against the Premier League side.
Back Four – Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind
The defence is an issue for United again after Phil Jones suffered an injury not that long ago – missing the victory over Leicester. Training again, I expect Jones to be rested ahead of the first leg of the UEFA Europa League round of 32 match against Saint-Etienne at Old Trafford on Thursday evening, with United then travelling to Blackburn Rovers in the Emirates FA Cup the following Sunday. Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind should make the back four. Luke Shaw is a player who needs a run of matches but does not look to be the first choice in his position this season, which he needs to take hold of and earn his place in the team, otherwise, it could be onto pastures new in the summer, which could be costly.
Midfield Three – Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, Paul Pogba
The midfield in recent weeks has been lacklustre and bringing back a midfield three could give United the edge over Watford. Michael Carrick, despite recently, has been a breath of fresh air in midfield, giving Paul Pogba the chance to play further forward and help his team get the better of their opposition. Ander Herrera has been one of the players of the season so far, despite what some supporters may say about him not doing much – they clearly have not been watching, or rely on results to tell a story, ignoring performances completely. The midfield is key to United getting the ball forward to the attacking players – of which United have some talented players this season.
Forward Three – Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Anthony Martial
Playing three up front may unlock something for United, especially with three midfielders behind them. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial are the three players who could cause maximum damage to Watford this weekend. Mkhitaryan and Ibrahimovic both scored against Leicester City last weekend, with Martial creating goals against Wigan Athletic in the Emirates FA Cup at the end of January. All three players have what it takes to play for Manchester United – two of them have the pace to destroy their opposition with Zlatan capable of turning nothing into something at times, especially after scoring his twentieth goal of the season, his fifteenth in the Premier League against Leicester. Come on UNITED!