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Preview: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to pick best players against Watford, not most trusted who have let him down?

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Watford -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Vicarage Road, Watford

Saturday 20 November 2021, KO 15:00 GMT

Referee: Jonathan Moss Assistants: Marc Perry, Timothy Wood

Fourth Official: Dean Whitestone

VAR: David Coote Assistant VAR: Nick Hopton

Manchester United return to Premier League action on Saturday afternoon as they travel to Vicarage Road to take on Watford. A fortnight after the terrible 2-0 defeat to Manchester City at Old Trafford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to get back to winning ways in the league after a poor record in their last six Premier League matches, winning once, drawing once and losing four times. United have a fair few problems to solve at a time when the manager is under a lot of pressure. He has weathered it at this time and looks set to continue as the manager of the club and until that changes, he will be backed by myself.

Watford are not in good form this season, losing four, drawing once and winning once in their last six matches, sitting 17th in the Premier League, two points above the relegation zone. United, at the time of writing, sit in sixth place in the league, three points from fifth, five points from fourth, six points from second and third position but nine points from the summit of the table. Had United won at least two of the matches they lost, they would be up there with the likes of Manchester City, West Ham United and Liverpool with them all having a better season that United at this point and United in dire straits.

Manchester United – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: LDWLWL

Manchester City 2-0 L, Atalanta 2-2 D, Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 W, Liverpool 5-0 L, Atalanta 3-2 W, Leicester City 4-2 L

Goals: 9 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 4 – Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, 3 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Jesse Lingard, 1 – Edinson Cavani, Fred, Anthony Martial, Alex Telles

Assists: 8 – Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, 2 – Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Luke Shaw, 1 – Mason Greenwood, Jesse Lingard, Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane

Watford – Recent Form, Goals Scored and Assists: LLWLLD

Arsenal 1-0 L, Southampton 1-0 L, Everton 5-2 W, Liverpool 5-0 L, Leeds United 1-0 L, Newcastle United 1-1 D

Goals: 4 – Ismaila Sarr, 3 – Emmanuel Dennis, Joshua King, 2 – Ashley Fletcher, 1 – Cucho Hernández, Juraj Kucka

Assists: 3 – Emmanuel Dennis, 2 – Cucho Hernández, Joshua King, 1 – Craig Cathcart, Tom Cleverley, Kiko Femenía

Previous meetings with Watford and their connections with Manchester United.

United and Watford have met a total of 14 times in the history of the Premier League. United have won 12 times, drawn zero times with Watford winning the remaining two times. United have scored 31 goals, winning two penalties and scoring both of them. Watford have scored 14 goals, winning four penalty and scoring all of them. United have kept a total of five clean sheets, with Watford keeping one. United players have been shown 21 yellow cards and two red cards with Watford players being shown 24 yellow cards and two red cards. This will be a big match for both teams who are under pressure at this time.

Watford have five former United players in their squad at this time with Ben Foster, Craig Cathcart, Tom Cleverley, Joshua King and Ashley Fletcher all coming through the academy at the Old Trafford club before leaving for pastures new. Ashley Young played for Watford before heading to Aston Villa, with him leaving for United from the Birmingham club. Danny Webber, Chris Eagles, James Garner, Reece Brown, Tomasz Kuszczak, Danny Drinkwater, Cathcart, Cleverley, Foster, Eagles, Webber and Jimmy Davies were all loaned to the club as youth players. Odion Ighalo and Danny Welbeck also played for Watford.

Team News: Raphael Varane still injured, Paul Pogba suspended and injured and United are sweating on Edinson Cavani, Scott McTominay and Luke Shaw ahead of Watford clash.

Raphael Varane (Thigh) has been ruled out through injury and should be back in action next month. Paul Pogba (Thigh) is also injured but is also suspended for one more Premier League match after his red card against Liverpool – it is not yet known how long he will be out but it could be for the rest of the year. Edinson Cavani (Tendon)  has a 50% chance of being fit for this weekend and Luke Shaw (Head) and Scott McTominay (Virus) both have a 75% chance of being fit for the weekend, although keeping them for the UEFA Champions League clash with Villarreal might be much better than unleashing them this weekend if they are not fit enough.

Francisco Sierralta Carvallo (Thigh), Kwadwo Baah (Ankle/Foot), Ken Sema (Knee), Christian Kabasele (Thigh) and Peter Etebo (Thigh) have all been ruled out facing United through injury. Juraj Kucka is suspended for getting two yellow cards in the last game, therefore missing out against United. Ozan Tufan (Knock) will be subject to a late fitness test ahead of Saturday’s clash and he has a 50% chance of being fit for the match, which might seem unlikely. Watford have a big squad and the five former United players will be seeking to face their former club, which will be a battle of two teams under pressure at this moment in time.

Predicted Starting XI: Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Donny van de Beek and Jadon Sancho to lead the attack against Watford with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seeking a victory.

Solskjaer needs to find a way to improve Manchester United. The club has been heading in the right direction but the current slump is not good enough. Some have been moaning that the manager has not been sacked, even setting up embarrassing protests, which started as an Ole Out protest, then changed to Glazer’s Out but did not attract a crowd that really knew much about what they were doing, spending money in the megastore then protesting for the Glazer’s to leave and moaning that Solskjaer had not won a trophy at the club in five years, despite still being a month away from his third anniversary as manager of the club. Pathetic.

David De Gea should keep his place in goal as he has shown what he is made of this season and despite many goals being conceded in the last few matches, most were down to defensive errors with only a few errors caused by the man himself. In defence, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Alex Telles should all start in a back four. Nemanja Matic should play in the defensive midfield position, which could he good for the squad right now. Utilising a 4-1-4-1 formation, Jadon Sancho, Donny van de Beek, Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford should play in the positions behind Cristiano Ronaldo.

Match Prediction: United were beaten in their last match at Vicarage Road. It is time for Solskjaer to pick his best players, not his most trusted as they have let him down.

United and Watford have met 35 times in the history of both clubs with United winning 24 times, drawing six times and losing five times. United last played Watford in the Premier League in the 2019/20 season, in which they were relegated to the Championship, beating them 3-0 at Old Trafford with Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood scoring the goals. In the last visit to Vicarage Road in the league, United lost 2-0 with Ismaïla Sarr and Troy Deeney scoring he goals. Last season, United met Watford in the Emirates FA Cup at Old Trafford, winning 1-0 with Scott McTominay scoring the only goal of the game.

This season, United find themselves in poor form entering the busy stage of the season, especially after all international breaks have assed for 2021 seeing United needing to improve their form in the Premier League, secure their place in the Champions League knockout stages and wait to see who they will face in the third round of the FA Cup in January. United started the season well but have won one of he last six Premier League matches with the media, the social media nearly-fans and all the muppets calling for the manager to be sacked and replaced with someone they will turn on in just a matter of time. I remember when support meant just that.

Watford 1-3 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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copyright: JW