Preview: Watford v Manchester United – Premier League 2016/17

Vicarage Road, Watford

Premier League 2016/17

Sunday 18th September 2016 – KO 12:00 [Live on BT Sport]

Referee: Michael Oliver

Assistant Referees: Adam Nunn and Mick McDonough

Fourth Official: Stuart Attwell

Manchester United face a tough away trip to Watford in the Premier League this weekend. Jose Mourinho’s side a beaten in their last two matches; 2-1 to Manchester City and 1-0 to Feyenoord in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening. United had a great start to the season, winning their first four competitive matches in the FA Community Shield and the Premier League, coming unstuck in the Manchester Derby and once again in the Netherlands, a year to the day since Luke Shaw suffered a double fracture and United were beaten 2-1 by PSV Eindhoven. United have a lot of work to do in order to get back on track and to avoid a third defeat in a row. Bookies have already slashed odd on Mourinho to be sacked this season, which is poor by the bookies and will soon set the media off, just like they did against Louis van Gaal last season. United have bought well this summer, but things are not working perhaps as well as they should, which is a shame as on paper, United have a squad capable of beating any team.

World record signing Paul Pogba is a player being criticised by those fickle enough not to allow the player some time to find his form for the team, and for the team to settle after two years of frustration under Van Gaal. Mourinho has made many changes, and it is all not going to snap into place overnight or in a matter of months. United are a different team now, and for that reason, time needs to be afforded. We have already seen the muppets call for the manager to be sacked on Twitter, which seems to be the case when things do not go their way; winning, which is something the glory supporting element seem to want 100% of the time. Poor support of your team seems to be one of the main elements in football today, which is just not good enough. Too many football supporters are attracted by winning, not what the club means to them, which, I guess, is just one of those things in modern football.

Since the Southampton match at Old Trafford where Paul Pogba made his second debut for the club, he has played every minute of football in the Premier League and the Europa League, which is no excuse for him, but he should be afforded more time to hit the heights expected of him. I have seen many call him an expensive flop, which is muppetry at it’s finest – the same people in a few weeks when he has settled a bit more and found his feet, will probably praise him, forgetting what they have said about the player. Fickle is as fickle does, I guess. Mourinho is not worried about his star player, though, speaking to the official Manchester United website, saying:

“You make a relation between what you pay and the club revenue, and realise that other clubs paying £20, £30, £40 million is a much bigger thing than what Manchester United did. I just want Paul to forget that and to play his football. [Having had] no pre-season, he had a very good impact in the first game and it’s normal that, after that, he has a little decrease. But I’m full of trust in him because I know the player he is; I know he’s a very good guy with a lot of ambition, so the form will come naturally. As the team improves, form improves.”

Mourinho also stated that he believed that Pogba could play both positional and more free-ranging roles in his squad this season, which would all depend on the opposition United face, with three competitions in the club’s sights this month; Premier League, UEFA Europa League and the EFL Cup. Mourinho said:

“It depends on the situation. In the Premier League, we are playing with Wayne Rooney as a no.10 and [against Feyenoord] we played [Ander] Herrera in front of the back four with [Morgan] Schneiderlin and gave Paul more freedom to occupy spaces. It’s not a problem with his position – he feels comfortable.”

Watford will be tough opposition for United. Only last week they were 2-0 down away to West Ham United, they won the match 4-2, which shows how devastating they can be o the attack, but the Hammers are not the same side they were last season, they seem to have lost their edge, which is probably down to the fact they are now funded by the taxpayer, at least their stadium and the cost of policing at their home matches will be, which in this day and age, with the money on offer, is pretty selfish from West Ham. United have four injuries at this moment in time, Phil Jones, no seriously, he’s injured, is definitely out, as he would have been if fit. United seem to be sweating on the fitness of Luke Shaw, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly, who received a knock against Feyenoord. Watford have three doubts; Sebastian Prödl, Stefano Okaka and Younès Kaboul.

Manchester United Form:- LLWWW

Feyenoord 1-0 L, Manchester City 2-1 L, Hull City 1-0 W, Southampton 2-0 W, AFC Bournemouth 3-1 W

Watford Form:- WLLLD

West Ham United 4-2 W, Arsenal 3-1 L, Gillingham 2-1 L, Chelsea 2-1 L, Southampton 1-1 D

Manchester United Top Scorers:

5 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 1 – Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford, Wayne Rooney

Watford Top Scorers:

3 – Etienne Capoue, 2 – Odion Ighalo, 1 – Troy Deeney, José Holebas, Roberto Pereyra

Manchester United Squad;

Manager: Jose Mourinho

Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Sam Johnstone

Defenders: Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Axel Tuanzebe

Midfielders: Paul Pogba, Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marouane Fellaini, Morgan Schneiderlin

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford

Injuries and Suspensions: Eric Bailly (knock), Luke Shaw (hamstring), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (thigh muscle strain), Phil Jones (knee)

Watford Squad:

Manager: Walter Mazzarri

Goalkeepers: Heurelho Gomes, Rene Gilmartin, Costel Pantilimon, Giedrius Arlauskis, Charlie Bannister, Nathan Gartside

Defenders: Allan Nyom, Miguel Britos, Younès Kaboul, Sebastian Prödl, Juan Carlos Paredes, Craig Cathcart, Juan Camilo Zúñiga, José Holebas, Brice Dja Djédjé, Christian Kabasele, Ola Adeyemo, Andrew Eleftheriou, Brandon Mason, Charlie Rowan, Connor Stevens

Midfielders: Nordin Amrabat, Valon Behrami, Kenedy, Abdoulaye Doucouré, Adlène Guedioura, Ikechi Anya, Ben Watson, Sean Murray, Étienne Capoue, Roberto Pereyra, Rhyle Ovenden

Forwards: Troy Deeney, Isaac Success, Jerome Sinclair, Matěj Vydra, Odion Ighalo, Stefano Okaka, Michael Folivi, Ogo Obi

Injuries and Suspensions: Sebastian Prödl (knock), Stefano Okaka (hamstring), Younès Kaboul (knock)

Predicted Starting XI:

Predicted Score:

Watford 1-2 Manchester United

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