Manchester United drew 0-0 with Watford at Old Trafford which will end up rocking their chances of a top four finish this season with Arsenal hot on their heels with three matches in hand. It was a positive match but a match with poor finishing.
Watford started on the front foot in this match and immediately won a corner, which was given away by Fred, then winning another, given away by Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Jeremy Ngakia then saw an effort missed and another block in quick succession.
Cristiano Ronaldo hit the post with a credible chance on goal before Bruno Fernandes had an attempt on goal blocked. Anthony Elanga then missed a shot before Fernandes had an effort saved by Ben Foster. United scored through Ronaldo in the 15th minute but he was offside.
Joshua King had a shot blocked around the 21st minute with followed with both Fernandes and Elanga missing their chances. United should have been well in front at this time in the match but it was starting to look like one of those matches again – ones which United have played many of.
Towards the end of the half Alex Telles missed a shot from outside of the box but that soon turned into a Watford attack with Ismaïla Sarr having a shot blocked. At the end of the half Foster tried a through ball to Sarr, but he was offside.
The half ended 0-0 with both teams having all to play for in the second half with Watford needing a victory to help them get out of the relegation zone. There were no changes from either team at the start of the second half. Samir had the first chance of the half with a header but he missed.
Ronaldo was caught offside with Paul Pogba playing a through ball into him, which was a shame for United. Hassane Kamara played a through ball into Emmanuel Dennis but he was offside. Seconds later, Dennis had an attempt saved with Fernandes having one of his own saved at the other end.
Pogba and Elanga each had chances denied too. United needed to be better than this. Rangnick brought Jadon Sancho on in the 62nd minute, replacing Fred choosing to play with one holding midfielder for the remainder of the match.
Watford made a double change with Christian Kabasele and Ken Sema replacing Jeremy Ngakia and King. Ronaldo had another attempt saved in the 64th minute from a header, having another chance minutes later but was unable to take the chance as well as he would have wanted to.
After having three chances on goal in six minutes, Rangnick continued to change things up with Marcus Rashford and Luke Shaw replacing Nemanja Matić and Alex Telles in the 74th minute of the match. United continued to press Watford seeking that elusive goal.
Wan-Bissaka and Fernandes both had chances after the change, the former with a header which he missed and the latter with a right footed shot which was blocked. Juraj Kucka replaced Tom Cleverley in the 80th minute for Watford. Still all to play for in this match.
The match ended 0-0 with United having 22 shots on goal, just three of those on target. There was a lot of creativity but the finishing was poor. Ronaldo was frustrated for much of the match, especially not nailing in his shot in the first half which his the post.
David De Gea: He was never really tested until the last seconds of the match. He could have brought a book with him and read it comfortable, which says a lot about Watford as a club. That said, it is not the best way for a goalkeeper to play a game as boredom could have switched him off. ★★★★★★
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: Did well against Watford and was not really pressured for a lot the game. Could win his place back in the team based on this performance but would need to be at his best against City next weekend. ★★★★★★
Victor Lindelöf: It was a steady performance for the Swede and the defence looked a lot better without Maguire, but it was Watford – a club that deserves relegation this season. He would love to play them every week based on this performance. ★★★★★★
Raphaël Varane: Had a good first half where things were fairly quiet, however in the second half, when Watford attacking, there were times that he felt uncomfortable. That said, it was a clean sheet but the forwards should have taken their chances and scored a goal. ★★★★★★
Alex Telles: Played well in the left-back position and got forward some of the time. Had some chances on goal but was unlucky. It will be a confidence boost for him after some time on the bench. He was replaced by Shaw. Should have maybe took this chance to bench Shaw. ★★★★★
Fred: Played well alongside Matić against Watford. Did what was asked and also helped get the ball forwards with United having many chances in the first half. His game came to an end with Sancho replacing him with a change in tactics and formation. ★★★★★★
Nemanja Matić: Helped to command the midfield, which gave United a good platform to try and take this game. They created many chances but just did not finish them as they would have wanted to. Put in a good performance and was replaced by Rashford. ★★★★★★★
Anthony Elanga: He was both alert and sharp and gave United many options going forward. It was a great performance from him, the best he has started for United but he should have at least scored one goal. It will come for him though. ★★★★★★
Bruno Fernandes: Could have scored with a volley on a one-on-one but Ronaldo ended up blocking him. Set up Ronaldo for a chance, but it was not taken. He led the team well but this was a match that was not going to work for United. ★★★★★★
Paul Pogba: Seemed to play freestyle football at times with his positioning not really key to United’s play against Watford. He lasted 90 minutes but still looked tired in the second half. Should really be able to last 90 minutes since his return from injury. ★★★★★★
Cristiano Ronaldo: Unlucky in front of goal for United based on the chances that he had. Hit the post in the first half but continued to get in the right placed. Frustrated with the chances missed. He’s played that many matches recently, he’s drained of everything. ★★★★
Jadon Sancho: Replaced Fred 62′. Was lively from his introduction and really got involved in the match. It was just a bad day at the office for United. The gameplay was good and United worked hard but finishing really is the problem – more training needed? ★★★★★★★
Marcus Rashford: Replaced Matić 74′. Had no impact in the match. Just six years ago he rose into the first team scoring a brace against Midtjylland, scoring another brace two days against Arsenal. But now, his form has long gone and nothing seems to be working. ★★★★
Luke Shaw: Replaced Telles 74′. Put some good balls into the box, which is what he has done time and time again. It is not his fault that United could not hit a barn door on a day like today. He had a better attacking outlet than Telles. ★★★★★★
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelöf, Varane, Telles (Shaw 74′); Fred (Sancho 62′), Matić (Rashford 74′); Elanga, Fernandes, Pogba; Ronaldo
Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Jones, Maguire, Dalot; Mata, Lingard
Written by John Walker