Report: Ashley Young inspires Manchester United to Watford victory


Manchester United beat Watford 4-2 at Vicarage Road in the Premier League on Tuesday evening. Ashley Young scored a brace, his second of the evening was a precise free-kick beating Heurelho Gomes. Anthony Martial scored the third goal of the evening, assisted by Romelu Lukaku in the 32nd minute of the match. A clinical performance for United. Jesse Lingard scored a solo goal in the 86th minute, restoring a two-goal lead after Watford got the game to 3-2 with six minutes to play.

Jose Mourinho made one change to his side which beat Brighton and Hove Albion 1-0 at Old Trafford on Saturday. Marcos Rojo replaced Marcus Rashford in the starting XI with the manager changing the formation to a 3-4-3 variation. United started the match in good stead but so did Watford. The first real chance came in the seventh minute as Richarlison could not get onto a dangerous cross.

In the tenth minute, Richarlison put in a beauty of a ball into Andre Gray and he got ahead of Marcos Rojo but was inches away from getting a touch on the ball. An easy one for David De Gea to pick up. United were not doing so well in the eleventh minute, losing too many 50/50’s which would encourage Watford to press them harder. Kiko Femenia found some space but Rojo blocked his eventual cross.

United had little possession in their own half with Watford on top of the game in the 13th minute, which was not good but United just did not seem to be warmed up in the match, which was more of a worry. United won a corner in the 15th minute which Jesse Lingard took. The ball was cleared, but Lingard regained possession with Richarlison getting the ball and making the clearance.

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United were being overrun in the midfield in the 17th minute, with Watford sniffing out a goal, but not actually getting there yet. Victor Lindelof started a counter attack, feeding the ball to Paul Pogba who then flicked the ball to Lingard. The attack ended with Anthony Martial in the box, being snuffed out of the attack.

United took the lead in the 19th minute through Ashley Young, scoring out of absolutely nothing. Lingard was found by Romelu Lukaku after a turn on the halfway line, it then looked like the chance had gone with Lingard dwelling on the ball. He then found Young on the left, whose volley from 20-yards gave Heurelho Gomes no chance to make the save, 1-0 to United.

Abdoulaye Doucoure was booked in the 24th minute with United winning a free-kick in good range of the goal. Young stepped up to take the set-piece beating Gomes for the second time this evening. Young had his brace and was now on a hat-trick. United, despite starting the game sluggishly, were on top after 25 minutes. Lindelof was looking rather composed tonight, settling in at his new club.

United scored a third goal through Martial in the 32nd minute of the match in what was starting to look like a clinical performance for Mourinho’s side. Christian Kabasele failed to make the clearance of a long ball, which allowed Lukaku to tap the ball forward for Martial with the Frenchman through on goal. He finished easily sweeping his low ball past Gomes.

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After scoring three goals in quick succession, Watford were pegged back in their own half with a resurgent United wanting more. In the 38th minute, Lingard found himself in space on the right, dinking the ball into the six-yard box, but it was cleared be Kabasele. Rojo was booked in the same minute for a challenge on Gray, who out-muscled him.

United won a free-kick in the 41st minute after Martial was fouled with a late and clumsy challenge by Adrian Mariappa with Young squaring up to take the resulting free-kick, which was within his range. The kick hit the wall with Watford creating an attack, putting the ball out of play for a United throw-in. United had another chance through Lingard and Lukaku, which the former seeing his effort saved.

Watford nearly found a goal back in stoppage time with Richarlison heading towards goal, De Gea having it covered and the ball clearing the crossbar. United had the goal kick, which ended the half. Martial was unplayable at times in the first half, with United seeking more in the second half, perhaps making some changes to rest some players ahead of Saturday’s trip to Arsenal.

Neither manager made a change at the start of the second half, which you can understand for Mourinho and United after the side playing so well in the first half. Watford had a chance to create something in the first few minutes of the second half with Tom Cleverley putting in a decent cross, De Gea coming off his line to grab the ball, nullifying the attack.

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Lukaku made his 200th Premier League appearance this evening, scoring 93 goals in total, which is not a bad scoring rate for the player. Watford had a corner in the 52nd minute of the game and De Gea was trapped on his line. Rojo headed the ball clear, giving away another corner which came to nothing for the home side, other than setting up United on another counter-attack.

Lukaku had the chance to score for United, the Belgian being in space but the ball was not fed through quick enough, his first touch was brilliant but his shot was wide of the target with Lingard advancing but too far to send the ball into the back of the net. Mourinho made his first substitution with Ander Herrera replacing Nemanja Matic, the Serbian midfielder suffering from a knock.

Watford made a double substitution with Will Hughes, suffering from a hamstring injury and Sebastian Prodl being replaced by Andre Carrillo and Roberto Pereyra. Doucoure had a chance in the 62nd minute of the match, firing a long-range effort towards goal, off target and rising over the crossbar. Watford had another chance through Richarlison, heading wide of the target.

United made their second substitution with Martial being replaced by Marcus Rashford in the 64th minute of the match, maintaining his record of playing in every match this season, seven games without a goal. Lingard won a free-kick in the 65th minute,  which was taken quickly by Pogba with Lingard chasing it and winning a corner, which came to nothing.

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Watford created an attack in the 69th minute with United running back to defend. They averted Watford getting anything with the home side still in possession in United’s half, passing the ball around the pitch. Watford got the ball into the box again with Young making the clearance which was followed by an optimistic effort from Mariappa, which sailed wide of the target.

Watford made their third and final change in the 72nd minute with Gray being replaced by Troy Deeney, fresh from a three-match suspension. Doucoure had another chance, scuffing his shot which was almost in for Deeney, but resulted in United running on the counter through Pogba, Watford recovering possession before United broke through again through Antonio Valencia, winning a free-kick.

Pogba had the chance from the free-kick, the ball being looped into the box, the Frenchman having a free header which sailed over the crossbar. United had another chance through Lukaku, unable to take his first shot, and the second being cleared after Rashford broke into the box and set the chance up for United. Lukaku missed again a few minutes later, wanting that goal this evening.

Watford got a penalty with 14 minutes remaining after Rojo fouled Pereyra, Deeney stepping up to take the spot-kick, beating De Gea and Watford getting the lifeline. Deeney had another chance in the 80th minute, heading towards goal, De Gea making the save easily. Watford broke through again, putting a cross into the box, which had too much placed on the ball. Goal kick for United.

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In the 83rd minute, United were on the attack against through Lingard, who tried to chip the keeper, but his effort was wide of the target. Doucoure had a chance to create something, seeing his shot cut out with a block by Rojo. Moments later, Doucoure scored a stunning goal with a cross being floated into the box. 3-2 now and Watford were back in the game. United’s match to lose now.

United scored a fourth with Lingard scoring an incredible solo effort in the 87th minute of the match, restoring the two-goal cushion, pressing for the victory. Mourinho made his third and final change with Zlatan Ibrahimovic replacing Lingard, the Swede making his 50th United appearance. Watford won a corner in the 90th minute of the match, which came to nothing.

Four minutes were added at the end of the second half, Watford still trying to get themselves back into the game, pressuring United, who defensively, were doing what they needed to do to stop the side from getting another goal. United won the match, 4-2, another goalscoring effort to send a message to the Premier League, also clawing City’s lead to five points with them facing Southampton on Wednesday.

Goals: Ashley Young 19′, 25′, Anthony Martial 32′, Jesse Lingard 86′

Assists: Jesse Lingard 19′, Romelu Lukaku 32′, Ander Herrera 86′

Manchester United: De Gea; Lindelof, Smalling, Rojo; Valencia, Matic (Herrera 55′), Pogba, Young; Lingard (Ibrahimovic 88′), Martial (Rashford 64′); Lukaku

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Darmian; Mata, McTominay; Ibrahimovic

Bookings: Marcos Rojo 38′

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