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Review & Ratings: Fernandes MOTM with a goal and an assist, Martial and Greenwood perform well in 3-0 victory over Watford

Manchester United beat Watford 3-0 at Old Trafford in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side ensured they got the better of the Hornets following the 2-0 defeat during the Christmas period. Goals from Bruno Fernandes, who also got an assist, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood saw the victory through with Scott McTominay coming back from long-term injury at the right time. Come on United.

United started well against Watford with the visitors also having a good start to the game. In the first half, both teams had many chances with United 10 shots, four on target with Watford having three shots, one on target. It was United who took the lead in the 42nd minute form the penalty spot after Daniel James played Bruno Fernandes through on goal with Ben Foster taking the Portuguese midfielder down in the box. Fernandes took the spot kick sending United 1-0 up.

Watford got a goal back in the 52nd minute through Troy Deeney but VAR disallowed the goal due to a handball win the run up to the goal; it being the third goal ruled out against United this week. United though, doubled their lead in the 58th minute of the match with Anthony Martial scoring his 15th goal of the season after he slipped in behind the defence, saw his initial shot saved by Foster, collected the rebound and found the back of the net with his strike. United were 2-0 to the good in this game.

United scored a third goal in the game with Mason Greenwood, assisted by Fernandes, scoring a stunning goal which saw Watford out of the game. Greenwood started the attack, feeding the ball into Fernandes, before he played the ball back to the 18-year-old who then unleashed a thunderous drive off the underside of the crossbar to effectively win the match for United, earning all three points as they rise back into fifth place in the Premier League, a good result to keep United chasing for top four.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper was largely untroubled by Watford with only their disallowed goal beating him in the match.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The right-back played well against Watford, especially defensively. The visitors has five shots on goal just one of those on target during the entire match. United were deserving of the three goals they scored and the three points they had in the bag.

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2 Victor Lindelof

The iceman did well against Watford, at times being the player that made an important block and interception to stop Watford from breaking forward and getting the better of United, which after the first goal, they had little of. I would like to see Bailly play ahead of him though, when fully fit and ready to fight for his place in the team.

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5 Harry Maguire

The captain could have been at fault for Watford's after Deeney out-muscled him, poking the ball into the back of the net at close-range. However, it was a let off as VAR ruled it out. After this, Maguire raised his game and was

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23 Luke Shaw

The left-back played well against Watford, especially in the initial stages, getting the better of the attacking Watford players by cutting down possession of the ball.

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17 Fred

The Brazilian has continued to develop and adapt to the pressures of the Premier League this season. With McTominay back from injury, there will be less of a reliance on Fred, who will get a greater at times. Fred missed a good chance to score in this game but did his bit inn midfield. McTominay replaced him in the 79th minute of the match.

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31 Nemanja Matic

The veteran midfielder has been a stand out player at this stage of the season, starting more often than not and seeming to be rejuvenated. It is a wonder what difference some creativity in this team does.

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11 Mason Greenwood

The 18-year-old recovered from injury to start for United against Watford. He was showing his skill and ability during the match before scoring United's third goal of the game, assisted by Fernandes. He was replaced by Chong in the 79th minute of the match.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

The attacking midfielder has been a breath of fresh air since he first played for United, filling in for the lack of creativity in the squad with Pogba out injured. The Portuguese midfielder was taken out by Foster in the Watford box, winning a penalty which he took himself, opening his account for United. He finished the match with a goal and an assist.

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Review & Ratings: Fernandes MOTM with a goal and an assist, Martial and Greenwood perform well in 3-0 victory over Watford

The Welshman had a few opportunities to get something from this game, his shot on goal going wide of the target. Some will abuse him and suggest he's not good enough, forgetting about his start at the club. He's played a lot of football this season and will benefit from that.

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9 Anthony Martial

The Frenchman, who needed support in the attacking areas in this match but was not getting it, scored United's second goal of the game, minutes after Watford's equaliser was ruled out by VAR. He initially rounded the defence and shot on goal, which Foster saved. Martial then got the rebound and finished his effort, scoring his 15th goal for the club this season. Ighalo replaced Martial in the 80th minute of the match.

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Substitutes

39 Scott McTominay

Replaced Fred 79'. Good to see him back from injury. He did not really get much involvement in the game but came through his return without any problems.

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44 Tahith Chong

Replaced Greenwood 79'. He used his pace to try and help United but in terms of impact, he had little.

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Review & Ratings: Fernandes MOTM with a goal and an assist, Martial and Greenwood perform well in 3-0 victory over Watford

Replaced Martial 80'. Almost scored his first goal for United again, getting the better of a defensive error, trying to round Foster but unable to do so, crossing a shot towards goal which did not do what he attempted. Good to have him though. In a few matches, he might be fit enough to start in this team.

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Goals: Bruno Fernandes 42′ (pen), Anthony Martial 58′, Mason Greenwood 75′

Assists: Bruno Fernandes 75′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred (McTominay 79′), Matic; Greenwood (Chong 79′), Fernandes, James; Martial (Ighalo 80′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Bailly, Williams; Mata

Bookings: Craig Cathcart 67′

Confirmed Starting XI: Martial, Greenwood, Fernandes and James start against Watford; McTominay and Ighalo on the bench

Manchester United welcome Watford to Old Trafford in the Premier League this afternoon. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to get the better of Nigel Pearson’s side after their defeat back in December 2019, seeking to keep their chase on a place on the top four alive after their victory over Chelsea on Monday evening, which cut the deficit from six points to three points. Chelsea welcome Tottenham Hotspur this weekend, which could see United push closer.

After their 2-0 victory over Chelsea on Monday evening, United were back in UEFA Europa League action on Thursday evening, drawing 1-1 with Club Brugge – the third time they had faced the Belgian club – the last time being during the 2015/16 season in the UEFA Champions League qualification rounds. Solskjaer’s side may be boosted by the result as he rested many of his first team players but will be seeking to kick on in the Premier League to keep their top four finish dreams alive.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Fred, Matic;

Greenwood, Fernandes, James;

Martial

Substitutes:

Romero; Bailly, Williams; Mata, McTominay, Chong; Ighalo

Watford:

Foster;

Dawson, Kabasele, Cathcart, Masina;

Capoue, Hughes;

Pereyra, Doucoure, Deulofeu;

Deeney

Substitutes:

Gomes; Mariappa; Cleverley, Chalobah; Welbeck, Gray, Sarr

United and Watford have played a total of 33 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1950. United have won 22 times, drawn five times and lost six times. United lost the reverse fixture 2-0 in December 2019 meaning that Solskjaer will be looking to get a result at home against the Hornets. Prior to that defeat, United had a five match winning run against Watford, lasting just over two years.

Before the 3-1 defeat in the Premier League in September 2016, United had an 11 match winning streak against Watford, which stretched from February 1987 until March 2016. Watford are a team that can get the better of United, as they have shown twice in the last four years or so. Solskjaer will be boosted by the fact that Odion Ighalo and Bruno Fernandes arrived in January plus other injured players possible coming into the fold.

How Manchester United could look against Watford; 4-3-1-2 with Ighalo and Martial leading the line and Fernandes adding the creative spark

Manchester United welcome Watford to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to get the better of Nigel Pearson’s side after their defeat back in December 2019, seeking to keep their chase on a place on the top four alive after their victory over Chelsea on Monday evening, which cut the deficit from six points to three points. Chelsea welcome Tottenham Hotspur this weekend, which could see United push closer.

After their 2-0 victory over Chelsea on Monday evening, United were back in UEFA Europa League action on Thursday evening, drawing 1-1 with Club Brugge – the third time they had faced the Belgian club – the last time being during the 2015/16 season in the UEFA Champions League qualification rounds. Solskjaer’s side may be boosted by the result as he rested many of his first team players but will be seeking to kick on in the Premier League to keep their top four finish dreams alive.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Watford in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon…

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish number one was rested against Club Brugge on Thursday evening so after playing on Monday, he will be ready to play again on Sunday. Over the past few matches, De Gea has been playing well and seems to be showing signs of finding his form once again, which is great news for United. If he can lead from the back and find his best form, United will be able to achieve their goals easily.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Brandon Williams

Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Eric Bailly were both rested against Club Brugge on Thursday evening. Having both players back in the team, in a back four, will be something that Solskjaer may be looking to put together for the visit of Watford. Harry Maguire, the club captain will start with Brandon Williams keeping his place in the team, reverting to a left-back, rather than a left-wing-back, although Luke Shaw playing in the back three may be a loss based on the formation that has been used in recent matches.

Midfield: Scott McTominay, Nemanja Matic, Fred

The midfield has been a problem area for United of late with the injuries to Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay. The latter may well be back in action in some form or other in this game, which will be great to see. Playing in a midfield three with Fred and Nemanja Matic, McTominay would add something to this United squad, allowing Bruno Fernandes to play further forward and spark the creation for the attacking players.

Attacking Midfield: Bruno Fernandes

The Portuguese midfielder is a great asset for the club with his creative spark and his eye for driving the club forward. United have been lacking creativity throughout the season and could do with everything to fall into place, especially for this match. United have been poor against the bottom teams in the Premier League this season and they need to overcome that after beating or drawing against many of the teams above and around them. Fernandes could do a lot in this team for the remainder of the season.

Forwards: Anthony Martial, Odion Ighalo

United now have some strength-in-depth in the attacking areas of the team. Granted it is not great with both Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood on the sidelines through injury but it is better having an extra player available to use and gain something from. Anthony Martial scored United’s only goal against Club Brugge on Thursday evening and Odion Ighalo has not yet started a game for United, playing in two of them this week. Utilising both players against Watford could be the answer to some of United’s problems.

Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Victor Lindelof, Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw; Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Daniel James

United will need players available on the bench to get something from the game if they cannot find any inspiration from the players on the pitch. Sergio Romero, who played against Club Brugge will be the substitute goalkeeper with Victor Lindelof, Diogo Dalot and Luke Shaw the other defensive player available. Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Daniel James could add some attacking inspiration in different positions, should they be needed.

Preview: Manchester United seeking to teach Watford a lesson for December defeat; Ighalo, Martial and Fernandes to tear them up?

Manchester United -v- Watford

Premier League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Sunday 23 February 2020, KO 14:00 GMT

Referee: Martin Atkinson Assistants: Lee Betts, Peter Kirkup Fourth Official: Anthony Taylor 

VAR: Andre Marriner Assistant VAR: Scott Ledger

Manchester United welcome Watford to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to get the better of Nigel Pearson’s side after their defeat back in December 2019, seeking to keep their chase on a place on the top four alive after their victory over Chelsea on Monday evening, which cut the deficit from six points to three points. Chelsea welcome Tottenham Hotspur this weekend, which could see United push closer.

After their 2-0 victory over Chelsea on Monday evening, United were back in UEFA Europa League action on Thursday evening, drawing 1-1 with Club Brugge – the third time they had faced the Belgian club – the last time being during the 2015/16 season in the UEFA Champions League qualification rounds. Solskjaer’s side may be boosted by the result as he rested many of his first team players but will be seeking to kick on in the Premier League to keep their top four finish dreams alive.

Form: United are the team in better form with Watford winning just once in their last six matches, drawing twice and losing three times.

Manchester United: DWDWWL

Club Brugge 1-1 D, Chelsea 2-0 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 D, Manchester City 1-0 W, Tranmere Rovers 6-0 W, Burnley 2-0 L

Watford: DLLLDW

Brighton and Hove Albion 1-1 D, Everton 3-2 L, Tranmere Rovers 2-1 L, Aston Villa 2-1 L, Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 D, Bournemouth 3-0 W

Top Scorers: United leading the way with goals scored, despite losing top scorer for perhaps the remainder of the season. Watford don’t seem to be scoring many goals at this present time, needing to find a way out if the relegation zone.

Manchester United Goals: 19 – Marcus Rashford, 12 – Anthony Martial, 10 – Mason Greenwood, 3 – Daniel James, Scott McTominay, 2 – Own Goal, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Nemanja Matic, Andreas Pereira, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United need to keep moving forwards in their pursuit to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season. They have two chances; winning the Europa League or finishing in the top four of the Premier League. Solskjaer made a good decision to rest a few players for the clash with Club Brugge on Thursday evening. The match against Watford is one that United need to win more to keep chase on a top four position, which is where they should be aiming to finish at the end of the season.

Watford Goals: 5 – Troy Deeney, Roberto Pereyra, 4 – Gerard Deulofeu, Abdoulaye Doucouré, Ismaila Sarr, 2 – Andre Gray, 1 – Nathaniel Chalobah, Tom Cleverley, Tom Dele-Bashiru, Kaylen Hinds, Will Hughes, Daryl Janmaat, Adam Masina, Adalberto Peñaranda, Danny Welbeck

Watford are no longer rock bottom in the Premier League table, sitting six points better off than Norwich City, who look certain for relegation this season. They have won five matches, drawn nine and lost 12 so far in the league this season, so will need to pull something out of the bag soon or face the teams above them stretching their lead making it tough to get out of the bottom three. Watford have one win in their last five Premier League matches.

Team News: Six players on the sidelines for United with Rashford and Pogba, who both may not play football against this season. Watford have one player ruled out, and two with a chance of recovering.

United have six players on the sidelines through injury at this present time; Mason Greenwood (knock), Tim Fosu-Mensah (thigh), Axel Tuanzebe (thigh) – all of whom could be back in action at the start of next month, or before. Lee Grant (wrist) needed surgery so will be out for a period of months, Marcus Rashford (back) who may not play again this season, and Paul Pogba (ankle) who once again, as it gets to his return date the excuses keep coming and now he’s not yet ready to train, let alone play. Scott McTominay could be on the return though.

Watford have four players on the sidelines through injury at the present time; Daryl Janmaat (knee) who will be out until the end of the month, Kiko Femenia (thigh) and Ismaila Sarr (thigh) who both have a 75% chance of recovering in time for the visit to Old Trafford, and Tom Cleverley (lacking match fitness) who is currently being assessed as to whether he could face his former club at the Theatre of Dreams.

Predicted Starting XI: Martial and Ighalo to lead the line with Fernandes just behind them and McTominay reinforcing the midfield with his return from injury?

Solskjaer seems to have a few more injury problems at this moment in time with Mason Greenwood adding to the list with a knock, which could keep him out until the end of the month. This means that Anthony Martial and Odion Ighalo could lead the line with Bruno Fernandes sitting behind them with a midfield three of Fred, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic. The back four could consist of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Brandon Williams with David De Gea returning in goal.

Match Prediction: United have won 22 of the 33 matches played against Watford, previously having an 11 match winning run and a five match winning run, losing twice, ending each run.

United and Watford have played a total of 33 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1950. United have won 22 times, drawn five times and lost six times. United lost the reverse fixture 2-0 in December 2019 meaning that Solskjaer will be looking to get a result at home against the Hornets. Prior to that defeat, United had a five match winning run against Watford, lasting just over two years.

Before the 3-1 defeat in the Premier League in September 2016, United had an 11 match winning streak against Watford, which stretched from February 1987 until March 2016. Watford are a team that can get the better of United, as they have shown twice in the last four years or so. Solskjaer will be boosted by the fact that Odion Ighalo and Bruno Fernandes arrived in January plus other injured players possible coming into the fold.

Manchester United 2-0 Watford

Review & Ratings: Solskjaer needs to learn a lesson from Watford defeat – poor tactics; Martial ineffective, Pogba the light in the darkness

Manchester United were beaten 2-0 by Watford at Vicarage Road in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. It was such a poor defeat and the players need to take the responsibility for this one. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also needs to find a way for his team to break down their opposition when they play behind the ball. It is something every manager should be able to do. Playing the same week in and week out won’t do this.

It was another frustrating first half for United. Jesse Lingard had the chance of the half, trying to chip the goalkeeper but ending up off target. Watford took their chances, breaking the deadlock in the 50th minute through Ismaila Sarr whose shot should have been stopped by David de Gea, who tried to hid his embarrassment. United needed to get back into the game now, which has seemingly bee difficult from the start.

Watford doubled their lead in the 54th minute after Aaron Wan-Bissaka gave them a penalty. Troy Deeney scored from the spot to send his side 2-0 up over United, who just did not have the ability, desire or determination to get something from the game. Now at 2-0 down, it could be something short of a miracle that United needed to get back into it, let alone getting the victory.

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper made a big mistake to gift Watford their opening goal in the 50th minute. It was such a poor goal to give away that De Gea tried to hide his embarrassment. Four minutes later he conceded to a penalty putting Watford 2-0 up.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The right-back got forward at times although United did not seem to be taking advantage of attacking. He gave away a penalty in the 54th minute of the match seeing Watford go 2-0 up.

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2 Victor Lindelof

I don't think Lindelof played badly today, despite the team playing badly. In terms of confidence, the way he plays against big teams does not seem to be reflected against smaller teams. He was a thorn in the side of Troy Deeney but with the ball at his feet, he should have done more with it, especially with the fact he was given the space.

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5 Harry Maguire

You could see the frustration in his face. He's not happy with the overall team performance. Unlucky with a header, which was aimed straight at Foster.

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23 Luke Shaw

The left-back was booked in the first half. He did his job most of the time and got forward, although a lot more in the second half when United were chasing the game. However, in terms on fitness, I don't think he's quite there yet.

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17 Fred

Looked to have lost something during this game. He has risen to becoming a decent midfielder over the past few months. He could improve his delivery of the ball, especially from set-pieces.

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39 Scott McTominay

The Scotland international did not seem to be in the best of form against Watford. Neither did Fred, which is a shame. McTominay got a shot on goal but could not change anything for United. He was replaced by Juan Mata in the 73rd minute.

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Review & Ratings: Solskjaer needs to learn a lesson from Watford defeat – poor tactics; Martial ineffective, Pogba the light in the darkness

The Welsh winger did not make much of a mark in the game. His pace and ability are frightening but if other cogs in the team are not working, it doesn't work for him. Saw himself being replaced by Mason Greenwood in the 58th minute.

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14 Jesse Lingard

It was another poor game for Lingard. I understand his family problems but he's a professional footballer. He had the chance to put United in front in the first half, aiming to chip Ben Foster. His effort was off target. He was replaced by Paul Pogba in the 64th minute.

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10 Marcus Rashford

The clubs top scorer this season did not pressure Foster at all in the game. His first touch was poor also. His free-kick, which Foster palmed away was predictable. Hopefully it was a bad day at the office.

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9 Anthony Martial

Another poor performance from the Frenchman. As the weeks go on, it is clear that he's not the striker to drive this team forward. He just cannot seem to find the goal. Mason Greenwood has the same number of goals as him playing fewer minutes. Time for Greenwood to lead the line?

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Substitutes

11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced James 58'. The teenager should have started instead of Martial, in my opinion. He tried to get involved to change the game but the rest of the team were not on the same page.

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6 Paul Pogba

Replaced Lingard 64'. A return from injury for the Frenchman. His long-range pass into the box was good to see. If only Marouane Fellaini was there to receive it. Didn't disgrace himself in his return from injury, spending around three months on the sidelines. Playing basketball must have kept his fitness up.

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8 Juan Mata

Replaced McTominay 73'. Pointless in this team. To bring Mata on at 2-0 down would have been good six years ago. Today though, it added nothing of note. He didn't give the ball away much, which was his highlight.

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Goals: Ismaila Sarr 50′, Troy Deeney 54′ (penalty)

Assists: Christian Kabasele 50′

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay (Mata 73′); James (Greenwood 58′), Lingard (Pogba 64′), Rashford; Martial

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Young; Pereira, Matic

Bookings: Etienne Capoue 36′, Abdoulaye Doucoure 51′, Craig Cathcart 90+2′; Luke Shaw 38′

Confirmed Starting XI: Pogba on the bench; Martial, Rashford, Lingard and James lead the attack against Watford

Manchester United are be back in Premier League action this afternoon when they travel to face Watford at Vicarage Road. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are in much better form heading into the match with them being undefeated in their last six matches. Watford have won once, drawn once and lost four matches in their last six matches and see themselves rooted to the very bottom of the Premier League table.

United will play three times in the space of six days over the Festive period starting on Sunday with this match against Watford. On Boxing Day, Newcastle United will head to Old Trafford with United heading to Burnley two days later. Three matches in six days could be problematic for United, unless they can get some injured players back in the squad or they will be reliant on youth, which is not a big problem.

United will also face a busy month in January with a visit to Arsenal on New Year’s Day which will be followed by six more matches with United facing Wolverhampton Wanderers in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup, Manchester City twice at the semi-final stage of the Carabao Cup and matches in the Premier League against Norwich City at Old Trafford, Liverpool at Anfield and Burnley at Old Trafford.

Manchester United:

De Gea;

Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Fred, McTominay;

James, Lingard, Rashford;

Martial

Substitutes:

Romero; Young; Pogba, Mata, Pereira, Matic; Greenwood

Watford:

Foster;

Mariappa, Kabasele, Cathcart, Femenia;

Capoue, Hughes;

Sarr, Doucoure, Deulofeu;

Deeney

Substitutes:

Gomes; Dawson, Masina; Chalobah, Pereyra; Gray, Success

United and Watford have played a total of 32 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1950. United have won 22 times, drawn five times and lost five times. The last defeat to Watford came in the Premier League back in September 2016, a 3-1 defeat at Vicarage Road with Etienne Capoue, Juan Zúñiga, and Troy Deeney scoring the goals for Watford with Marcus Rashford getting a consolation.

That defeat ended an 11 match winning run against Watford, which stretched back to February 1987. Since that defeat, United has played Watford five times, winning all five matches. In those five matches, United has scored 11 goals, conceded four goals, keeping a total of two clean sheets. Solskjaer will be seeking to extend that five match winning run to six matches, returning to winning ways in the league.

How Manchester United could look against Watford; Martial leading the line, Rashford, Lingard and James supporting with McTominay and Fred in midfield

Manchester United will face Watford at Vicarage Road on Sunday afternoon in the Premier League. United will be seeking to return to winning ways in the league after a 1-1 draw with Everton last weekend, which could have had United a mere two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea. A 3-0 victory over Colchester United in the Carabao Cup at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening will be a boost for United.

Over the next three games before the end of the year and decade, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking a way of breaking back into the top four, which was in reach after the victories over Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City in the last fortnight and that draw with Everton messed it up. Solskjaer will need his best available team to grind a result against bottom of the table Watford, a match United could struggle in.

Goalkeeper: David De Gea

The Spanish goalkeeper got himself a rest during the week with Sergio Romero stepping into his boots in the Carabao Cup victory over Colchester United. De Gea might have to play in the next three matches against Watford, Newcastle United and Burnley before the month ends, although Romero might be given a rare Premier League outing if De Gea needs to be rested with a view to the Arsenal match on. New Year’s Day. De Gea has not kept a clean sheet in the league since the victory over Leicester City in September and 12 league matches have been played since then. It is about time the defence managed a clean sheet and the match against Watford could well be that match, hopefully.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

This season, the back four which consists of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw is the first-choice back four. Brandon Williams has had a few good appearances in the left-back position with Axel Tuanzebe taking the place of Lindelof at times, but based on ability and promise, this is the best mixture, at this moment in time at least. United kept a clean sheet with Maguire and Shaw on the pitch during the week and getting a long-awaited clean sheet in the Premier League will be something the players need to achieve this weekend, if they can.

Midfield: Fred, Scott McTominay

Fred and Scott McTominay are the best midfield due at the club this season. Both has been pulling it out of the bag in recent weeks and Fred has grown as a player since last season, when he hardly ever played because of his poor performances. With Paul Pogba still out of action, for however long that may be, having McTominay and Fred build a midfield partnership with add something to this team. It might also give Pogba and others a fight to get back into the team on a more regular basis. It is clear though that United need to add some talent to the midfield ranks as creativity is a problem in the position.

Attacking Midfielders: Daniel James, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford

Daniel James, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford should all play against Watford. Lingard has been improving in his play, even if it is just a little bit. James adds a deathly amount of pace to the team and can cross the ball in from the right and Rashford adds a player in form into the team, a player who is seeking to reach more than twenty goals in a season for the first time in his senior career. Over the past two seasons he has scored 13 goals in all competitions, beating that with his 14th goal of the season against Colchester United on Wednesday. Combined, all three players can add pace, attacking prowess and creativity to provide Martial with good balls for his to find the back of the net.

Striker: Anthony Martial

Anthony Martial scored his seventh goal of the season when United faced Colchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday matching Mason Greenwood’s seven goals this season. Despite playing 90 minutes, it would seem that Martial will need to play in order to get match fitness ahead of the busy stage of the season which will see United play three times in six days or four times in ten days if you include the away trip to Arsenal on New Year’s Day. Martial will need to find a way to get himself amongst the goals for United as right now, he’s not being that leading man he could become.

Substitutes: Sergio Romero; Diogo Dalot, Axel Tuanzebe, Brandon Williams; Andreas Pereira, James Garner; Mason Greenwood

Diogo Dalot returned from injury to face AC Milan in an U19s friendly on Friday evening and for that reason, he could be on the bench against Watford on Sunday. Sergio Romero will most likely be back on the bench following his clean sheet against Colchester United on Wednesday. Axel Tuanzebe and Brandon Williams could be the other defensive players on the bench; Dalot has played a more advanced role in the team when he has played under Solskjaer. Andreas Pereira and James Garner could provide something in midfield if needed with Mason Greenwood being the attacking player on the bench for this match.

Preview: Manchester United out to sting the Hornets on Sunday to start their fight to break into the top four in the Premier League

Watford -v- Manchester United

Premier League

Vicarage Road, Watford

Sunday 22 December 2019, KO 14:00 GMT

Referee: Lee Mason Assistants: Scott Ledger; Simon Long Fourth Official: Graham Scott 

VAR: Martin Atkinson Assistant VAR: Stephen Child

Manchester United will be back in Premier League action on Sunday afternoon when they travel to face Watford at Vicarage Road. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are in much better form heading into the match with them being undefeated in their last six matches. Watford have won once, drawn once and lost four matches in their last six matches and see themselves rooted to the very bottom of the Premier League table.

United will play three times in the space of six days over the Festive period starting on Sunday with this match against Watford. On Boxing Day, Newcastle United will head to Old Trafford with United heading to Burnley two days later. Three matches in six days could be problematic for United, unless they can get some injured players back in the squad or they will be reliant on youth, which is not a big problem.

United will also face a busy month in January with a visit to Arsenal on New Year’s Day which will be followed by six more matches with United facing Wolverhampton Wanderers in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup, Manchester City twice at the semi-final stage of the Carabao Cup and matches in the Premier League against Norwich City at Old Trafford, Liverpool at Anfield and Burnley at Old Trafford.

Form: United are the team to beat in this fixture this weekend with four wins and two draws in their last six matches. Watford have just one win in six matches, losing four times and drawing once.

Manchester United: WDWWWD

Colchester United 3-0 W, Everton 1-1 D, AZ Alkmaar 4-0 W, Manchester City 2-1 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 W, Aston Villa 2-2 D

Watford: LDLLLW

Liverpool 2-0 L, Crystal Palace 0-0 D, Leicester City 2-0 L, Southampton 2-1 L, Burnley 3-0 L, Norwich City 2-0 W

Top Scorers: United have scored 42 goals this season, including two own goals whereas Watford have scored just 14. Marcus Rashford has scored 14 goals himself.

Manchester United Goals: 14 – Marcus Rashford, 7 – Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, 3 – Daniel James, Scott McTominay, 2 – Own Goal, 1 – Victor Lindelof, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United have their problems but there is no denying that they are improving. If the players on the sidelines through injury can get back into the team quote soon, the squad will be boosted after several months at barebones which has resulted in a number of youth players making their way into the first team. Rashford has scored the same number of goals that this Watford team has scored this season, which will be a positive.

Watford Goals: 2 – Gerard Deulofeu, Andre Gray, Roberto Pereyra, Ismaila Sarr, 1 – Tom Cleverley, Abdoulaye Doucouré, Will Hughes, Daryl Janmaat, Adalberto Peñaranda, Danny Welbeck

Watford have struggled this season and currently find themselves rooted to the very bottom of the Premier League table. They cannot fall any further with matches being played on Saturday. United are currently sixth and could fall lower before they kick a ball on Sunday afternoon. Watford might need a miracle this season but United will need to find a way to beat them as they will defend, causing United problems.

Team News: Paul Pogba back in training and may play before the end of 2019 but not against Watford this weekend. Watford missing Tom Cleverley and Danny Welback plus three others for this match.

United will continue to be without Eric Bailly (knee) and Tim Fosu-Mensah (knee) with both players having already returned to training in a bid to be back at some stage in the New Year. Paul Pogba has returned to training following illness but he will be out of this match and could play again before the end of 2019, according to the manager. Marcos Rojo will also miss this match. Diogo Dalot will return on Friday evening in a friendly match against AC Milan.

Scott McTominay, despite being on the bench, and Fred were both rested against Colchester United on Wednesday so it is expected that the duo will return to the starting XI to face Watford. Daniel James, Victor Lindelof, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and David De Gea were also rested and should be back in the team to face the Hornets. Jesse Lingard will be fresh despite playing 28 minutes against the League Two club earlier in the week.

Watford manager Nigel Pearson will have a number of players out of action for the visit of United on Sunday. Jose Holebas (ankle/foot), Daryl Janmaat (knee), Sebastian Prodl (knee), and former United teammates Tom Cleverley (heel) and Danny Welbeck (thigh) are also likely to miss the match against their former club. The good news will be that Roberto Pereyra (groin) and Adam Masina (thigh) both returned to training.

Predicted Starting XI: Martial, Rashford, Lingard and James to lead the line against Watford? McTominay and Fred in midfield? De Gea to return in goal?

I do not think that Solskjaer will make many changes from the team which beat Colchester United in the Carabao Cup during the week. I would expect Anthony Martial to keep his place as the striker, although I would like to see what Mason Greenwood could do in the position – I may have to wait for that though. Daniel James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Scott McTominay, Fred and David De Gea will all return though.

Match Prediction: United to continue their winning run against Watford this weekend?

United and Watford have played a total of 32 matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 1950. United have won 22 times, drawn five times and lost five times. The last defeat to Watford came in the Premier League back in September 2016, a 3-1 defeat at Vicarage Road with Etienne Capoue, Juan Zúñiga, and Troy Deeney scoring the goals for Watford with Marcus Rashford getting a consolation.

That defeat ended an 11 match winning run against Watford, which stretched back to February 1987. Since that defeat, United has played Watford five times, winning all five matches. In those five matches, United has scored 11 goals, conceded four goals, keeping a total of two clean sheets. Solskjaer will be seeking to extend that five match winning run to six matches, returning to winning ways in the league.

Watford 0-2 Manchester United

copyright: JW