Watford v Manchester United Preview
After an international break that was overcome and overshadowed by tragedy and anguish, The Premier League comes back in the picture. All eyes will be on the clash at the Etihad when Manchester City will lock horns with Liverpool on a Saturday evening but as far as the other side of Manchester is concerned, United will face a trip to Vicarage Road in Saturday’s early kick-off game.
United, who have returned to their goal scoring routine after a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion 2 weeks ago, may just find this fixture a tad easy to get rid of. But Quique Sanchez Flores’ Watford side aren’t supposed to be a side worth underestimating, especially after looking at their current impressive efforts. The Hornets did concede a 2-1 defeat to Leicester in their previous game but have succeeded in getting wins against the likes of Stoke City and West Ham.
Watford have acquired the tag of being a team that have defended very well this season, thanks to the contributions of Nathan Ake, Sebastian Prodl and Craig Cathcart. United’s defense has been the one which has kept the most clean-sheets, not just in the Premier League, but all across Europe’s top five leagues too. And rightly so, it would be a game involving United’s attack and Watford’s tough to break down defense.
As far as Watford are concerned, Joel Jurado is a doubt for the game after the Spaniard suffered a hamstring injury during early October. 26-year-old Swede Joel Ekstrand is still recovering from an ACL problem.
And when it comes to Manchester United, experienced midfield marshall Michael Carrick is set to miss the game due to an ankle injury he sustained during England game at Spain. Anthony Martial is a huge doubt for starting as he was seen on crutches leaving the Wembley Stadium after France’s loss to England, but his injury has been described as ‘just a knock’ by Didier Deschamps. Antonio Valencia is nursing a foot injury, for which he recently underwent surgery. Ashley Young could be back in action, while Chris Smalling is a doubt to feature, alongside Marouane Fellaini whose fitness would be assessed late.
Watford: Gomes; Nyom, Cathcart, Britos, Aké; Abdi, Watson, Anya, Capoue; Deeney, Ighalo
Manchester United: De Gea; Young, Smalling, Blind, Rojo; Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger; Herrera, Mata, Lingard; Rooney
The Hornets haven’t ever defeated United in the Premier League and we’ve to go back 20 years to have a look at Watford defeating the Red Devils. It was in 1986 when Watford ousted Ron Atkinson’s men, thanks to a late winner from Iwan Roberts.
The last time both sides met, the contest was at Vicarage Road when goals from Ryan Giggs and Mikael Silvestre had handed United a 2-1 win. As far as stats go, they are encouraging enough for neutrals and both sets of fans alike. The last time the fixture saw a drab 0-0 draw was 14 meetings ago, implying the fact that this fixture usually yields goals.
As mentioned earlier, the game would involve a competition between a stubborn Watford defense and the struggling United attack. United attack has looked a tad toothless in recent times, barring the West Brom game and has lacked the pace to rattle opposition and win games. With Anthony Martial out, United would rely heavily on Jesse Lingard or even Memphis Delap to inject some pace into the play. And without that, Watford would be tough to beat, to be very honest.
Watford would look to win in a smash and grab fashion, which won’t be easy but Odion Ighalo’s form is something that would provide them with a good amount of encouragement to score. They’d look to take advantage of every opportunity that they get to break and score.
It’s a tough one to predict and would be a lot closer than most think, but I’d go with a 0-0 draw.