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Man United 1-0 Watford | Match review

A Mata free kick seals the three points in a tough game against an energetic, battling Watford.

On the back of three wins in a row, with three goals scored in each game, fans were bullish about seeing more of the same against Watford. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be as the visitor’s pressed very well for the whole 90 minutes making it very difficult for United to play with any real freedom.

United started well by attacking and getting shots in at goal and winning corners, but it didn’t take long for Watford to group and start putting pressure on United and forcing them into errors. There were periods where United appeared to be reverting back to the style of football we had become used to under van Gaal, with little in the way of forward football. The half time whistle even brought groans around the stadium.

Although the first half was rather uneventful, both teams did come close to scoring. For United, in the 20th minute, Morgan Schneiderlin hit a volley from just outside the box which shaved the outside of left hand post and Watford, in the 37th minute, had a better chance when Ighalo found himself one-on-one with de Gea but the United keeper made himself big and blocked Ighalo’s shot.

Fosu-Mensah makes a strong challenge on Troy Deeney (Picture: mirror.co.uk)
Fosu-Mensah makes a strong challenge on Troy Deeney (Picture: mirror.co.uk)

The second half was more of the same only with a few good spells of attacking football from United. But again, Watford afforded United very little space, stopping them from creating too many chances. But all United needed was a free kick and Juan Mata! In the 82nd minute, Anthony Martial was brought down just outside the box winning a free kick. Up stepped Mata who with great accuracy, curled the ball up and over the wall and into the top left corner. Gomes had no chance in the Watford goal.

Although the game didn’t live up to expectations raised from recent matches, United managed to get the three points and at this stage of the season, considering the current state of the league table, the points are all that matter. With City losing against Liverpool, United are now level on points with their city rivals and suddenly, top 4 look possible again.

Mata's superb free kick secured the three points (Picture: mirror.co.uk)
Mata’s superb free kick secured the three points (Picture: mirror.co.uk)

There were a couple of stand out players in this match and both were from the youth academy. Timothy Fosu-Mensah played the full 90 minutes at centre-back, in the absence of injured Chris Smalling. Despite an early booking and a couple of rash tackles, Fosu-Mensah made several important and perfectly timed challenges, making a big contribution to United’s clean sheet. His strength and awareness just prove that he is a bright prospect for United’s future.

The other stand out player was, once again, Marcus Rashford. He may not have got himself on the score sheet today but his blistering pace caused Watford many problems, in particular when he was shifted to the right with Martial moving more central. Rashford’s pace and eye for goal certainly make him a favourite to be successful at Old Trafford for years to come.

Rashford forces save from Gomes after beating Watford's defenders (Picture: mirror.co.uk)
Rashford forces save from Gomes after beating Watford’s defenders (Picture: mirror.co.uk)

Up next for United is a trip to West Brom where another three points will further increase their chances of finishing in the top four. So what did you make of today’s game? Are you disappointed with the performance or just glad for the three points? Let us know in the comments below.

Paul’s player ratings – Man United V Watford

David de Gea (7) Made a couple of important saves when in one-on-one situations.
Guillermo Varela (6) Did enough defensively to help keep a clean sheet.
Timothy Fosu-Mensah (8) Made a series of strong and important tackles preventing goal scoring opportunities.
Daley Blind (5) A very rare off-day for Blind. Didn’t look comfortable with the ball and distribution was poor.
Marcos Rojo (6) Did enough defensively to help keep a clean sheet.
Morgan Schneiderlin (7) Picking up where he left off against Arsenal by providing support to the defence through tackles and interceptions.
Ander Herrera (6) Put in a good shift but didn’t produce anything special.
Anthony Martial (6) Was quiet for most of the game and didn’t really cause Watford any problems. Won the free kick that Mata converted.
Juan Mata (7) Held the ball well while looking for a pass. Scored a fantastic free kick to secure all three points.
Memphis Depay (6) While not a poor performance he was unable to reproduce the brilliance of the previous few games.
Marcus Rashford (8) Didn’t manage to get on the score sheet this time but his pace caused Watford a lot of problems and his defensive contribution shouldn’t go unnoticed.

If you would like to watch the United Stand’s match reaction video with Mark Goldbridge, please do so by clicking here or watching below:

Watford 1-2 Man United | Match Report

Man United escape with all 3 points thanks to an injury time winner away at Watford.

Man United got off the mark early with a goal from out-of-form Memphis Depay in the 11th minute. Ander Herrera and Ashley Young played a quick one-two out on the right with Herrera curling in a first time cross into the near post. Memphis beat the defenders to the ball, leaping and placing a cushioned volley past Gomes and into the top corner.

In the 21st minute, Watford were gifted an opportunity to equalise when Ashley Young lost possession, allowing Watford to break. The ball was played through to Ighalo who passed Bastian Schweinsteiger but could only scuff his shot yards wide of David de Gea’s left hand post.

Morgan Schneiderlin had a chance to extend Man United’s lead in the 28th minute following a scramble in the Watford penalty area. The France international struck a volley, but was unable to keep it down.

Watford had another chance to pull level in the 36th minute when Capoue found space for a shot. But he too, could not hit his volley on target.

Shortly before half time Memphis found himself with possession on the left hand side. He dribbled the ball, cutting in from the left and hit a shot toward the bottom left of Watford’s goal. The shot lacked any real power and Gomes was able to get down and tip the ball round the post.

Despite the early goal from United, the first half can be described as scrappy, with neither team really taking control of the game. Man United slightly edged it having had the better chances at goal.

Memphis celebrates putting Man United ahead (Source: Mirror)
Memphis celebrates putting Man United ahead (Source: Mirror)

The second half was a little more entertaining. Man United started brightly with Jesse Lingard and Bastian Schweinsteiger both having chances to score.

In the 47th minute, Memphis played a diagonal pass to Lingard on the edge of the Watford box. Lingard took a touch then hit a left footed shot at goal, but it was no problem for Gomes who palmed the ball away.

Two minutes later Schweinsteiger found a shooting opportunity but hit his shot over the bar.

Around the hour mark Watford began to get into the game, putting a lot of pressure on Man United. They pressed United’s back line very well, creating a catalogue of chances. Approximately 7 shots were hit at the United goal with 5 of them being saved by David de Gea.

The best of the above chances fell to Abdi. The attacker hit a low volley inside the box which looked as though it was heading for the bottom left corner. But David de Gea reacted quickly to pull off an excellent save, turning the ball around the post.

In the 84th minute, it looked as though Watford were going to pay for not taking their chances, when a ball over the top fell to Lingard who was one-on-one with Gomes. It seemed so simple for Lingard who just had to lift the ball over the Watford keeper’s head. But his touch was tame and Gomes gathered it easily.

This scare did not deter Watford from coming forward and they were soon rewarded for their efforts in the 87th minute. An unnecessary tackle from Marcos Rojo in the United box resulted in referee Robert Madley pointing to the spot. Deeney stepped up and scored the penalty, bringing Watford level with just a few minutes left to play.

The last few minutes of the game were sure to have had the fans on the edge of their seats. Man United reacted positively and came at Watford looking for a late winner.

In the 90th minute, Chris Smalling got on the end of a corner, flicking the ball toward the top left corner of the goal. But Gomes, at full stretch, pulled off a good save tipping the ball wide.

Man United continued to press and in the 91st minute a saved shot fell to Bastian Schweinsteiger who hit the ball across the goal. Deeney, who scored Watford’s equaliser from the spot, came sliding in to attempt to clear the ball, but could only drag it into his own net, gifting United the goal and all three points.

Deeney turns Schweinsteiger's cross into his own net gifting Man United a goal (Source: mirror)
Deeney turns Schweinsteiger’s cross into his own net gifting Man United a goal (Source: mirror)

Watford will feel hard done by after that match as they deserved at least a point for their efforts. However, they had plenty of chances to score but failed to take them. United on the other hand will be relieved to take all three points after the late penalty and they can now look to build on that as they continue their push for a title challenge.

The win today puts Man United top of the Premier League with Manchester City, Arsenal and Leicester all to play this afternoon.

Premier League table showing Man United top (Source: BBC Football)
Man United currently sit top of the league.

What did you think of the game? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or you can visit The United Stand Fan Forum here to join the post match discussion.

You can also watch the Watford V Man United match reaction on The United Stand’s YouTube channel by clicking here. Or by watching below.

Watford Team Sheet

Gomes
Nyom
Cathcart
Britos
Anya
Capoue
Watson
Jurado
Deeney
Abdi
Ighalo

Substitutes

Oularé
Paredes
Aké
Guédioura
Ibarbo
Diamanti
Arlauskis

Man United Team Sheet

de Gea
Jones
Smalling
Blind
Young
Schweinsteiger
Schneiderlin
Mata
Herrera
Lingard
Depay

Substitutes

Rojo
Romero
McNair
Darmian
Rashford
Pereira
Goss

LVG Press Conference: Six Players could miss Watford game

During his Press Conference with MUTV at the AON sports complex on Friday, the reds manager Louis Van Gaal confirmed that six players could miss the away game against Watford this Saturday.

Manchester united manager Louis Van Gaal says Anthony martial and Wayne Rooney are among the absentees for the Watford game. Manager spoke on no. of issues including martial and Carrick’s injury, Wayne’s illness, Lingard’s England call up and Smalling’s outstanding performance this season.

To begin the press conference, Van Gaal said he has spoken to Bastian Schweinsteiger, Anthony martial and Morgan Schneiderlin after they played in the emotional friendly between England and France at Wembley Stadium. Though he didn’t mention anything about their discussion describing it as “private”, he expressed sympathy for the French people.

Furthermore he gave updates on injuries. He said that Rooney was ill following the international break. He also mentioned that Manchester united can solve these problems as they have multi-functional players. The manager also appreciated Chris “Mike” Smalling’s development this season. Smalling stands out as the best centre back in the Premier League this season and he has played a crucial role in building United’s solid defence.

Van Gaal also made it clear that Martial’s injury is not serious but he cannot play the away match against Watford this weekend. He gave an update about Carrick’s injury, saying “Michael is also not a heavy injury; he shall be playing much quicker than everybody has written.”

Antonia Valencia has undergone surgery and will not play at least for two months. Luke Shaw and Marouane Fellaini are also on the sidelines because of their injuries. Fellaini has not played since United’s 1-0 win over CSKA Moscow. He also mentioned that James Wilson could feature in the Watford fixture but not for the full 90 minutes as he does not have match rhythm.

If you want to read updates about van Gaal’s press conference, Read it here on Manchester United’s official blog.

Can Manchester United cope against Watford without Martial and Rooney? Let us know your opinion in the comments below.