The international break has come and gone, and United are back in action this Saturday against one of the league’s three sides with a perfect record, the surprise package Watford.
Before the league took it’s hiatus, Jose Mourinho’s men got back to winning ways with a comfortable 2-0 win against Burnley at Turf Moor. The in-form Romelu Lukaku bagged both the goals, and the colossal striker continued his great form for his country, netting three times in two games as Belgium rolled over Scotland and Iceland, 4-0 and 3-0 respectively.
Another United player in good form over the break was Marcus Rashford. The young striker lead the line for England and got two goals in two, but unfortunately he serves the first game of his suspension this weekend after his altercation with Phil Bardsley in the previous fixture.
Watford come into this fixture off the back of their best ever start to a top flight season. Apart from the permanent arrival of Gerard Deulofeu, a lack of recognisable names joining the club caused many people, admittedly myself included, to tip the Hornets for relegation.
However, Javi Gracia has moulded the players already at the club into a well oiled machine, with the powerful Abdoulaye Doucoure and the composed Etienne Capoue screening the defence, allowing the more attack minded Will Hughes and star man Roberto Pereyra to do some damage going forward. The strike force of Troy Deeney and Andre Gray complement each other brilliantly, with the captain trying to win every ball and using his aerial ability to give Gray plenty of chances.
In their biggest test of the season thus far, Watford beat a Spurs side who just a week earlier embarrassed United 3-0 at Old Trafford, with headed goals from Deeney and Craig Cathcart getting them a 2-1 win. The Hornets have shown they can do it against an in-form top six side, so United should be prepared for an aerial onslaught come 5:30pm on Saturday.
As far as lineups go, it’ll likely be the same as we saw at Burnley, with the exception of Luke Shaw. His injury curse seems to have struck again, as United’s best player this season was stretchered off after a horrific landing during England’s game with Spain. He was awake and speaking not long after, but he’s a certainty to be out this weekend.
As for Watford, I can’t see Gracia changing what is becoming a winning formula, so I fully expect the same XI who bested Spurs before the international break.
Predicted Man United Line-Up:
De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Lindelof, Young; Matic, Fred, Pogba; Lingard, Lukaku, Sanchez.
Predicted Watford Line-Up:
Foster; Janmaat, Kabasele, Cathcart, Holebas; Doucoure, Capoue; Hughes, Pereyra; Deeney, Gray.
Predicted Score: 2-2 – I can see a highly competitive game between a team desperate to continue their good run, and a team desperate to start one. I still have my worries about this United defence as they were relatively untroubled at Burnley, but their in-form attackers should do the job of keeping them in the game.