Sunday, December 22, 2019

Watford 2

Watford boosted their hopes of avoiding relegation as they secured only their second Premier League win this term against a disappointing Manchester United team at Vicarage Road.

The result sees the Hornets move within six points of safety and level on points with Norwich in 19th, while United remain eighth.

David de Gea’s error gifted Watford their opening goal, with Ismaila Sarr’s mishit shot bouncing through his arms and striking him in the face before going in.

Troy Deeney compounded a miserable day for United as he registered his first league goal since April with a penalty after Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s foul on Sarr.

Not even the introduction of Paul Pogba – returning after a near three-month absence – as a substitute could raise United, who failed to register a shot on target until the hosts were already two goals ahead.

And while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side did attempt to chase the game, Watford also had chances to add to their tally and deserved only their third league victory ever over United.

  • Reaction to Watford v Man Utd, plus Tottenham v Chelsea
  • Lawro’s full predictions v Serge from Kasabian

Ponderous United punished again

Solskjaer celebrated his first anniversary in charge of Manchester United on Thursday but while his first game in charge resulted in a thumping 5-1 victory at Cardiff, this performance was the polar opposite.

A recurring complaint throughout the season has been United’s lack of midfield creativity and the ability play through teams in the bottom half of the table.

And this was another unimaginative and ponderous display, which was eventually punished by their resolute opponents.

Fred and Scott McTominay both struggled to impose any rhythm from midfield while Daniel James, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial failed to provide any spark in the final third.

Lingard has now gone over 25 hours since his last goal or assist in the Premier League, and notably missed United’s best opportunity of the afternoon, chipping over when one-versus-one with Ben Foster with the game goalless.

And that made it easy for Watford to follow the same template used by Crystal Palace, West Ham, Newcastle and Bournemouth in their victories over United while struggling towards the bottom of the table.

United’s best performances have tended to arrive against teams where they have been able to launch quick counter-attacks, but as in their draw with Everton last week, Watford left little space in behind their back four and outworked their opponents.

More to follow.

Line-ups

Watford

Substitutes

Man Utd

Substitutes

Match Stats

Live Text

Match ends, Watford 2, Manchester United 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Watford 2, Manchester United 0.

Attempt missed. Juan Mata (Manchester United) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right from a direct free kick.

Booking

Craig Cathcart (Watford) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.

Hand ball by Craig Cathcart (Watford).

Attempt saved. Anthony Martial (Manchester United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Fred.

Hand ball by Paul Pogba (Manchester United).

Attempt saved. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Anthony Martial.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Isaac Success replaces Ismaila Sarr.

Harry Maguire (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).

Attempt missed. Mason Greenwood (Manchester United) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Paul Pogba.

Fred (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Will Hughes (Watford).

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Craig Cathcart.

Attempt saved. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Anthony Martial with a through ball.

Attempt saved. Harry Maguire (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Juan Mata with a cross.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Craig Cathcart.

Foul by Juan Mata (Manchester United).

Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt saved. Kiko Femenía (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Roberto Pereyra.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Roberto Pereyra replaces Etienne Capoue.

Foul by Victor Lindelöf (Manchester United).

Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt saved. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Marcus Rashford.

Attempt blocked. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is blocked.

Substitution

Substitution, Manchester United. Juan Mata replaces Scott McTominay.

Attempt saved. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is saved in the top left corner.

Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Christian Kabasele (Watford).

Scott McTominay (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Etienne Capoue (Watford).

Offside, Manchester United. Harry Maguire tries a through ball, but Mason Greenwood is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Watford. Nathaniel Chalobah replaces Abdoulaye Doucouré.

Offside, Watford. Troy Deeney tries a through ball, but Adrian Mariappa is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Adrian Mariappa with a cross.

Attempt blocked. Ismaila Sarr (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Gerard Deulofeu.

Attempt missed. Mason Greenwood (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Marcus Rashford with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Abdoulaye Doucouré.

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