Manchester United vs Watford Preview – Test for United’s Away Form

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 13: Jose Mourinho, Manager of Manchester GUnited ives instruction to his team during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Watford at Old Trafford on May 13, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 13: Jose Mourinho, Manager of Manchester GUnited ives instruction to his team during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Watford at Old Trafford on May 13, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images) /

Welcome back folks to the matches that matter after spending time wondering what’s the fuss about UEFA Nations League. Manchester United last met Watford at Old Trafford which was the final game for retiring Michael Carrick and was won by a Rashford goal and De Gea kind of saves from Sergio Romero in the United goal post.

United travel to Vicerage road over the weekend in order to continue to their journey towards redemption from the path which themselves led into the first place. I know that that there is a plenty of blame game going around about who is responsible for all the supposed mess that the Manchester United find themselves in; but lets focus on the on field activities and what this match means to United’s players, coach and the fans.

Formation and Predicted Starting XI:

Mourinho will continue to use the formation which suits his current personal hence will go with 4-3-3 formation.

De Gea will take his position between the posts. Victor Lindelof and Chris Smalling’s decent partnership at Burnley should earn them few more matches together and build for a successful central defence partnership going forward. Diego Dalot has shown good promises in the reserve matches he has played in and will be raring to go. However, Antonio Valencia’s non-participation in the international matches mean that he will be available and fit to take up the right back position and also the captaincy armband.

Left-back is a tricky position for the current match due to the injury sustained by Luke Shaw in match against Spain, Shaw was performing extremely well and was voted August Player of the month by the fans. Even though Mourinho has suggested that Shaw is cleared to play, he might find a place only on the bench due to lack of practice with the team over the week. Ashley Young will slot into the left back position.

Nemanja Matic will occupy the slot infront of the defence. Paul Pogba, who again made headlines only for off-field reasons will join Matic in the midfield. Mourinho could’ve continued to pick Felliani in the another midfield slot for the sake of continuity from the last match, but injuries have complicated the matter. With Felliani and Herrera injured and McTominay yet to feature prominently in this season, Fred will be the favorite to occupy another slot in the midfield.

Remaining spot pick themselves up, Lukkaku will look take his international form into his club. Sanchez, having been asked by Mourinho to be rested from international duty, will be raring to go from the left. With Rashford being suspended due to his immature behavior in the match against Burnley, the last spot will be between Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata with Lingard heading in to the line up with Mata on the bench.


Long balls are not going to help United in this match and is a system to be favored in these matches.  Mourinho will set up his team to have a quick passing by bringing the ball out of play from defence and then passing around the Watford midfield in order to release Pogba and Lingard to feed Sanchez and Lukkaku. It may be easier said than done due to couple of factors.

United players are short of full confidence yet due to past results, which may stop them from being natural in their game plan. Next factor being Watford’s form and confidence, which will give them belief that United team is vulnerable and they will take the game to United.

Mourinho will look towards Matic for his experience to ensure that United’s play is ticking irrespective of pressing from the opposition and towards Fred to break the opposition passing lanes and initiate attacks.

Key Focus:

International break gave United’s fan a break from the supposed misery caused by Mourinho at United. And Mourinho also seemed far more relaxed at the press conference on Friday by toying with journalists about his supposed in-difference towards Rashford. But he will be well aware that a poor performance, irrespective of the result, will heap more pressure on him. And as we all know, Mourinho under pressure means more unnecessary headlines. And Watford are the sought of opposition which took away points from United last season and it will be Mourinho’s responsibility to ensure he prepares his team to avoid the repetition.

Next man would be obviously Paul Pogba, who again made headlines related to transfer speculation. But he needs to be start showing his influence on the field considering the team is particularly built to suit his strengths. His performance hasn’t been consistent yet and he should know that few more dull performances will make fans wonder if he really worth being bothered about. His performance in matches with France over the international break are an indication that he drifts out of the game and is yet to mature into a player who is touted a future Ballon d’or winner.

Alexis Sanchez has now got all he wanted, a pig pay rise when he left Arsenal. A summer break, which he so desperately needed. And non-participation in the international friendlies which has ensured he will have all the rest and practice to fine tune his game when league resumes. And he needs to deliver and he needs to deliver now, to justify the spend and the hype.

View on the opposition:

Javi Garcia has brought a lot of positives into Watford team since taking over the team in January, helping them steer clear of relegation. His passing and pressing game has earned them wins in all the matches so far this season. He has developed a system which has brought by the players, which has again emphasized that at the end of the team delivers the results not individuals. Watford are expected to line up in 4-4-2 system which has brought them results till now.

Watford’s defence and midfield is strong and comprises of willing players who will go toe to toe with any team in order to highlight their strengths and capabilities. Troy Deeney who has troubled United’s in the previous matches will give United Center Halves plenty to work with.

Watford will be no pushover in the match and will fully expect that it will be fair match up considering the forms of both the teams.

Predicted result:

Centre-half partnership of Smalling and Lindelof will be lock out the defence along with formidable De Gea. Lukkaku and Sanchez to score and bring home United at 2-0.