After a result that could turn out to be a genuine turning point in Manchester United’s roller-coaster of a season, Louis Van Gaal’s young Manchester United will host Watford FC at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening. Manchester United should be going into this game full of confidence and in higher spirits than they have in recent weeks, with three wins on the bounce now in three different competitions ensuring their progress of some sort in all of them. Although wins against Shrewsbury town and Midtjylland were quite impressive, a win against one of the title contenders Arsenal at home, despite all the injuries and playing against what was almost a full-strength team, should give Louis Van Gaal some breathing space and a bit of credit – for displaying a sense of togetherness and belief when it actually mattered, when the odds were stacked against. It will be interesting to see if this is another one of a long list of false dawns Van Gaal’s men have provided, when the Red Devils take on a Watford side with only two wins in their last 10 games in the league.
For Watford, it’s a case of getting back on track after a stalemate at home to Bournemouth. Sanchez Flores’ side have gone off the boil, it has to be said, after they managed to win four games on the trot. They sit in a highly respectable 10th position in the league, but with the attacking talent they possess, on their day, they could hurt anybody. When these two sides met the last time at the Vicarage road, it took a cruel last minute winner from Bastian Schweinsteiger for a strong Manchester United to win the game. Now, with the pressure on Man United to build on their recent upturn of form and fortunes, Flores and Watford can fancy themselves to have a right go at the home side, which would make it all the more fascinating.
Louis Van Gaal is no stranger to injuries and the Red Devils have about 10 key injuries at the moment with the latest being the returning Marcos Rojo who had to be substituted around the hour mark. Manchester United are expected to field a similarly young starting eleven that tasted success against Arsenal.
Watford almost has a clean bill of health ahead of their trip north to Old Trafford. The Hornets will be without Ekstrand (hamstring) and Jurado Marin (calf) for the game on Wednesday.
Manchester United have won the last 10 matches against Watford in all competitions.
Odion Ighalo has scored just one goal in eight Premier League appearances so far in 2016, despite attempting 21 shots (inc. blocked).
Manchester United have used a league-high 33 players in the opening 27 matchdays of the Premier League this season.
The Hornets have failed to score in five of their last seven Premier League matches.
Key Men Comparison
Ander Herrera (Manchester United) v Etienne Capoue (Watford)
Ander Herrera has had a tough season but his form in recent games has been key to United’s mini-resurgence in the last couple of weeks. He’s scored 3 goals from 19 appearances – but only with 6 shots on target, shows he could be more prolific if he ventured forward more than he’s been doing and attempted more shots on goal. His all-round game and the willingness to run the extra mile will be crucial for United in the coming games.
Watford have faded in these past weeks, failing to score in five of their last seven games while their go-to man has scored just 1 in the last 8 appearances. Momentarily they lack the firepower in front of goal but at the other end they are as solid as any side in the league. And Capoue, averaging 5 defensive actions per game, is key for them in organizing their midfield and helping out his back four when needed. His battle in the middle with the Spanish duo of Mata and Herrera will be pivotal in deciding the outcome on Wednesday.
Manchester United might actually win back to back games in the league for the first time since November.
Manchester United 3-1 Watford