On September 18th, Manchester United travel to Vicarage Road to take on Watford. After back to back losses against Manchester City and Feyenoord, Manchester United will be looking to bounce back with a win against Watford. Considering how well Manchester City have started the season, all title challengers, Manchester United included know they can’t afford to drop too many points early or else they may not be able to climb back into the title race.
Watford will be looking to pick up where they left of last weekend when they came back from 2-0 down to beat West Ham 4-2. Now with four points this season, Walter Mazzarri will look to push on and try to get the Hornets their second win in a row.
Mazzarri will have most of his squad available to pick from when going up against United and Jose Mourinho. The only expected absence is that of Stefano Oaka, who will miss out with a hamstring injury.
Mourinho will be missing a few key players for the trip to Vicarage Road. The biggest miss will be Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who will miss out with a thigh injury. Phil Jones will also miss out with a LCL injury, while Luke Shaw and Eric Bailly are both doubts with small knocks.
Watford have not beat Manchester United since September 1986. Since then, Manchester United have won all 11 match ups, according to 11v11.com. After conceding the second fewest goals outside of the top six last season, four games in Watford are yet to keep a clean sheet and have conceded more goal than anyone outside of the bottom four. It’s too early to draw any certain conclusions, but Watford’s defense is something to look out for.
Watford: Etienne Capoue
Watford’s defence hasn’t been as good as it was last season, but they have been able to score enough goals to make up for it so far. One of the reasons for that is that Etienne Capoue has found his goalscoring boots this season. The Frenchman was fantastic for the Hornets last season, but he’s not normally a goalscorer. In the first four games of this season the Frenchman has scored three goals and assisted one, after not scoring all last season and only getting one assist. Capoue’s main job is to keep the midfield solid and protect the defence, but if he can continue to chip in with a few goals and take the pressure off the two strikers it could seriously benefit Watford.
Manchester United: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Two of Manchester United’s big summer signings, Paul Pogba and Mkhitaryan look like they’ll need some time to adjust to their new team. Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the other hand has fit in immediately. The Swede has scored four goals in his first four Premier League games. Some expected Ibrahimovic to struggle in the Premier League, but he’s been the same shot monster, 22 shots in four games, and goal scorer early on as he has been for the rest of his career.
Watford will be looking to capitalize on any possible Europa League hangover that United may have from their midweek trip to Feyenoord. Ultimately though, United should win this game. Despite their poor last week, they have started well and have a fantastic team.
Prediction: 2-0 Manchester United
*All information from physioroom.com