Manchester United are determined to win the first of 11 games over the next 45 days when they visit a struggling Watford side on Saturday. Instead, they suffered a horrific 1-4 loss and were completely outclassed – indicating that the next month can be a tormenting one for Man United fans.
The Red Devils started the game poorly, conceding a cheap penalty in the 8th minute – which Ismaila Sarr missed! It had to be retaken due to some encroachment. But David de Gea saved the second penalty too, saving his side’s blushes. Watford kept on pushing and got a well-deserved lead in the 29th minute – when former United player Josh King tapped in from close range to make it 1-0!
The Hornets smelled blood and kept going – scoring the second goal in the 44th minute when an unmarked Sarr smashed the ball into the bottom corner to make it 2-0! United were completely outclassed by the hosts in the first half and could’ve conceded more if not for some sloppy finishing.
The Red Devils started the second half much sharper and substitute Donny van de Beek pulled one back with a clever header in the 50th minute – making it 1-2. Just as they looked confident to make a comeback, United suffered a set-back after Harry Maguire was sent off in the 70th- minute.
United kept pushing on for an equalizer but just couldn’t convert their chances. Watford weren’t forgiving and substitute Joao Pedro thundered a shot through De Gea in stoppage time to make it 3-1! But the humiliation wasn’t done there. Emmanuel Dennis scored another in the 95th minute, making it 4-1!
This was definitely worse than the losses to Liverpool or Man City. A Watford side in a relegation battle thrashed a United side full of ‘world-class players’.
United have now lost 5 out of their 12 Premier League games this season and sit on 7th place. The players just don’t seem hungry enough to play for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer anymore and his time should really be over after this shambolic defeat.
Manchester United player ratings at Watford
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (-5)–
Solskjaer got things wrong – again. Starting a slow, uninspired midfield of McTominay and Matic made no sense and United were made to pay for that – conceding twice in the first half. Even Donny’s substitution couldn’t change things because United had no real shape or formation. The players just aren’t playing for him anymore and his ‘tactics’ have outdated. He can’t really stay on after this shambolic loss.
David de Gea (4.5) –
Super Dave is back! Makes TWO penalty stops to save his side early on. But can’t react sharply enough to save King’s goal. Neither can he do anything about Sarr’s thunderous goal. Allows Joao Pedro’s shot to go through his legs for the third goal. A real mixed-bag of a game from him.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka (3.0) –
Wan-Bissaka’s poor work resulted in Watford’s retaken pen, but he was lucky that it was saved. Sloppy for Watford’s opener, failing to clear a cross and letting the ball go through his legs – allowing King to tap one in. Again ineffective going forward and very sloppy defensively, losing out too many duels.
Harry Maguire (4.0) –
Maguire was probably United’s best defender in a frantic first half, coming up with some vital blocks to deny Watford. Makes a great goal-saving tackle to deny King his second in the 37th. But then left Sarr absolutely unmarked and allowed his shot to go into the goal.
Despite a decent first half, he lost his head in the second half – picking up two yellow cards and getting sent off in the 70th – summing up the dismal evening.
Victor Lindelof (3.5) –
Lindelof looked a bit rattled by Watford’s pacey attacks and was left out of position on occasions. Extremely lazy defending from him lead to Watford’s third, as he just stayed clear of Pedro and let him take a free shot to score his goal. Looked clueless for the majority of the game and his lack of pace, physicality invited Watford to attack through his side.
Luke Shaw (4.5) –
Shaw passes a late concussion protocol to start this one. Allowed the pass to go past him too easily leading up to Sarr’s goal. Couldn’t do much going forward and looked shaky defensively all game long. Had to be subbed after seemingly suffering another concussion.
Scott McTominay (3.5) –
A surprising start for McTominay after recovering from illness and he makes a mistake minutes into the game, sloppily bringing down Josh King for Watford’s penalty. Looked all over the place after that, failing to stop passes or protect his backline. Taken off after a poor half – in which he also got booked.
Nemanja Matic (3.0) –
Matic seems commanding in midfield, moving the ball forward well. But defensively quite sloppy, losing track of King inside the box for his goal. Got absolutely done by Tom Cleverly on the wide areas seconds before Sarr’s strike. Managed to get in a goal-scoring position in the 68th but drags his shot wide. Caught napping and careless at the back before the fourth goal.
He just couldn’t sustain himself under the pace of the game, giving away possession many times and losing key duels. Just doesn’t have the capability of playing in high-octane PL games anymore.
Bruno Fernandes (3.0)–
Fernandes has a poor start to the game, with his botched clearance resulting in United conceding the penalty. Looks all over the place in midfield, getting into weird positions he shouldn’t go to. Makes a nice pass to set up Rashford’s chance in the 32nd. Botches a nice scoring chance in the 55th. Gets an even better chance in the 79th – which he skies over the bar.
Missed a number of big chances, gave away the ball many times and looked all over the place throughout the game. His shambolic performance probably signifies how badly United have regressed this season.
Jadon Sancho (7.0) –
Sancho starts against the side he began his career with. Looked sharp with the ball and made some nice runs, but unable to create anything in the first half. But it was his impressive cross that helped lead to Van de Beek’s goal. Picks out another great cross for Bruno in the 50th, but sees him miss it. Creates a great chance for Ronaldo in the 76th with a pinpoint cross.
This was definitely Sancho’s best outing for United yet. Created a lot of big chances and should’ve had an assist if not for sloppy finishing. Needs to start more as a right-winger.
Marcus Rashford (5.5) –
Rashford looked the sharpest United player during the poor start and gets their first shot on target, hitting a nice strike at goal that is denied by Ben Foster’s heroics. Tried a lot of things, but most of them just didn’t work out. Taken off at the break.
Cristiano Ronaldo (4.0) –
Ronaldo only has 1 goal in his last 6 PL games. He’ll want to improve that today. Doesn’t get the goal with a header from Sancho’s cross in the 50th, but gets an assist as his attempt was nodded into the goal by Van de Beek! But should’ve scored after going through in a 1v1 chance in the 57th, with his shot being saved. Gets another chance in the 71st, but hits his shot wide.
Then hits a header over the bar in the 76th. Ronaldo horribly missed his scoring shoes today. Almost felt like he didn’t want to score and save Ole’s job anymore.
Anthony Martial (5.0) –
Created a few half-chances for Ronaldo but unable to get shots at goal. Gave away the ball leading to Pedro’s goal.
Donny van de Beek (7.5) –
Makes instant impact after coming on in the second half, cleverly getting into an empty area in the box before a tap-in to score only his 2nd goal for United. Put Ronaldo through on goal in the 57th with a brilliant pass. And then creates another one for CR7 in the 71st that isn’t converted. Donny seemed like the only United player who gave a damn – creating big chances and scoring the goal. Deserves to start more games.
Diogo Dalot (N/R) –
Didn’t do much at all after coming on and just allowed Dennis to stroll past him to score his late goal.
Jesse Lingard (N/R) –
Brought on for the last 4-5 minutes when he deserves much more.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Josh King absolutely bullied the United defenders all game long. Scored a nice goal and helped set up some big chances too. He’s the MOTM today.